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In an academic year defined by social distancing and virtual learning, it was more important and difficult than ever to keep students connected and engaged. Despite these challenges, we saw many institutions, especially their housing and residence life departments, rise to the occasion. Skyfactor Benchworks recognizes seven colleges with an Assessment and Impact Award for Housing and Residence Life.
The Assessment and Impact Award for Residence Life was established in 2019 to recognize colleges that have successfully used data to analyze and make changes to better their residence life programs. Please join me in congratulating this year’s winners:
- Miles Community College (MT) was recognized for high performance on survey scores related to sustainability. MCC encouraged students to volunteer in a campus service initiative that connected students with their environment as well as their local community, bringing food-related efforts with community-building efforts together.
- Millersville University (PA) was recognized for significant improvements to survey scores related to personal interactions, diverse interactions, and satisfaction with student staff. MU used data to determine the success of their new resident engagement model which included adjustments to student-staff training and an increased focus on living-learning communities.
- The Oxford College of Emory University (GA) was recognized for high performance on survey scores related to diverse interactions and satisfaction with student staff. Using mindful messaging, diversity-focused training, and dynamic programming, Oxford worked to embed values of diversity, equity, and inclusion throughout their department.
- The University of Alaska Southeast (AK) was recognized for their significant improvement in survey scores related to residence hall environment satisfaction. UAS saw improvements to their housing and residence life department after making adjustments to their staff training, implementing a requirement for roommate agreements, and prioritizing community-building values.
- The University of Central Florida (FL) was recognized for significant improvement to survey scores related to sense of community. As a result of feedback during COVID-19, UCF made modifications and changes to their residential curriculum and their system for creating student connections.
- University of Northern Colorado (CO) was recognized for significant improvement to survey scores related to community environment satisfaction. UNC transitioned from a traditional programming model to one focused on one-on-one conversations that prioritize first-year residents.
- The University of Tampa (FL) was recognized for significant improvement in survey scores related to academic initiatives and personal interactions. UT’s increase stems from the implementation of a new residential education model, an increase in staff engagement, and intentional conversations between residents and student staff.
The 2021 winners were chosen this spring through a careful analysis of multiple years of data from the ACUHO-I/Benchworks Resident Assessment. The Skyfactor Benchworks Analytics and Research Team first conducted a quantitative analysis and review of applications and then interviewed finalists to learn about improvements in residence life.
Send a Kudo or drop a comment below to congratulate our 2021 Assessment & Impact Award Winners!
Benchworks assessments are the most widely used programs in higher education housing and have been available for nearly 20 years. The ACUHO-I/Benchworks Residents Assessment is used by nearly 300 institutions each year, and is one of more than 50 different assessments from Benchworks on topics important to college success, including housing, orientation, and student affairs and service. The survey includes questions about student satisfaction with facilities, programs, dining, safety, room assignment, and roommates, as well as learning related to personal interactions, diversity, sense of community, academic success, transferable skills, sustainability, and healthy habits.
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