Evidence suggests that collaborations between academic affairs and student affairs can foster student success both inside and outside of the classroom. Residential learning communities (RLCs) are a popular avenue by which these two divisions can find collaborative opportunities to integrate students’ curricular and cocurricular experiences. Although this strategy can be rich in student success rewards, academic affairs, and student affairs face challenges as they work to overcome cultural and structural differences. One of these challenges may simply be the lack of a shared interpretation of collaboration. The purpose of this study is to arrive at a consensus definition of collaboration within the context of RLCs. We engaged RLC scholars and practitioners in a Delphi study to create a comprehensive definition for use in RLC program assessment and development resulting in the following definition: Collaboration between academic and student affairs is the continuous process of cultivating an interdependent relationship where each stakeholder is mutually committed to working toward the shared purpose of holistic student learning. This definition serves as a springboard for academic affairs and student affairs RLC collaborators to strive for continuous processes, interdependent relationships, and commitment to a shared purpose.
collaboration, student affairs, academic affairs, residential learning
This project was supported by the 2017-2019 Research Seminar on Residential Learning Communities as a High-Impact Practice, a multi-institutional research initiative hosted by Elon University’s Center for Engaged Learning (www.CenterForEngagedLearning.org).
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Recommended APA Citation
Leary, M., Muller, T. M., Kramer, S., Sopper, J., Gebauer, R. D., & Wade, M. (2022). Defining Collaboration Through the Lens of a Delphi Study: Student Affairs and Academic Affairs Partnerships in Residential Learning Communities. The Qualitative Report, 27(3), 664-690. https://doi.org/10.46743/2160-3715/2022.5276
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