An analysis of outcomes associated with student participation in living -learning communities at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst

2004 2004

Other formats: Order a copy

Abstract (summary)

The purpose of this study was to assess the impact of student participation in the Special Interest Residential Program (SIRP) living-learning communities at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

This study involves a secondary data analysis of administrative data collected by SARIS, the Office for Academic Planning and Assessment, and the Department of Residence Life at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Data from the Fall Semester 2000 Residential Academic Programs survey and the Spring Semester 2002 Special Interest Residential Program survey are discussed. However, further analysis was conducted only on the latter data set.

The Residential Academic Program survey included 809 students who were enrolled in either the RAP, TAP or Honors living-learning community program at that time. The response rate was 59% (n = 477). The Special Interest Residential Program survey included all 363 students who were involved in the SIRP living-learning programs, and 379 resident students. The response rate for sample students in a SIRP living-learning community was 84% (n = 305).

Three broad research questions were posed in this study. The first found twenty-five positive outcomes associated with participation in all living-learning communities at the university. Three negative outcomes also were found. The second question found that participants in the more structured and academically oriented programs (RAP) derived different outcomes than students involved in the less structured programs (SIRP) that are not organized around an academic theme. The third question found that several subgroups within survey sample, including students of color, junior-year and first-year students in a SIRP derived different outcomes than their counterparts in a traditional residence hall setting.

These findings support the literature on living-learning community outcomes, and also suggest that residential learning communities represent one method of bridging the gap between students' in- and out-of-class experiences and with providing students with a seamless learning environment described in the literature. Moreover, this study suggests that positive outcomes can be derived from low-end living-learning community programs of various types. These findings suggest that campuses should develop living-learning community programs to support undergraduate student learning even if these structures are modestly designed and low cost.

Indexing (details)

Higher education
0745: Higher education
Identifier / keyword
Education; Living-learning communities; Massachusetts; Special Interest Residential Program; University of Massachusetts, Amherst
An analysis of outcomes associated with student participation in living -learning communities at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Gilbert, Michael A.
Number of pages
Publication year
Degree date
School code
DAI-A 65/06, Dissertation Abstracts International
Place of publication
Ann Arbor
Country of publication
United States
Malaney, Gary D.
University of Massachusetts Amherst
University location
United States -- Massachusetts
Source type
Dissertations & Theses
Document type
Dissertation/thesis number
ProQuest document ID
Database copyright ProQuest LLC; ProQuest does not claim copyright in the individual underlying works.
Document URL
Access the complete full text

You can get the full text of this document if it is part of your institution's ProQuest subscription.

Try one of the following:

  • Connect to ProQuest through your library network and search for the document from there.
  • Request the document from your library.
  • Go to the ProQuest login page and enter a ProQuest or My Research username / password.