Journal of College & University Student Housing Vol. 47 No. 2 - 71

Community Association

et al. (2008) explored how sense of community is impacted by residence hall architectural design. In concert with other scholars, they
highlight the influence of building design
and size as factors contributing to sense of
community. However, in contrast to studies
performed 30 years prior (Baum & Davis,
1980; Baum et al., 1975; Valins & Baum,
1973), Devlin et al. (2008) report that corridor-style arrangements are more favorable
than are other layouts in developing community association. Such findings are further
supported in more recent scholarly research
revealing that students who reside in suitestyle residence halls report less of a sense
of community than do peers in traditional
room configurations (Bronkema & Bowman,
2017). This phenomenon is explained as the
result of the decreased likelihood that residents will extend themselves socially outside
of the enclosed spaces inherent in suite-style
configurations. In summation, conflicting
findings suggest there are benefits and limitations associated with each design type.
	
In response to a lack of contemporary
literature, this study examines the influence
of gender and floor plan design on the SOC
outcomes of undergraduate students based
on their residential experience at an urban
faith-based university. Comprehensively
understanding the impact that gender differences may have on SOC outcomes seems
even more relevant when placed in the context of meeting the developmental needs of
students. Enhancing sense of community
attributes such as a sense of belonging, indi-

vidual and group accountability, and shared
community association can lead to greater
student success and retention (Jacobs &
Archie, 2008) and may be particularly germane for private faith-based universities
that seek to provide lasting student connectedness to their campus and mission.

THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK
Sense of community is defined by Peterson
et al. (2008, p. 62) as a " fundamental human
phenomenon of collective experience. " As a
construct associated with measuring individuals' experience of community across a range
of group contexts (McMillan & Chavis 1986;
Sarason, 1974), the notion of community
is often differentiated into two constructs:
territorial, which is related to geographic location, and rational, which is based on the
character of human relationships (Gusfield,
1975). The latter construct, in which people
are drawn to one another by similar interests rather than by location, is most fitting
for examining gender differences within a
residential college or university environment
(Durheim, 1964; Gusfield, 1975). Encompassed in the rational perspective, sense of
community comprises four elements: membership, influence, reinforcement through integration and fulfillment of needs, and shared
emotional connection (McMillan & Chavis,
1986, p. 9). The complexities of and dynamics between these elements can be difficult
to understand, as elements of the model may
often be intertwined throughout a sequence
of events and experiences.

. . . students who reside in suite-style residence halls report less of a
sense of community than do peers in traditional room configurations.
This phenomenon is explained as the result of the decreased likelihood
that residents will extend themselves socially outside of the enclosed spaces
inherent in suite-style configurations.
68

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