An Evaluation of the Residential Learning Communities Program at Ohio University: An Analysis of Student Involvement, Satisfaction, Academic Success, and Retention
As a result of the many dramatic forces shaping the climate for higher education, a number of new initiatives for improving the undergraduate experience have emerged on college and university campuses across the United States. The Residential Learning Communities program at Ohio University, built on the learning community model of freshman interest groups with the addition of a residential component, was launched in fall 2000 with five goals in mind: a) create residential, learning-based peer networks, b) improve academic success of first-year students, c) improve student retention from the freshman to sophomore year, d) increase student satisfaction with the university, and e) increase student-faculty interaction outside the classroom. The purpose of this study was to determine the effectiveness of the Residential Learning Communities program in achieving, in its first full year of operation, its goals of enhancing the first-year experience at Ohio University. Utilizing available data from the university’s Student Involvement Questionnaire and student information system, this study sought to identify whether there were differences in involvement with peers, academic involvement, involvement with faculty, student satisfaction, academic success, and retention based on participation in learning community participation, major declaration status, and gender, controlling for preadmission characteristics. Analysis of Covariance tests or chi-square tests of independence were used to test the null hypotheses. Results were inconclusive for many of the dependent variables under study, but significant interaction effects were found for hours of involvement with peers, academic involvement, and student satisfaction.
School Location:USA - Ohio
Source Type:Master's Thesis
Keywords:learning communities student involvement first year experience academic success retention resdence life
Date of Publication:01/01/2005