The Residences Special Interest Group will explore college and university housing practices in student transition, achievement, retention and success.

It is proposed that this session will include discussion on:

  • Early engagement, pre-arrival and orientation programs
  • Academic support programs, peer mentoring and learning spaces in student residences

Accommodation for students has evolved from traditional halls of residence into environments for living and learning (Penven, Stephens, Shushok, & Keith, 2013). As residences emerge as living and learning environments, STARS presents an opportunity to share specific transition and retention strategies amongst college and university housing professionals.

Quality student experiences require engagement inside and outside the classroom. For students relocating to study on campus, residences contribute to the welcome agenda and impact on successful student transition (Holt, 2012). Markwell (2007) argues that the world’s finest undergraduate teaching institutions are developed around a residential community and are built to facilitate strong student and faculty connections. Residential living contributes to the development of independent living and learning skills, and the successful management of their living arrangements is critical to student academic success (Perry, Hall, & Ruthig, 2005). The potential impact of accommodation on student learning is significant as there are few environments where students will spend more time than in residence (Penven, et al, 2013).


Holt, B. (2012). Identity matters: the centrality of ‘conferred identity’ as symbolic power and social capital in higher education mobility. International Journal of Inclusive Education , 16 (9), 929-940.

Markwell, D. (2007). A large and liberal education’: Higher education for the 21st century. North Melbourne Australian Scholarly Publishing & Trinity College, University of Melbourne.

Penven, J., Stephens, R., Shushok, F., & Keith, C. (2013). The past, present and future of residential colleges: looking back at S. Stewart Gordon’s “Living and learning in college”. The Journal of College and University Student Housing , 39, 114-126.

Perry, R. P., Hall, N. C., & Ruthig, J. C. (2005). Perceived (academic) control and scholastic attainment in higher education. (J. Smart, Ed.) Higher education: Handbook of theory and research , 20, 363–436.



Joanne McRaejoacuhoheadshot

Joanne is the Manager, Student Initiatives in Residence Life at Charles Sturt University. In this role she works across CSU’s five residential campus locations (Albury-Wodonga, Bathurst, Dubbo, Orange and Wagga Wagga). She is responsible for providing strategic direction and support for student activities and engaging with other CSU professional and academic staff in enhancing the student experience for on-campus residents.

Prior to this Joanne worked in secondary school education, holding a range of leadership positions in a number of schools before transitioning into the tertiary education sector. She held an academic role within the Faculty of Education at CSU before commencing work with Residence Life in 2011. Her qualifications include a Bachelor of Education (Hons) from the University of Sydney, Master of Business Administration from CSU and a Graduate Certificate in University Leadership and Management from CSU. Joanne is passionate about holistic student experiences in residential living, striving to develop inclusive, self-regulating student communities which develop future leaders.

Stuart EdeStuartEdeStars

Stuart is a Residential Life Coordinator at University Hall, UWA and is currently in his third year in the role. University Hall is home to over 750 students and offers a wealth of diversity and opportunity. As an RLC he supports resident’s welfare and safety as well as personal and academic success.

Working alongside other onsite colleagues in student residences, Stuart helps implement and deliver three key programs within the hall to help enrich the student experience. Programs aimed at Academic Achievement, Community Experience and Personal Enrichment give residents the opportunity to explore different paths whilst contributing and gaining from these key focus areas.

University Hall has developed outstanding relationships with UWA Students Services and firmly believes this network and close collaboration with the UWA will provide a residential experience which enhances student engagement with the University and its internal and external community.

Prior to moving into the tertiary education sector, Stuart was a secondary school Physical Education teacher and Head of Year who has always had a passion for pastoral care and believes this is key to students having a positive residential experience.


Supporters:AACUHO Banner

AACUHO is the premier professional organisation for all who work in Post Secondary Education Accommodation, in any capacity, in Australia, New Zealand and South East Asia. The core purpose of AACUHO is to support and facilitate quality standards of service delivery in student housing, facilitate sustainability of student housing as an industry and advocate for the economic and pedagogical benefits as a result of standards in student housing services. Our vision is to be recognised as the body that sets the standards for student housing in Asia Pacific.

Visit the AACUHO website for more information:  www.aacuho.edu.au