Date of Award

Fall 2020

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Committee Chair

Dr. Holly A. Foster

Committee Chair School


Committee Member 2

Dr. Kyna Shelley

Committee Member 2 School


Committee Member 3

Dr. Richard Mohn

Committee Member 3 School


Committee Member 4

Dr. Lilian Hill

Committee Member 4 School



Since the early days of higher education, living-learning communities have been beneficial for student success, involvement, and retention. A living-learning community can be studied using the following as a basic definition for this research: a group of students living together who have a purpose of focusing on learning outside the classroom and that interacts with the institution’s staff, who assist with the students’ holistic development. Research suggests that students who are involved and those who live on campus have greater academic success and are more likely to return for their next academic semester. Astin’s involvement theory explores the interactions between college students and institutions and how those relationships could be enhanced to bridge the gap that exists between these two entities, which could prevent disconnection and attrition. More research is needed to better understand the key aspects of students’ connection with their institutions. Living-learning communities serve as a scene to study involved and on-campus students.

For this research, the eligible participants were students, both undergraduate and graduate, who lived on campus at an institution in the state of Mississippi. These institutions included public, private, 2-year, and 4-year. The statistical analysis conducted was logistic regression due to wanting to determine if there was a significant difference between groups (members of living-learning communities versus members of non-living-learning communities) on measures of sense of belonging and demographics. The results confirmed that there is significance with gender identity, academic class year, GPA, faculty not in residence, and no faculty associated among members of a living-learning community. As well, campus community belonging was greater with members of a living-learning community. Creating an environment that holistically develops a student is key in achieving academic success. When students are engaged members of a living-learning community they are involved and more likely to be connected with the institution to progress towards graduation.