The self-perceived effects on faculty that result from the experience of serving in a residential college

Eric E Arneson, Florida International University


The purpose of this phenomenological study was to examine the effects that faculty who live in residence with college students perceive result from their experience. This study examined the perspectives from current and recent residential faculty members. Data were gathered through structured interviews with current and former residential faculty who gave firsthand accounts of how they felt that experience impacted them. A pilot study had been previously conducted that enabled the researcher to modify and adjust the dissertation methodology accordingly, based upon the findings of the pilot study. The pilot study, in short, found that residential faculty members felt they gained from the experience in terms of relationships with students and other faculty while facing a few small challenges. Literature consistently showed that faculty-student interaction is very important to the development and success of students (Astin, 1993). Research has clearly demonstrated positive outcomes that result for students; the literature review revealed this information is plentiful. There is a dearth of research, however, regarding this impact on the faculty members themselves. Given the importance of faculty-student interaction outside of the classroom, it is crucial to recruit faculty for these communities. Thus, more information regarding this experience will be valuable. The study was conducted at a mid-sized private university in the Southeastern United States. The reason for this choice was the fact that this school has a 25-year history as a residential college system and utilizes 12–15 residential faculty members yearly. The researcher conducted interviews with 13 faculty members and coded and analyzed the data, then prepared the findings of the study based on the results. The data resulting from the study indicated that faculty perceived great benefits from serving as residential college faculty members. Perceived benefits as described by the participants included increased skill in teaching, feeling a sense of community, stronger relationships with other faculty members and students, and an increased affinity toward the university. While there were some challenges such as lack of training, politics, and loss of privacy all participants in the study felt they gained from the opportunity and would do it again in the same situation. This study enhanced the limited formal knowledge available regarding how faculty experience living in residential colleges with students.

Subject Area

Higher education

Recommended Citation

Arneson, Eric E, "The self-perceived effects on faculty that result from the experience of serving in a residential college" (2011). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. AAI3502099.