Student engagement is one of the department’s core focal areas with Residence Life leading the charge to connect and interact with each resident ensuring students have an enriched college experience.
As student affairs practitioners, we know the single most important factor in determining college success is whether or not a student feels connected in their university experience. This connection can come with peers, professors, a club or organization, or with their resident advisor (RA). For this reason, Residence Life focuses on creating one-on-one interactions between a resident and their RA. Connections is a qualitative, Resident Advisor-reported, resident-assessment program designed to meet the following goals:
- Ensure all on-campus residents have at least one intentional interaction with their Resident Advisor during the first two weeks of class in the fall and spring semesters.
- Provide large-scale qualitative data to aid in program development, staff training, and improving the overall student experience.
- Create closer relationships between Resident Advisors and their residents.
- The majority of interaction between a resident and their RA happens within the hall.
- The most common issues RAs report discussing with students are: navigating campus and their academic experience, living with a roommate, and getting involved on campus.
- RAs find it harder to connect with upperclass students, and students living in apartments. These RAs are more likely to plan events or activities to draw residents out of their rooms for short periods of time, to make connections.
Residence Hall Assessment
One of the goals for Residence Life is to promote a culture of assessment by which each residential community and committee implement at least one assessment project for the academic year. The following are a few of the 2018-2019 projects:
Resident Satisfaction / Community Interests Target Population
Cone Residents (350) Dates of Assessment
- August 8, 2018- Cone Hall Opening Survey
- March 27, 2019 – Studio 91 End of Year Survey
62 and 45 responses per survey Executive Summary
This project aimed to assess the expectations of Cone Hall residents regarding level of engagement and resources provided by living in the theme community, Studio 91, for students interested in the Arts. To also, assess residents’ satisfaction with community programming. Earlier survey results were used in real-time to indicate adjustments to programming and Studio 91 management. Since this was the first year of Studio 91, trends indicated in the opening survey and use of Skyfactor results provided context for resident engagement and recommendations on how to address areas for improvement. Key Findings
The following includes Cone Hall Skyfactor data collected in November 2018.
- 73.85% of one sample indicated interest in Studio 91, either due to personal interest in the arts (13.85%) or from belonging to a major in the College of Visual and Performing Arts (60%) [Cone Hall Opening Survey].
- 88.71% of one sample indicated an anticipation of using Studio 91 dedicated spaces, including the Dance Floor Meeting Room (20.97%), the Music Composition Lab (11.29%), the Art Room (19.35%), and the Rehearsal Rooms (37.10%). [Cone Hall Opening Survey].
- Average satisfaction for programming in the building consistently fell significantly below the aggregate mean for satisfaction for programming for residential students on campus with deviations of -0.33 to -0.67 across a variety of and quality of programs. Most notably, the greatest negative difference for the building occurred with a -1.48 deviation below the aggregate mean for “As a result of your living-learning community, you are better able to: Connect with faculty/instructors”; However, for the one upper-class floor, the satisfaction with programming was greater than the aggregate mean (with the exception of athletic/recreational activities).” [SkyFactor/EBI Survey]
- At the end of the year, a resident sample indicated that within a week, 26% use the dance room, 40% use the practice rooms, 17.78% use the art room, indicating a greater percentage of use of the dance room and practice rooms from the anticipated use from the beginning of the year, and less use of the art room than was anticipated in the opening survey. [Studio 91 EOY Assessment SP 19]
- The sample’s most significant recommendation for programming next year was to do more CVPA programming (37.78%), and it’s 2nd greatest recommendation was to do more programs related to people of any major (26.67%), with the 3rd recommendation being more programs that show off students’ talents (20%). [Studio 91 EOY Assessment SP 19]
- 55.56% of the sample indicated that there was a time during the year where they considered initiating or hosting a program. [Studio 91 EOY Assessment SP 19]
Results from the Cone Hall Opening Survey and SkyFactor/EBI survey have been used to guide programmatic efforts in the Spring semester, including two CVPA Professor hosted programs. Pursue greater engagement of CVPA professors early in the year. Make resources available for resident-generated programming, particularly in Studio 91 spaces.
Resident Experience Target Population
Grogan Hall Residents Dates of Assessment
March 21 – March 29, 2019 Response Rate
24 responses Executive Summary
Grogan Residence Hall is home to the Grogan Residential College (GRC) whose residents are on six of the eight floors leaving approximately 80 students who are non-GRC members. The Coordinator for Residence Life of Grogan Hall wanted to learn more about the similarities and differences in the experiences of GRC and non-GRC members. The survey was designed to gauge residents’ sense of inclusion and knowledge of the overall Grogan Hall experience. This was determined through a series of multiple-choice questions followed by an optional short answer question at the end to elaborate on any additional issues. Key Findings
- 14 of the 24 responses were from non-GRC students
- 33.3% knew the Director of GRC and 37.5% knew the Associate Program Chair
- 100% could identify the Grogan Mascot
- 50% knew the GRC theme
- 62.5% felt included in Grogan activities and events
To increase the non-GRC students’ exposure to the Grogan Residential College faculty and events Enhance the communication regarding the Grogan Hall experience to all residents.
