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Students' Insights About Community on Campus: Definitions, Expectations, and Perceptions

Sat, April 18, 2:45 to 4:15pm, Hyatt, Floor: East Tower - Purple Level, Riverside West


Drawing on two bodies of work--researchers who study community in relationship to civic engagement (Bellah et al, 1985; Putnam, 2000) and to Communities of Practice (Lave & Wenger, 1991; Wenger, 1998; Wenger, McDermott, & Snyder, 2002)--this ongoing study explores what students at Northwestern University think about community when given the opportunity to reflect on it within a small first-year writing seminar. Using surveys, individual interviews, and papers from 111 students, plus existing literature and one university’s publications and practices, we have gained meaningful insights into students’ definitions of community, their expectations for community in college, their perceptions of the relationship between community and identity, and how their views compare to aims and beliefs of the administration.