Good Housekeeping: Housing Experiences Matter to LGBTQ Student Success by Liza Hurley

ACPA Commission for Housing and Residence Life Sponsored Program
Monday, March 27 | 3:45-4:45p | Convention Center B231
Presenter: Liza Hurley

In a few weeks, I will attend my first ACPA conference in Columbus, Ohio! What makes it even more exciting is I have the opportunity to present with fellow master’s students, PhD students, and professors. In this blog post, I am sharing how I got started doing research during my first semester as an #SAgrad and why I have found it so valuable.

During my own first year, I struggled to transition into college. However, unlike some students, I hold a number of privileged identities that made my transition easier because I never felt isolated or othered because of my social identities. It was my resident assistant (RA) who helped me through that first year, and who encouraged me to become an RA. In my own RA experience, I witnessed a variety of ways students struggled and sometimes because of their on-campus housing experiences.

Coming into graduate school, I did not think that research would be something I would ever get involved in. Unlike some of my cohort mates, it was not even on my radar. I joined this field because I wanted to assist students during their college experience and I was excited to dive into my practical experiences as a graduate student. Shortly into my first semester, though, I realized that research is another effective way to listen to what students are telling us, and researchers use that knowledge to improve students’ college experiences.

At Convention, I am presenting about the ways on-campus housing matters to LGBTQ+ student success. My research advisor at the University of Iowa, Jodi Linley, is an affiliate member of the National Study of LGBTQ Student Success (PIs: Kristen Renn at Michigan State University and Michael Woodford at Wilfred Laurier University). The data come from a longitudinal study of LGBTQ+ student success that aims to understand LGBTQ+ collegians’ ecological systems from an anti-deficit perspective.

While higher education research has generally found on-campus housing to have positive effects on students (see Pascarella & Terenzini, 2005), living on campus may affect LGBTQ students in ways that are different from the generalized positive effects suggested in prior studies. My own RA experience certainly makes me want to explore potential differences. The opportunity to be a part of the team that analyzed qualitative data about housing experiences of LGBTQ+ students is what first sparked my interest toward the project. Through this opportunity, I get to be a part of a team that is working to amplify LGBTQ+ students’ voices and help housing professionals better understand their LGBTQ+ students’ on-campus housing experiences.


LizaLiza Hurley is in her first year of her master’s degree in Higher Education and Student Affairs at the University of Iowa. She has an assistantship in leadership and service programs and also serves as a member of Dr. Jodi Linley’s research team. Prior to her time at the University of Iowa, Liza worked in residence life as an RA.





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