Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


School of Education

Document Type



Known as the proverbial “living room of campus,” college student union facilities date back to the late 1800s. Unions were a place for congregation and fellowship, a place where student engagement was crucial. Today’s college union varies from campus to campus, with some focused on student development, some with a keen focus on generating revenue through providing services, and some that attempt to strike a balance between the two.

The concept of student engagement and the research surrounding engagement rarely has shed light on the role of the college student union facility in the engagement process. Entities traditionally found within student unions such campus life divisions, dining, multicultural affairs programming, or recreational spaces have more foundational research that ties those areas directly to student engagement.

More specifically, little published research is available on student union space and its relationship to student engagement on historically black college and university campuses. This qualitative phenomenological investigation explores whether the college student union building serves a purpose on today’s historically black college campus, whether that purpose is relevant, and whether there is a relationship between the student union facility and student engagement.



Committee Chair

Mitchell, Roland