From: Coker, Jeffrey W
Sent: Wednesday, September 05, 2012 12:06 PM
To: Rakita, Gordon; Lai-Chin, Fong Chuen
Subject: FA Questions
Gordon and Cindy,
My apologies regarding two pending FA questions that has yet to receive a response. As the two relate to the same issue, I’ve taken the liberty of responding to the two together:
Question Synopsis III: To justify incoming freshman living on campus, UNF is citing data claiming that freshman who live on campus do better than those who do not. While I do not dispute that such may be true average, I doubt that such data exists for schools such as UNF that are public, located in a suburban area of a large city, and have a freshman profile such as ours. That is, it makes no sense to compare us to Princeton, Stetson, Iowa, or Wayne State, just to name a few schools that differ from UNF.
In addition, I question whether such studies are prospective or prove causality. That is, would
a particular freshman's performance really be improved by living on campus? Or are there
self-selection biases that explain the differences in performance?
Question Synopsis IV: Are you aware of the UC Irvine study based on 2005 freshman stating:
For most of the variables in this study, there were no discernable differences between those who lived on campus their first year (residents) and those who commuted to campus (commuters). They were similar in terms of gender, ethnicity, average SAT scores, most college goals, self-reported academic gains, and quarterly and cumulative GPAs in the first year.
Response (to both):
The literature on student success in higher education is vast. While studies vary, in terms of scale, scope, and findings, the majority of them do identify a link between campus residency and metrics of success (GPA, retention rates, etc.). The Office of Undergraduate Studies is willing to share this literature. As one of the questions points out, not all studies have identified such links directly. Most, however, do show at least a positive correlation. It is also worthwhile, I think, to point out that the decision to require freshman residency at UNF was certainly informed by, but not exclusively driven by, data or research from these types of studies. The policy also involved a consideration of our particular campus history and culture and what such a policy might offer. The impacts of required residency on the student experience, including academic performance, will of course be important to monitor going forward.
Jeff W. Coker, Ph.D.
Dean, Undergraduate Studies
University of North Florida
Office of Undergraduate Studies
1 UNF Drive
Building 1, Suite 1501
Jacksonville, FL 32224
(904) 620-5769 (office)
(904) 671-4372 (mobile)