Frazier, William Robert; Ph.D.
Program of Education;
College of Human Development and Education; North Dakota State University
A Study of Themed Residential Learning Communities at a Midwest Four-Year University: North Dakota State University
Major Professor: Dr. Myron Eighmy
This dissertation used a mixed method study to examine themed residential learning communities and their impact on student learning and development. This study incorporated a two-phase process, starting with qualitative data gathered from faculty and staff interviews along with semi-structured group interviews of learning community students. Resulting themes and findings from these interviews were used to formulate a quantitative survey that was administered to students living in four high-rise buildings on the North Dakota State University Campus. Data analysis procedures included analyzing interview transcripts for these to formulate questions for the survey. T tests were conducted to find differences among the groups of students determined by residence hall, learning community or control building. This study found that those learning communities with direct and intentional involvement from the faculty and staff had a greater investment by the students participating in it. Those students were actively involved in their educational endeavors and took an interest in the learning opportunities presented to them in their living environment. By further analyzing the learning community’s responses to the quantitative instrument in this study, it was very comparable to other research complete that indicated if a learning community is to be successful there needs to be collaboration between students, faculty and staff. The resulting information can be useful to those in student affairs and academic affairs with learning communities to assist in creating an enhanced learning environment for students.