Defense Date


Graduation Date

Summer 2014


Immediate Access

Submission Type


Degree Name



Instructional Leadership Excellence (ILEAD)


School of Education

Committee Chair

David D Carbonara

Committee Member

Gibbs Y Kanyongo

Committee Member

Matthew J Bundick


perceptions, student development, student life


The landscape of higher education has been altered considerably over the past forty years as institutions have been asked to demonstrate that education programs offer sound opportunities for student growth and development. In addition, tumultuous economic conditions have reshaped American higher education as they relate to changing student demographics. A rise in minority, non-traditionally aged, and returning adult learners are coming to college with differing needs and backgrounds than the 18 to 22 year old collegians of the past. In 2010, the National Center for Educational Statistics identified the average of an American undergraduate to be 25 years of age, but this statistic pales in comparison to the fact that currently, over 85% of all enrolled collegians nationally, do not reside on campus during their tenure.

In an effort to better understand some of the contemporary student experiences and their perceptions, this study utilized NASPA Assessment and Knowledge Consortium instruments to determine whether student involvement in campus activities, career development and aspirations, issues of mental health, and perceptions of diversity and campus safety differ between resident students and commuter peers who either reside with roommates, family, or spouses, partners, and children differ at a Northeast private, urban, religiously-affiliated university.

Findings of the study demonstrate that while generally these populations do not typically have overwhelmingly different perceptions or levels of engagement, there are specific areas of campus life that are significant and worthy of note for divisions of Student Life and university administrations to consider as they work with resident and commuter students.