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FEATURE ARTICLES
students with each living-learning community differs. The housing personnel differs and so do their livinglearning
communities. Some institutions have specific professional staff positions that focus on community
development, while others have more generic positions focused on residence education. However, what is alike
among the institutions is the desire to have students who are involved and successful at the institution.
Literature Review
Students need to be involved during college to enhance their ability for academic success and strengthen their
connection with their institutions (Astin, 1984). In order to examine this involvement as it relates to this study,
relevant theoretical frameworks are needed to guide this study. Astin's (1984) involvement theory explores the
interactions between college students and institutions and how those relationships could be enhanced to bridge
the gap that exists between these two entities, which could prevent disconnection and attrition.
Astin's (1984) involvement theory is rooted in the work of Sigmund Freud. Freud (1933) used the concept of
cathexis to illustrate the psychological energy that individuals invest in objects, ideas, or people other than
themselves. Those objects could include things an individual invests in, such as family, friends, and jobs (Astin,
1999). Astin's use of the concept of involvement requires a person to take action in the environment and be
engaged purposefully. To define involvement in this format, a verb form must be used instead of the traditional
noun to showcase the necessary commitment to being active in the action of involvement (Astin, 1984). A
person must be willing to dedicate the proper amount of energy to engage with an object for involvement to
occur, and for this study the object is the living-learning community.
Astin's (1984) involvement theory has five components: (a) investment of energy in objects, (b) involvement
taking place along a continuum (happening at various points throughout college), (c) involvement being both
quantitative and qualitative (the number of interactions a student has as well as the value of those interactions),
(d) learning and development being directly related to involvement, and (e) student involvement being
considered to effect policy and practice (Astin, 1999). No one component solely determines a student's level
of involvement, but collectively the components have the ability to enhance student involvement by placing
emphasis on measurable degrees of involvement. Ultimately, for students to learn and develop they " need
to actively engage in their environment and educators need to create opportunities for in- and out-of-class
involvement " (Evans et al., 2009, p. 31).
The most recent national study of living-learning communities was conducted in 2007. Inkelas and Associates
(2008) utilized 49 institutions as a call for more data collection of living-learning communities to better
understand what outcomes are being met within the context of each institutions' needs. While the study was
grant funded, participating institutions did have to pay fees to offset data collection. Low response rates were
weighted against the total sample population. Findings from the study provide insight in how living-learning
communities are capable of supporting its institution. Access to resources is necessary and the partnership
between academic and student affairs can have a direct impact on student outcomes (Inkelas & Associates,
2008). These student outcomes can be sources of evidence for accreditation reviews.
Living-learning communities have deep roots in higher education. These communities are focused on cocurricular
education for students residing on campus (Henscheid, 2015). Students are living together in their
respective community, taking classes together, and engaging with faculty in and out of the classroom. The
learning that takes place in the community is the programmatic aspect and institutional collaboration makes
this successful (Henscheid, 2015). This can include academic partnerships with programs, which can assist
with getting students interested in their field. It can also help students with courses that are challenging and
allow them to be better equipped to tackle their studies with extra resources. The scope of a living-learning
community is endless, as each community has its own purpose, structure, engagement, and story (Henscheid,
2015). Better understanding the depth and breadth of living-learning communities is needed to continue
pushing forward in promoting student success.
Statement of the Problem
Research suggests that students who are involved and those who live on campus have greater academic success
and are more likely to return for their next academic semester (Purdie & Rosser, 2011). Research also illustrates
that residency and retention on college campuses have to provide evidence of their value to the public today.
Knowing this, a better understanding of the aspects that assist with retaining today's students is necessary, as
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SEAHO Report - Summer 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of SEAHO Report - Summer 2021

Contents
SEAHO Report - Summer 2021 - 1
SEAHO Report - Summer 2021 - Contents
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