Journal of College & University Student Housing Volume 50, No. 2 - 104

Re-visioning Bulletin Boards
Students in this study articulated their identities with reflective
descriptions of their cultural background and status as first-generation
students and demonstrated the ability to understand and express
personal values in connection with those identities.
using Likert scales that ask for their perspective, rather than examples of their learning
(Henning & Roberts, 2016). Most students neither agreed nor disagreed that they
learned about self-management, community engagement, or cultural competency-
the three curricular goals-from bulletin boards. Furthermore, student interpretations
may vary according to demographic categories, survey fatigue, or which bulletin
boards they most recently experienced and can recall. As stated at the outset of this
article, indirect forms of assessment embed problematic assumptions and have no
way to validate reported learning.
In contrast, the photovoice study provided students opportunities to share their
perceptions of learning as well as to demonstrate what they had learned. For example,
Hector named facts he learned about sustainability as well as his further research on
the EPA website, which he accessed using the QR code provided on the bulletin board.
Steven engaged in a form of direct assessment when he created and presented the
comic strip, demonstrating his increased understanding of different gender pronouns
and why it is important to honor others' preferences.
In the group interview and presentation to administrators, student-participants
described working together with their peers to complete the project as well as interacting
with other residents in the building along the way. They also argued that compelling
bulletin boards can facilitate RA-resident relationships, which they recognized
as an important element in being part of a residential community. They observed how
certain bulletin boards facilitated social interaction by encouraging them to share the
information with friends in a real-world interaction that is analogous to " sharing on
social media " and " brings together a community. " Finally, by articulating what they
learned about sustainability, Arab-American heritage, and personal pronouns, the student-participants
demonstrated participation in civic life.
This photovoice project generated significant engagement with the department's
cultural competency. The study findings demonstrate an alignment with the department's
goals for community engagement and cultural competency goals with far more
specificity and directness than did the indirect question asked on the department's annual
survey, which asks students if they think bulletin boards in general helped them
learn about those topics. Students in this study articulated their identities with reflective
descriptions of their cultural background and status as first-generation students
and demonstrated the ability to understand and express personal values in connection
with those identities. They asserted a desire to bridge differences and to affirm others
in their descriptions of how the boards presented information about Arab-American
heritage and personal pronouns. Finally, by suggesting to the researcher and the leadership
team that they found the cultural competency topics important and valuable,
they advocated for diversity, inclusion, and equity.
Volume 50, No. 2 * 2024 101

Journal of College & University Student Housing Volume 50, No. 2

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