Publication Date

Spring 5-15-2020

Document Type

Action research project: Open access

Degree Name

MA Higher Education Leadership


Leadership Studies


The purpose of this study explored ways that the residential education department supported students through their transition out of college at the University of San Diego. In particular, it focused on intentional programming for upper-division students. The participants in this study were upper-division students who were in their second year, third year, fourth year, or fifth year at USD. This study showed that there is a low attendance rate of upper-division students at campus programming and challenges around finding a sense of belonging. Upper-division students are known to be independent, academic and career focused. This research also found that most upper-division students valued attending residential programs that were centered around wellness topics. Additionally, upper-division students found great value in connecting with their Resident Assistants and community building. There were three different cycles, consisting of individual interviews, focus groups, and surveys. Also, I utilized a meta-cycle that included an analysis of the different systems in the research and a personal reflection on the cycles. The results from this study informed a proposed intentional program model for residential education and a targeted guideline for supporting upper-division students. Residents Assistants were able to implement these programming models in their areas and have increased intentional interactions with students.


Awarded the Action Research Project of the Year, 2020.