Expectations, experiences and satisfaction by students, staff and faculty within residential colleges at the University of Miami

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


Higher Education

First Committee Member

John H. Croghan - Committee Chair


Ten years ago, President Edward T. Foote committed the University of Miami to a system of residential colleges. He believed that they would stimulate undergraduate excellence, just as had similar developments at Harvard and Yale. At present, 3200 students along with fifteen faculty members, their families, five Residence Coordinators, and approximate 100 undergraduate staff members live in five residential colleges at the University of Miami.Until this study, there had not been any formalized evaluation of the overall impact and satisfaction of the residential college experience upon students, staff and faculty. Moreover, there had been few comprehensive studies about the impact of residential colleges anywhere in the United States.The purpose of this study was to identify and compare the expectations, experiences, and degree of satisfaction with the residential college system among students, staff and faculty who lived in the University of Miami residential colleges in the Spring of 1993. The study considered the following ares: program participation, faculty-student interaction, the resident assistant-student relationship, and the types of residential college experiences that were considered to be most satisfying.A combination of qualitative and quantitative methods was used to examine the expectations, experiences and satisfaction of students, staff and faculty. Nine focus groups and an open-ended question in the survey were the primary qualitative methods utilized. The quantitative method used involved a survey using Likert-type responses. The data were analyzed from fifty-seven focus group interviewees and five hundred thirty-one respondents in the survey.Significant findings included the following: students and staff reported lower initial expectations about residential colitis than did faculty; staff and faculty experiences in residential colleges sere more satisfying than were those of students; the resident assistant-student relationship was pivotal to successfully student involvement in the residential college program; and personal relationships contributed the greatest impact and satisfaction upon student, staff and faculty.


Education, Higher

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