Date of Award

Spring 1-10-2014

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Educational Psychology and Special Education

First Advisor

Dr. Ann Cale Kruger

Second Advisor

Dr. Jodi Kaufmann

Third Advisor

Dr. Nannette Commander

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Daphne Greenberg

Abstract

COMMUNITY ON CAMPUS: THE ROLE OF PHYSICAL SPACE

by

Kim D. Harrington

The physical environment of a college campus provides the context for learning and social interactions. These interactions lead to involved students, which help build community, and vibrant communities on college campuses contribute to student persistence and academic success (Kuh, Cruce, Shoup, Kinzie & Gonyea, 2008; Palmer, Maramba & Dancy, 2011; Strange & Banning, 2001; Tinto & Goodsell - Love, 1993). The purpose of this study was to explore the role of physical space on student involvement and community. The methodology was ethnography and the methods of data collection included photo elicitation and semi - structured interviews. This qualitative study presents the visual and interview data from 9 participants enrolled at a research university in the South. The student participants reported that they developed meaningful connections with their peers through interactions in outdoor spaces, student organization offices, academic facilities and recreational areas. The participants felt that many of the physical spaces encouraged interaction and helped to facilitate campus involvement. The findings of this work indicate that the natural and built environments at this university influenced how students discovered, built, and sustained community.

Available for download on Saturday, January 10, 2015

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