Date Approved


Embargo Period


Document Type


Degree Name

M.A. Higher Education


Educational Services and Leadership


College of Education

First Advisor

Tinnin, Andrew

Second Advisor

Walpole, MaryBeth

Third Advisor

McCombs, Tyrone


Student housing


Higher Education


College and university student housing has changed dramatically since the opening of Harvard College in 1636. Despite these changes, student housing professionals are still tasked with engaging their students. This can sometimes be difficult depending on outside forces such as the physical structure of a building. The purpose of this study was to determine what physical aspects of a residence hall do students and undergraduate live-in student staff value in terms of engaging their students and building a community. For this study focus groups were conducted for student and staff of traditional residence halls and public-private partnership residence halls. Common themes were that ample community space, such as larger lounges, a community kitchen, and amenities in study rooms were valued by staff and students in order to feel engaged in the community. This study will be beneficial for departments who are looking to develop new residence halls on their college campuses, while still engaging their students.