Academic Connections Target Population
Jefferson Suites Residents (336) Dates of Assessment
February – March 2019 Response Rate
99 responses Executive Summary
During the February 1- March 15th Connections deadline, Jefferson Suites RAs asked four academic-related questions. The conversation questions centered around residents’ satisfaction with their academic performance in the Fall semester and what may have/have not contributed to their satisfaction. Residents were then asked to reflect on their current academic performance in the Spring 2019 semester and what may be contributing to their satisfaction in performance. A scale was created (not satisfied to satisfied) and then responses were coded. Key Findings
51/336 students reported being somewhat satisfied with their academic performance.
- 4 had a 3.5 GPA or higher
- 15 had a 3.49 – 3.0 GPA
- 14 had 2.99-2.5 GPA
- 18 had a 2.49 GPA or lower
- Range: 3.976 – 1.556 GPA
- Average: 2.662 GPA
- 4 had a 3.5 GPA or higher
- 13 had a 3.49 – 3.0 GPA
- 14 had 2.99-2.5 GPA
- 17 had a 2.49 GPA or lower
- Range: 3.805- 1.304 GPA
- Average: 2.638 GPA
Hall Council committee chairs and executive board Focus Area
Student Leadership Executive Summary
The 2018-2019 Ashby and Strong College Assessment Initiative focused on correlations between leadership development and student engagement. Specifically, each Hall Council Project Committee Chair had the opportunity for one-on-one leadership training with the Residential College Coordinator. The training included collecting processes and timelines for Hall Council signature events to create a Handbook for use by future Project Committee Chairs. The presumption was that Chairs who signed up for the leadership training would (a) develop clear, concrete action plans, (b) productively revise action plans during post-Project assessment, and (c) engage effectively with the Residential College community in terms of recruiting participants and overall satisfaction with the Project programming. Dates of Assessment
September 21-March 31 Response Rate
6/11 (Ashby) & 4/7 (Strong): 54% & 57% Key Findings
The Committee Chairs who participated had a clear advantage in terms of the positive production, reception, and impact of their projects. Production schedules ran relatively smoothly, challenges were caught in advance, attendance was strong, and Chairs were satisfied with their performances. Chairs who chose not to participate had less well planned and attended programs, and less overall engagement with their leadership opportunities. Implications
The production of the Leadership Handbooks over the Summer of 2019 will provide tangible procedures for the Residential College co-curricula, and articulate the stakes of student leadership specific to the Colleges. Residential College faculty and staff will develop specific training and orientation for the Project Committees beyond that of the general Hall Council leadership training. This training will be standard, rather than optional, for student leadership positions.
Spencer Hall Residents Focus Area
Resident Experience Executive Summary
North and South Spencer residence hall is the primary home of Lloyd International Honors College (LIHC). This residence hall has 325 bed spaces which majority Honors students occupy. The Coordinator for Residence Life (CRL) designed a survey to examine residents’ sense of belonging, familiarity with the hall staff, knowledge of resources, and programming within the Spencers. The CRL compared the experiences of students who are in and not in the LIHC. Dates of Assessment
March 25-March 29 Response Rate
20 Students Key Findings
Overall, residents reported knowing the CRL of the building, desired a more positive RA presence, and somewhat satisfied with the programming of the residence hall. In comparison, LIHC students felt more of a sense of belonging and connection to the community and LIHC and Hall staff. Implications
More intentionality with program planning and marketing in the future. Develop a strategy to enhance the experience of non-LIHC students starting at move-in and throughout the academic year. The Spencer staff will enhance the interactions with students and specifically target students who are not rooming with a honors college student.
