The Journal of College & University Student Housing Vol. 47 No. 1 - 46

Jordan P. Fullam * Andrew J. Hughes

46

al., 1999), persistence (Chickering & Gamson,
1987; Tinto, 1993), academic performance
(Terenzini et al., 1996; Woodside et al., 1999),
personal development (Astin, 1993; Kuh, 1995),
retention (Milem & Berger, 1997; Pike et al.,
1997), positive attitudes toward learning (Cruce
et al., 2006; Pascarella & Terenzini, 1991), positive multicultural attitudes (Armstrong, 1999),
critical thinking skills (Frost, 1991) and general
satisfaction with the higher education experience (Lamport, 1993; Wilson et al., 1975). These
benefits may be experienced by all students who
interact with faculty outside the classroom but
may be especially impactful for students of color
who have been disproportionately excluded
from higher education opportunities (Lundberg
& Schreiner, 2004).

FIR programs are neither new nor innovative in the timeline of student affairs, let alone
higher education. However, a renewed attention on these programs has arisen owing to
scholarship on high impact practices (Kuh,
2008) and calls from leading student affairs
researchers for institutions of higher learning
to bridge the gap between student affairs professionals and faculty (Manning et al., 2013;
National Association of Student Personnel
Administrators [NASPA] & American College
Personnel Association [ACPA], 2004). Since
FIR programs have returned to the forefront
in higher education, it is an appropriate time
to investigate how these programs bridge the
gap and extend learning beyond the classroom
(Healea et al., 2015).

While much is known about the benefits
of faculty-student interaction, less is known
about the types of interaction faculty have with
students and how different types of interaction
impact outcomes for students. For example,
some researchers have argued that only academic interactions benefit students (Anaya
& Cole, 2001; Cotten & Wilson, 2006; Kuh,
2003; Kuh & Hu, 2001; Umbach & Wawrzynski, 2005), while others have argued that even
social interactions may lead to positive educational outcomes (Aylor & Oppliger, 2003; Cox
& Orehovec, 2007; Healea et al., 2015). Still
others have argued that it is less important to
distinguish between academic and social interactions and instead that sustained interactions between faculty and students are most
impactful on the student experience; Ellett and
Schmidt (2011), for example, suggested that
FIR programs should aim to provide faculty
with opportunities to have ongoing interactions with the same students.

Recent scholarship has typically investigated such programs through an input-output
model. However, no studies have attempted
to get inside the black box of FIR programs to
investigate how they provide social-emotional
and academic benefits for students. In addition, no studies have investigated the experiences of students in recently established and
developing FIR programs. This paper fills
these gaps in the literature by presenting a case
study of a recently established FIR program at
a mid-sized public university in Southern California that serves primarily Hispanic (63%)
and first-generation (81%) college students.
The study draws on interviews with students, documents the types of interactions students had with FIRs during the program's first
two years, and explores how different types of
interactions impacted the student experience.
The central question driving the inquiry documented in the paper is as follows: What types
of interactions did students have with FIRs,

THE JOURNAL OF COLLEGE AND UNIVERSITY STUDENT HOUSING



Journal of College & University Student Housing Vol. 47 No. 1

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Journal of College & University Student Housing Vol. 47 No. 1

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