Journal of College & University Student Housing Volume 48, No. 2 - 14

How Interactions Contribute to Thriving
teractions with professional staff are understudied in the literature. This is unfortunate,
as student-staff interactions likewise have the potential to impact success in meaningful
ways (Demetriou & Schmitz-Sciborski, 2011; Martin & Seifert, 2011). These professional
staff interactions are not limited to occurring with individuals in one specific area, such
as residence life, but instead include individuals in administrative, practitioner, and administrative
support positions across various functional areas such as student life and
academic support programs.
LLCs AS INTERACTION INCUBATORS
In addition to the pursuit of outcomes such as increased sense of belonging, higher
levels of academic performance, or enriched academic environments (Spanierman et al.,
2013; Stassen, 2003; Wawrzynski & Jessup-Anger, 2010), living-learning communities
are campus housing interventions intentionally aimed at increasing interactions, and
they have their " own types of benefits for students " (Inkelas et al., 2018, p. 5). LLCs are
distinct, structured environments that offer a place where academic, social, and deeper
life interactions with faculty, staff, and peers can occur all in one place. Sriram, Haynes,
Cheatle, et al. (2020) describe LLCs as " an ideal environment " (p. 241) for distinct interactions
between faculty, staff, and peers to occur.
Within these environments, however, it is important to keep in mind how LLCs
might promote interactions differently based on an institution's unique size, culture,
and resources (resources here referring not only to finances, but also to such things
as faculty or staff time, expertise, and participation). Inkelas and colleagues (2008)
offer a helpful typology derived from data across 300 LLCs at 34 postsecondary institutions.
From their cluster analysis, the authors identified the following types:
(a) small, limited resourced, primarily residential life programs; (b) medium, moderately
resourced, student affairs/academic affairs combination programs; and (c) large,
comprehensively resourced, student affairs/academic affairs collaboration programs.
These different structures may promote distinct environmental characteristics that in
turn may have effects on student interactions. Students unquestionably interact with
professors, peers, and professionals outside of LLCs, but, regardless of structure, these
programs provide one of the best spaces on a college or university campus through
which to study interactions and their associated influence on success.
Bronkema and Bowman (2017) demonstrate that sophomore, junior, and senior students
in residence halls can exhibit lower levels of a sense of community and college
satisfaction, as well as lower GPAs. Although the authors mention that building design
may help counteract the isolation these students might otherwise experience, we maintain
that the interactions promoted in programs such as LLCs are where much promise
lies. However, as most LLCs are situated to serve first-year residents, it is critical to understand
how these interactions influence the experience and success of sophomores,
juniors, and seniors. Many scholars study how LLCs influence various student success
measures (Brower & Inkelas, 2010), and most studies assess outcomes in one or two areas,
such as retention or GPA, instead of focusing on a more holistic measure of success.
14 The Journal of College and University Student Housing

Journal of College & University Student Housing Volume 48, No. 2

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Journal of College & University Student Housing Volume 48, No. 2

Journal of College & University Student Housing Volume 48, No. 2 - intro
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