Research Project to Examine Unions’ Relationship to Student Learning, Engagement
BLOOMINGTON, IN – The Association of College Unions International (ACUI) recently partnered with Indiana University (IU) to expand research in the college union and student activities field. The goal of the partnership is to start with a single project in hopes of building upon initial success and expanding research efforts into the future. The first project to be pursued is a qualitative, multi-campus study that will examine student engagement in the college union and how college unions contribute to student learning and success.
“I’m excited about the potential of this project,” says ACUI’s Chief Executive Officer Dr. John Taylor. “We know that college students don’t just learn in a classroom setting, and this is a way to further explore and understand how many of their co-curricular experiences in the union contribute to their education and engagement.”
Six site visits to U.S. campuses will be conducted in the next six months, and initial findings are likely to be published in early 2019.
To facilitate the project, IU’s Center for Postsecondary Research will provide academic resources to ACUI in conducting research, analyzing data, and connecting outcomes with other projects the center oversees. The center conducts and disseminates research on student access, assessment, engagement, and persistence, including the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE).
Data collection and analysis will be modeled after the Documenting Effective Educational Practice (DEEP) project, using a qualitative case study design to discover the conditions within a physical space that influence student learning and student success. The use of physical space, student employment, programming, campus partnerships, policies, and practices will be documented to gain an understanding of the outcomes students gain from the college union.
“By collecting data at several institutions, we’ll be able to see similarities and differences of how student center facilities and programs influence student success at each campus,” says Dr. Danielle DeSawal, the study’s principle investigator and IU clinical associate professor. “We look forward to using that information to broadly improve students’ experience in the years to come.”
is the professional home to thousands of campus community builders around the world. Primarily focused on the work of those within the college unions and student activities field, the Association strives to provide an inclusive, welcoming community for all those who choose to belong.