Date of Award

8-2014

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Executive Leadership

First Supervisor

Mary Collins

Second Supervisor

Gerry Rooney

Abstract

The relationship between the college union and a sense of community on campus has been written about in monographs, books, and articles for over 100 years. However, little or no empirical evidence exists to confirm this relationship. The purpose of this dissertation study was to identify if there is a relationship between the physical space of the college union and students’ sense of community on campus. The study utilized a secondary data set from one of the largest state systems of public higher education in the United States. Correlation and regression techniques were applied to the results of a satisfaction survey with over 15,000 participants. The results suggest that there is a statistically significant relationship between student satisfaction with the physical spaces of the college campus and student satisfaction with a sense of community. Satisfaction with the college union was found to be the strongest predictor of satisfaction with a sense of community of any of the physical space variables that were included in the study. The study serves as the first quantitative study to provide empirical evidence that there is a relationship between the physical space of the college union and a students’ sense of community on campus. The results suggest that physical space matters and that there is a need for investment in the space and the programs of the college union to positively impact a sense of community on campus.

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