UNIVERSITY AND CAMPUS LIFE: WHICH CONTRIBUTION TO THE STUDENTS’ PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL GROWTH? THE CASE OF COLLEGIO DI MILANO
Fondazione Collegio delle Università Milanesi (ITALY)
About this paper:
Conference name: 9th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 14-16 November, 2016
Location: Seville, Spain
Abstract:Colleges, dormitories and halls of residence are crucial organizations in the students’ experience. The literature concerning these structures is generally focused on freshmen, academic performance, and psychological diseases. Less attention is given to their contribution to students’ growth and to the development of their life and professional projects (Jessup-Anger,2012).
The paper focuses on the Collegio di Milano: an Italian hall of residence where students, enrolled in different Universities, live and are involved in educational programs. This model is different from the Anglo-Saxon model of campus and represents a case useful to develop knowledge about the students’ learning and the specific role played by Universities and halls of residence. The Collegio di Milano is managed by the Fondazione Collegio delle Università Milanesi (non-profit institution supported by 7 universities and important public and private entities of Milan, and recognized by the Ministry of Education) and hosts around 120 Italian and international students admitted through a selection process based on merit and motivation. The candidates must be enrolled in one of Milan’s Universities; there is no restriction of subjects.
Living at the Collegio di Milano and attending the University are two diverse educational experiences running in parallel, but at the same time both contributing in a specific way to students’ growth. The Collegio’s proposal is to integrate these two experiences working on the aspects that are not the main focus in the Universities’ educational mission (e.g. multidisciplinary approach) and supporting students to reflect on these experiences, as they enhance and complete each other.
Thus the Collegio operates on more levels: on one hand, providing educational services such as Cultural Activities (based on multidisciplinariety, internationalization, connection with work world to support students in developing knowledge and skills crucial to understand the complexity of reality), tutorship and career service; on the other, creating a life context (connoted by a multifaceted community of selected students and specific attentions in the students’ management) where students can learn and improve their life skills (e.g. diversity management, team work).
The paper aims to bring into focus how this residential and educational context could support the students’ personal and professional development as a supplement of the University education. A multi-method research was realized in collaboration with Università Cattolica (Milan) to explore the students’ perspective concerning their overall experience at the Collegio and if and how living there contributes to their growth. A first phase of qualitative research was conducted adopting a phenomenological approach (Richards,Morse, 2007). Starting from the analysis of results emerged (Frascaroli,Blanco,Gozzoli, 2014), of the proposal of the Collegio and of the offer of the universities, a questionnaire was created. The survey allowed an extensive data collection at the Academic Year end (since 2014). Descriptive analysis have been carried out.
Remarkable results emerged: students clearly perceive which learnings they develop in both the educational environments (e.g. willingness to learn and discover, self-knowledge) and which they improve mainly in each context (Collegio: e.g. broadening of prospects, confronting with diversity; University: e.g. technical knowledge/skills, time management).
Keywords: Campus life, personal development, professional development, skills, evaluation.