HIED 66654: Students and the College Environment

Catalog Description:

Study of the impact of different types of students and college environments on each other within the context of a changing society.

Syllabus Description:

This course will introduce students to the role of environments in higher education. Using environmental theories, students will consider different types of environments and characteristics of successful environments. Application of theory to practice will include using the theories to view environments, assess environments, and envision environments from the perspective of student populations. The feasibility of implications of shaping environment will be discussed.


The College Environments class was one of my favorite classes at Kent State. As a graduate of a undergraduate theatre program, this class truly allowed me the opportunity to put myself in the place of an undergraduate student and investigate how an institutional environment welcomes or does not welcome students. I believe the different aspects we explored of the college environment and their effects on students are vital to understand, because the environment helps determine student development and student behavior by making some actions, choices, or decisions more or less likely. The physical, aggregate, organizational, and constructed environment have an influence on student behavior, so they must be examined.


Students participating fully in the course will:

    • Identify, describe, and contrast the types of environments on a campus, and the characteristics of environments that foster educational success.

    • Apply environmental concepts to specific college or university settings and students

    • Understand the role of environments in a student’s life

    • Consider the challenges and responsibilities of shaping environments

    • Think about types of environments, and how they might or might not fit well with professional goals and beliefs

    • Begin or continue to develop a professional identity

    • Listen, discuss, read, challenge, imagine, contribute, present, write, and laugh

Key Assignments:

Physical Environment Audit – A group of us visited the University of Pittsburgh, an institution none of us had ever been to before, and conducted an audit of the physical campus space. We wrote a brief paper and presented our experiences to the class.

Analysis of a Ritual – Using an anthropological paradigm, I examined the constructed environment of Mount Union’s Matriculation Convocation, the symbolic meaning of the ceremony, and its impact on the institution.

A Student Sub-Population’s Place in the Environment – We focused on the physical, aggregate, organizational, and constructed environment of Kent State University and how the environment impacts the sub-population of Muslim students at Kent State. We conducted audits of Kent State’s physical and digital presence, interviewed Muslim students and faculty, and examined how welcoming the KSU environment is towards Muslim students overall.