Ragsdale/Mendenhall – All 318 residents Executive Summary
Using the SkyFactor data results from Fall 2018, students shared in the open-ended section on programming that they would like to see more social programming within the hall. RA staff and Hall Council held various social building wide programs for Spring 2019 semester intentionally held in both Ragsdale Conference room and Mendenhall Parlor. A survey was conducted to determine impact of the increased programming efforts. Dates of Assessment
March 20, 2019 Response Rate
67/318 = 21% Important Results of Assessment
69% of residents were satisfied with social/educational/cultural programs, 76% were satisfied with the variety of programs, 75% satisfied with quality of programs; as a result of attending programs, 35% were able to relieve stress/anxiety, 32% were able to meet new people, 19% were able to get to know staff better, and 13% were able to learn something new; there were 45% of students did not attend any programs due to various reasons (32% studying, 23% eating a meal, 20% in class, 11% not interested/unaware, and 5% other) Implications
- Holding programs at different times so students have more opportunities to attend programs including avoiding the typical dinner time hour
- Have students complete a poll on best day and time for programs to occur
- Increase academic support programming such as study sessions and tutoring
Advisors to Hall Councils Focus Areas
Retention Executive Summary
Student leadership within residential communities is a hallmark of the experience provided by HRL. Students involved in hall council develop key leadership skills that assist them with their growth and development. In order to better evaluate the effectiveness of hall council, the student leadership team developed a survey to assess the retention of hall council members for the 2018-19 academic year. Dates of Assessment
February 25 - March 31 Key Findings
Out of the responses, 75% of hall councils saw turnover while 25% retained their entire hall council throughout the school year. While some CRLs were not sure why hall council members dropped out from their leadership positions, there was a trend of students dropping out due to wanting to focus on grades, studying abroad, or moved to another building. Most recruitment to fill these vacant positions post-elections happened internally by the hall councils through recommendations or moving the floor representatives into executive leadership positions. Implications
Implement retention strategy of Residence Hall Association (RHA) being notified by Hall Council Advisors prior to and when they lose a member so RHA can offer additional support to the student and/or help the Hall Council recruit for the newly vacant position. RHA could also formalize an election process for post-election vacant positions.
All 552 residents Focus Area
Awareness of Resources Executive Summary
The Quad staff wanted to examine residents’ understanding and knowledge of resources available to them throughout The Quad community (i.e.. supplies, games, spaces, staff). The survey was designed with a series of yes and no questions aimed to capture the use of the desk assistants (DAs) and office during the day and the use of equipment/supplies checked out. Roompact software which is used to track supplies being checked out and times of lockouts was also examined along with the assessment results. Dates of Assessment
March 26-March 29 Response Rate
98/552 = 18% Key Findings
Many students did not realize the two different hall phone numbers to provide support to them during lock-outs, etc. In addition, these phone numbers were not saved in their phones. However, residents did know how to get a hold of their RA. Students knew the desk location, but not the hours of operation. Students were not aware of supplies available at the main desk. Lock-Outs: 33% of students surveyed do not utilize the Quad desk or RA when they are locked out and prefer to go to HRL or wait for their roommate to come home. Implications
The Quad can have better signage listing office hours, duty phone number, desk phone number and determine other ways to communicate this information. The Quad can feature lists of items available to be checked out in each building and send out via email. Residents desire a better range of cooking supplies.
Weil-Winfield Residents (285) Focus Area
Academic Support in the Residence Halls & Program Attendance Executive Summary
A survey of 26 questions was administered to Weil-Winfield residents to assess their concepts/perceptions of the following:
- Overall Living Experience: Positive & Negative Contributions
- Preparedness for College Experience Prior to Arrival
- Ability of W&W to Prepare Residents
- Preparedness for Sophomore Experience
- Use of Academic Resources & Academic Support in Residence Hall
- Effectiveness of Residence Hall Theme
- Program Involvement
72 responses out of 285 residents Dates of Assessment
April 2019 Key Findings
- 54% believed W&W was academically supportive
- 40% believed W&W was somewhat academically supportive
- 6% believed W&W was not academically supportive
- 82% did not know what the residence hall theme for the year was and received no perceived impact from it
- 73% attended a floor program
- 69% attended building-wide program
- 34% attended a hall council program
- 36% met with their RA once a month
The Professional Staff for Weil-Winfield will take the following actions to adjust their approach for the next academic year:
- This year not enough focus/time was spent enhancing the academic skills and confidence of residents. Next year, more collaborations will be forged between FYE courses, and offices that focus on academic support and excellence. Inside the hall, more environments will be facilitated that include study groups and tutoring hours for assistance inside the hall.
- In the beginning of the year, we hope to implement more initial building wide programs to allow residents to meet one another organically to develop relationships on their own from the beginning. Residents struggled with making friends and being “good” friends this year.
- Develop RA staff to focus less on numbers/quotas, and more on an overall perception of being supportive and available for residents. Specifically with the Connections program; teaching RAs to truly connect with a resident first rather than the priority of completing a task.
- If a building-wide theme is adopted next year, it will be incorporated from beginning of the academic year to the end, as well as intentionally woven into the functions of RAs and residents. It is also important that we receive buy-in from all residence hall staff.
- Lastly, the priorities for next year will be reflected in the learning outcomes for the year and revolve around support through transition, self-efficacy, self-exploration, retention, academic support, and preparedness for sophomore experience.