SEAHO Report - Summer 2021 - 20

FEATURE ARTICLES
population through a sample) (Fowler, 2009). Web surveys were the instrument in this study.
The dependent variable in the research study was whether a student participated in a living-learning
community. The other variables in this study were gender, classification, race, institution, grade point average
(GPA), faculty involvement in residence hall, professional staff involvement in residence hall, extracurricular
involvement, why they chose their particular residence hall environment, residence hall resource engagement,
co-curricular programming engagement, campus engagement, and campus sense of belonging.
Significant Findings
The instrument was sent out to 10,506 students. In total, 926 responses were used in the data analysis.
Responses came from the following institutions: Hinds Community College - Utica, Itawamba Community
College, Mississippi College, Mississippi State University, Mississippi University for Women, and University of
Southern Mississippi.
RQ1: The independent variables, gender identity, academic class year, GPA, faculty not living in residence, and
no faculty associated are significant predictors of living-learning community membership. Overall, binary
logistic regression indicates that five variables, gender identity, academic class year, GPA, faculty not in
residence, and no faculty associated, are significant predictors of living-learning community membership. The
other predictors, race, faculty living in residence, staff living in residence, staff not living in residence, no staff
associated, residential living considerations, and organization involvement are not significant of living-learning
community membership.
RQ 2: The independent variable campus community belonging is a significant predictor of living-learning
community membership. For every 1 unit increase in level of agreement for campus community belonging,
living-learning community membership is 1.275 times higher if all other variables stay the same. Overall, binary
logistic regression indicates that campus community belonging is a significant predictor of living-learning
community membership. The other predictors, residential environment resources, residential environment
activities, and campus community activity are not significant of living-learning community membership.
Through these conclusions there are key items to reference. One is the call for more living-learning
communities. Research has shown the value of these communities and how students are able to be successful.
In order to create more communities, the parameters of a community must be known. A community must
consist of a group of students living together who have a purpose of focusing on learning outside the classroom
and that interacts with the institution's staff, who assist with the students' holistic development. If any
aspect is missing, then the community does not exist in this context. This is where the concept of learning
communities comes in and has other guidance for how to operate outside of a housing environment. In the end,
all communities must be created with a focus on student development and learning.
Another area is for the housing departments across higher education to provide the ability for communities
to flourish. It starts with commitment to seeing the needs for these communities on campus and have the
allocation of rooms. Furthermore, housing departments have to be equipped with staff who are able to provide
the oversight and support for these communities. Staff must understand their role and how to increase student
involvement through these communities. Investing in staff is essential and continual professional development
provides staff with more resources and best practices to implement in the community. Housing departments
also have to sell these communities when students are not required to be members of them. This goes to the
programmatic function of the community and what need it meets that a potential student would find valuable
when coming to college. Value has to be demonstrated; otherwise, the community will not flourish, and student
involvement will be low.
Ultimately, a student needs to get involved early on in their collegiate career. As students get connected with
the institution they are retained (Tinto, 1993). As students are retained, they matriculate (Strayhorn, 2012).
While the mission of higher education is a student's academic studies, outside factors contribute to the desire
for academic success. Creating an environment that holistically develops a student is key in achieving academic
success (Evans, Forney, & Guido-DiBritto, 2009). As students are going throughout their studies, they are also
discovering themselves and developing their own identities. Living-learning communities are customizable to
meet the needs of a particular institution (Inkelas & Weisman, 2003). When students are engaged members of
a living-learning community they are involved and more likely to be connected with the institution to progress
towards graduation.
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SEAHO Report - Summer 2021

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