Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Educational Administration and Foundations: Educational Administration

First Advisor

Diane R. Dean


This study was designed to understand and forecast the changing role of the student union in the modern era and specifically explored the purposes served by student unions, what specific amenities and services contribute to serving those purposes, the barriers student unions face in meeting those purposes, and the most important influences that will shape the college and university student union of the future. A review of the history of college and university student unions, the components of campus environments, the role of student unions in student recruitment and retention, and the influences of environmental psychology anchor the research. The study employed the Delphi method to collect and explore the knowledge and insights of experts in student union management, defined as individuals holding the title of Director of the Student Union, Student Center, or Student Activities, and having a minimum of five years' experience in student union management. Twenty two participants completed three-rounds of survey questionnaires in an effort to determine expert consensus, defined as 75% or higher agreement on the importance of items in the survey. The results identified four core purposes of student unions, "building, creating or fostering community," "supporting student success," and serving as both the "welcome center," and the "living

room" of the campus. Numerous results were derived concerning the specific services, amenities and physical and human attributes of the union that support these purposes, as well as critical physical, knowledge, financial and political constraints that impede their effectiveness. The results of the study will be of interest to higher education leadership, scholars and students, and all of those who are concerned about student recruitment, retention and success.


Imported from ProQuest Janisz_ilstu_0092E_10364.pdf


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