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Student Learning in College Residence Halls: What Works, What Doesn't, and Why

ISBN: 978-1-118-55160-8
416 pages
January 2015, Jossey-Bass
Student Learning in College Residence Halls: What Works, What Doesn


Add value to the student experience with purposeful residential programs

Grounded in current research and practical experience, Student Learning in College Residence Halls: What Works, What Doesn't, and Why shows how to structure the peer environment in residence halls to advance student learning. Focusing on the application of student learning principles, the book examines how neurobiological and psychosocial development influences how students learn in residence halls. The book is filled with examples, useful strategies, practical advice, and best practices for building community and shaping residential environments that produce measureable learning outcomes. Readers will find models for a curriculum-based approach to programming and for developing student staff competencies, as well as an analysis of what types of residential experiences influence student learning. An examination of how to assess student learning in residence halls and of the challenges residence halls face provide readers with insight into how to strategically plan for the future of residence halls as learning centers.

The lack of recent literature on student learning in college residence halls belies the changes that have taken place. More traditional-age students are enrolled in college than ever before, and universities are building more residence halls to meet the increased demand for student housing. This book addresses these developments, reviews contemporary research, and provides up-to-date advice for creating residence hall environments that achieve educationally purposeful outcomes.

  • Discover which educational benefits are associated with living in residence halls
  • Learn how residential environments influence student behavior
  • Create residence hall environments that produce measureable learning outcomes
  • Monitor effectiveness with a process of systematic assessment

Residence halls are an integral part of the college experience; with the right programs in place they can become dynamic centers of student learning. Student Learning in College Residence Halls is a comprehensive resource for residence hall professionals and others interested in improving students' learning experience.

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Table of Contents

List of Tables and Figures ix

Foreword xi

Preface xv

Acknowledgments xxi

About the Author xxiii

1. The Historical and Philosophical Foundations of Student Learning in Residence Halls 1

2. How Biological and Psychological Development Influence Student Learning and Behavior 29

3. How Students Learn in Residence Halls 59

4. How to Create Learning Environments in Residence Halls 89

5. Selecting and Developing Residence Life Staff to Advance Student Learning 135

6. How Residential Environments Influence Student Learning 179

7. How to Shape the Peer Environment in Residence Halls to Advance Student Learning 201

8. Managing Student Life in Residence Halls to Support Student Learning 231

9. Assessing and Improving Residence Life Programs 257

10. The Future of Residence Halls 275

References 307

Name Index 353

Subject Index 365

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Author Information

GREGORY S. BLIMLING is a professor in the Rutgers University Graduate School of Education where he teaches college student affairs administration. For twenty-two years he served as a senior student affairs officer and for nine years as the editor of the Journal of College Student Development. A former ACPA president, he is the author, coauthor, or editor of many scholarly publications and books including Good Practices in Student Affairs: Principles to Foster Student Learning (Jossey-Bass, 1999).

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