Date of Award

Fall 11-2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)



First Advisor

Dr. Shane Williamson

Second Advisor

Dr. Michael Hepner

Third Advisor

Dr. John Long


Colleges and universities worldwide are competing with one another to provide undergraduate students with top-tier learning experiences to increase and retain enrollment. Many institutions are developing living-learning communities to maximize non-academic learning, promote social development, and facilitate interactions among students, faculty, and staff. This study was a mixed-methods, single case study of a living-learning program at a top-tier, Midwestern university. The purpose of this study was twofold: to explore the effectiveness of an undergraduate residential living-learning community at a top-tier university in regards to student satisfaction and interaction, and to investigate elements of staff job satisfaction and long-term retention of housekeeping and mechanic employees. Data collection involved surveys, one-on-one interviews, and focus group interviews of key stakeholders. Three research questions informed the purpose of the study. The first research question asked whether the living-learning model provided an environment that encouraged learning and personal growth. Both the qualitative and descriptive findings supported that yes, the model does encourage learning and personal growth, but that there is still room for improvement, especially by contributing to students’ social development. The second research question asked whether the higher level of staffing among stakeholders resulted in a greater sense of safety, security, and satisfaction. Again, both the qualitative and descriptive findings supported that the model does so effectively, especially for housekeeping and mechanic employees. The third research question asked whether the model supported job satisfaction and long-term retention among housekeeping and mechanic employees. The surveys of these employees indicated that yes, the living-learning model, and especially vi having a permanent building assignment, contributed to job satisfaction and retention. To improve the program in the future, assessment should recognize housekeeping and mechanic employees as stakeholders in the living-learning community; the physical space should be continually and strategically updated to meet the mission and goals of the program; housekeeping and mechanic staff should be recruited and retained strategically. In order to ensure future prosperity, program leaders should continue to assess how effectively the mission and goals are being met.


Copyright 2017