North Hall dedication ceremony

Hine Hall Auditorium
Indianapolis, Indiana

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Optimal conditions for educational effectiveness

In 1945, a report from the American Council on Education noted:

“Educational effectiveness is dependent on the …healthy functioning of the student outside as well as within the classroom. Students, however intelligent, who lack a sense of direction and orientation… and whose housing and study conditions constantly interfere with learning, are in no position to give their best to their studies, and to get the most from them.”1

Today, as we dedicate North Hall, we celebrate a facility that will not only become a welcoming home for generations of students in the years to come, but one that will also enhance housing and study conditions so that students on the IUPUI campus can continue to give their best to their studies, and get the most from them.

The impact of residence halls on student success

Leaders in American higher education have known for many decades that residence halls are a vitally important part of students’ academic and personal development.

A vast body of research has documented that students living on campus are more likely to interact with faculty, participate in extracurricular activities, and use institutional resources.2 This increased engagement and involvement, in turn, is a determinant of improved critical thinking ability, intellectual growth, persistence to graduation, and satisfaction with college. As one recent study concludes: “While many factors influence a student’s level of academic engagement, the single most important factor identified in previous research is living on campus [and] in a residence hall.”3

Incidentally, much of the major scholarship in the second half of the 20th century about the correlation between student success and residential life was generated by Indiana University faculty members. In addition, IU student affairs professionals played a major role in advancing the concept of residence education and maximizing the potential of residence halls to contribute to students’ education. These influential faculty members and student affairs professionals included the late Betty Greenleaf, the founding director of the Department of Residence Life at IU and a long-time faculty member; her successor, the late Dave DeCoster; and Chancellor’s Professor Emeritus of Higher Education, George Kuh, one of the world’s leading scholars on student success.

As these scholars and many of their colleagues have noted, one of the primary reasons for the correlation between living on campus and a variety of desirable student outcomes is the sense of community that residence halls create and sustain.

North Hall: enhancing student life at IUPUI and around the State

Current and future students will find that sense of community in the marvelous new housing facility we dedicate today.

In North Hall, students will find opportunities for personal growth, social interaction, and opportunities to gain leadership experience. They will engage in formal and informal discussions with faculty and peers; participate in cultural activities; meet many other students from around the state, the country, and the world; and learn more about others’ perspectives, customs, and traditions. They will become part of a community of learners. Nearly 40 percent of its residents, in fact, are part of Residential-Based Learning Communities. A study by IU’s George Kuh and Chun-Mei Zhao, then with the Carnegie Foundation, confirmed that participation in residential learning communities “is uniformly and positively linked with student academic performance, engagement in educationally fruitful activities, gains associated with college attendance, and overall satisfaction with the college experience.”4

North Hall is helping to meet the need, identified in the Master Plan for the IUPUI campus, which was approved by the Trustees in 2011, for additional on-campus housing to attract, retain, and engage students.

North Hall, of course, complements the splendidly renovated University Tower, which opened in this very building in 2013. Formerly part of the University Place Hotel, University Tower now gives hundreds more IUPUI students the opportunity to live right in the heart of campus.

But even with the addition of University Tower, IUPUI’s housing was at capacity. At the beginning of the last academic year, more than 800 students were on a waiting list to live on campus. North Hall was also very quickly booked to capacity, selling out this summer, before it had even opened.

The renovation of University Tower and the construction of North Hall are also part of Indiana University’s commitment to providing new or renovated student housing on all of our campuses across the state, including new student housing completed at IU South Bend and IU Southeast, as well as a major initiative to upgrade all of the residence halls at IU Bloomington.

Special thanks

On behalf of the entire university, I want to commend a number of people whose dedicated efforts have helped make the project we celebrate today possible.

We remain grateful to the Indiana Commission for Higher Education and the State Budget Committee for their approval to move forward in the construction of North Hall.

I also want to commend Chancellor Nasser Paydar for his enthusiastic support for this project, as well as his predecessor, Charles Bantz, under whose administration the planning and construction of North Hall began.

I also want to commend Vice President for Capital Planning and Facilities Tom Morrison, as well as the many design and construction professionals, both internal and external, who played major roles in this project.

And, finally and more generally, I would like to thank our Trustees for their steadfast and particularly enthusiastic support, not only for the residence hall we dedicate today, but also for their support in general for the construction and renovation of well-designed, functional student housing at IU, and, more generally, for their dedicated efforts to guard and care for the welfare of our institution.


As Gregory Blimling, an IU alumnus and a nationally recognized expert in the field of college student affairs, has written: “Few students choose colleges based on the quality of residence hall programs, yet those who live on campus will spend more time in residence halls than classrooms, and their residence hall experiences will significantly influence their success in college.”5

In the coming years, the residents of North Hall will find a living space that nurtures their success.

They will find friendships, support, and community.

And on a campus that has, for nearly half a century, been committed to educational excellence—a campus that has grown and changed over nearly 50 years in response to student needs—they will find in North Hall a welcoming campus home.

Source notes

  1. American Council on Education, Committee on Student Personnel Work, Student Personnel in the Postwar College, (American Council on Education, 1945), 5.
  2. Ruth N. Lopez Turley, Geoffrey Wodtke, “College Residence and Academic Performance: Who Benefits From Living on Campus?” Urban Education, volume 45, 2010, 508.
  3. Ibid, 507.
  4. Chun-Mei Zhao, George D. Kuh, “Adding Value: Learning Communities and Student Engagement,” Research in Higher Education, Volume 45, Number 2, March 2004, 124.
  5. Gregory S. Blimling, Student Learning in College Residence Halls: What Works, What Doesn’t, and Why, (John Wiley & Sons, 2015), xv.