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					 What A President Learned
Living With First-Year Residents

         BETTY L. SIEGEL, Ph.D.
         President, Kennesaw State University

         MICHAEL L. SANSEVIRO
         Director of Residence Life
“I am NOT Charlotte Simmons”

 Is Tom Wolfe’s 2004 portrait of today’s
 college students accurate?
  Conceived with the opening of a new FYE
 Living-Learning Community in Fall 2004,
 President Siegel sought to engage
 students in courageous conversations on
 “their own turf.”
 The “President’s Overnights” were born!
     About Kennesaw
     State University
Public Suburban Institution, northwest of Atlanta
3rd largest university in Georgia
18,000+ students and growing
2163 residential students
Only 40 years old, with only 2 presidents
Started as small 2 year college, now growing toward
research university
Completely commuter until Fall 2002
Majority of students from Cobb county
Shifting from non-traditional to traditional age
Recently moved to NCAA Division I
             Nuts & Bolts
One unit was taken off-line to be used as the “President’s
Suite” and model apartment.
Schedule for the Overnights
6:00 p.m.       Dinner with some RAs in the apartment
8:00 p.m.       Student Social & Discussion in the activity center
10:00 p.m.      Hot Cocoa & Popcorn in the apartment
11:00 p.m.      Evening News & Discussion of World Events
12:00 a.m.      Lights Out (or pick-up soccer in the courtyard!)
7:00 a.m.       Breakfast at the Waffle House (and Dr. Siegel pays!)
During numerous overnights the President visited every residential
community and met with hundreds of students representing the
breadth and depth of student diversity on campus.
            Living-Learning
             Communities
Three On-Campus Residential Communities (2163 beds)
KSU Place           (renovated for campus housing Fall 2002)
     582 beds; 4 bedroom/2bath apts
     mostly upperclass - houses athletes, non-traditional, International

University Place                (opened Fall 2002)

     700 beds; 2 bed/bath & 4 bed/bath “garden” apts
     mostly traditional age upperclass students

University Village complex                            (opened Fall 2004)

     881 beds; 2, 3, 4 bed/bath apts, interior corridors,
     7 classrooms, faculty offices, retail, services
     mostly traditional age first-year students, some sophomores & honors
Who Are Our Residents?

Age                    Gender
 Oldest = 57;           65% Female
 Youngest = 15          35% Male
 “Non-Traditional”
 (24+) = 5%            Status
 Under 18 = 4%          68% New to On-Campus
 “Legal” (21+) = 20%    Housing
 Under 21 = 80%         46% Traditional First-
                        Year Students
 Millennials = 94%
Millennial Generation
Born from 1982-2002
80 million (the largest generation)
Technologically savvy & proficient
Extremely close with parents (“Helicopter Parents”)
Raised sheltered and protected
Ambitious but with unrealistic expectations
Exposed to vast array of information but less in-depth
Different patterns of social connection
Increasingly high levels of stress and anxiety
More “medicated” than any other generation
 What Have We Learned?
1.    Students love KSU
2.    They are learning outside of the classroom (maybe even more
      than inside the classroom)
3.    They work… a lot (25-30+ hours per week average)
4.    They don’t cook (even with really nice kitchens)
5.    They seek school spirit, a sense of culture and traditions
6.    They seek meaningful connections (frequently online)
7.    Students feel KSU is diverse (but not always engaging diversity)
8.    They fear financial aid (as do their parents)
9.    Teachers make the difference
10.   Everyone has a George Foreman Grill…and now so does Dr.
      Siegel!
What Have We Learned?

What Students Say About Living On-Campus…
  Higher grades
  Higher level of involvement on campus
  Greater sense of independence
  More patience & ability to learn to get along with others
  Appreciation of differences
  Acquiring life skills
  Like apartments with private bathrooms
  Interaction with RAs as Teachers and Mentors
       The Wish List

The ability to meet and eat…cafeterias,
meal plans
Green space and the ability to use it
Useable common space, places to hang
out
Faculty interaction at night
– The student definition of “night” vs. our
  definition
       The 13th Grade
The Resident Commuter
    “My social network is off campus because most of my
     friends don’t go to school here but live in the area.”

Local residents are still connected
– Same friends, church, significance others, hangouts,
  jobs, family oriented
Their room is a convenient place for their stuff but
not always where they are.
The Four-Day College Week
– A “suitcase campus” (Monday am – Thursday afternoon)
 Size Doesn‟t Matter
        Their Life Inside the Classroom


Feelings about General Education Classes
– “General education courses are frustrating! It is
  frustrating to do something that you already just did
  in high school. We came here because we want to study
  something specific and it takes you two years to get to
  it!”
– “…they give an understanding of how everything all
  connects. You can learn something in math class and
  can’t figure out how it works, and then you see it later
  on in economics and you are like “wow! There it is…math
  again!”
Class size – small vs. large
 – What makes the difference? THE FACULTY!
Technology should be a supplement not a
substitution
  “I Don‟t Like When My
      Professors…”
Go way too fast and cover too much material at once!
Read directly from the textbook and call it a lecture.
Read from their Power Point.
Do not keep you up to date on your progress.
Don’t follow the syllabus! I can’t read or plan ahead!
Don’t contact you when class is cancelled.
“Some faculty don’t even show up for class, are
constantly late, or continually go back and forth to their
office because they forgot something.”
  “But I Love When My
     Professors…”
Are available outside of class time.
Take an interest in me – my goals and dreams.
Support activities and get involved.
Have school spirit.
Allow announcements and advertising in class.
Let me get to know them as a person.
Share why they teach and how they became
interest in their subject area.
      New Initiatives
Growing out of the feedback from the President’s
Overnights are the following student-centered
initiatives:
      - “Fabulous Friday EdVentures”
      - Staff & Administrator Workshop Series
      - Opening of School Faculty Presentation
      - Shift in Master Plan for Future Housing
Expansion of “TLC” Total Living Concept
OWLS Programming Model – learning outcomes
driven
      “KSU‟s „coolest‟
        president”
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution ran an
article on Tuesday, January 24, 2006
highlighting this unique approach to
serving students:
“KSU‟s „coolest‟ presidents: Students
   get Siegel‟s ear at sleepovers”
    Lesson Summary

Students (and parents) talk and they are
watching.
Our campus is their HOME.
When they talk about “them” they mean US.
Is it easier for us or best for them?
They want to connect with us.
They learn as much outside as inside the
classroom.

				
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