Existing research reveals the benefits of living on campus for student involvement. However, a dearth of research focuses on the experience of minority student population. Concerned with minority students, institutional racism, and retention, Rendo'n (1994, 2011) argues that validation is more important than the conventional approaches in understanding minority students’ campus engagement. In the current study, Chinese international students’ sense of validation in residence hall is defined as: “ Feelings of being respected, confirmed, supported, enabled, and cared by the actions that are initiated by other residence hall members, such as Residence Assistant (RA), Hall Director (HD), Associate Hall Director (AHD), and residence hall peers”.
The purpose of this study is to explore Chinese international students’ sense of validation in residence halls, and to investigate the impact of this factor on their residence hall involvement. Stage one develops the Chinese Student Sense of Validation in Residence Hall (CSSOV-RH) Survey informed by validation theory and existing empirical studies. Stage two samples another group of Chinese students, and answers three core research questions.
Findings indicate that Chinese students’ sense of validation in residence halls can be reflected by five underlying factors including a. Sensitivity of Individual and Cultural Identity; b. Validation of Academic Self-efficacy; c. Validation of Social Comfortableness; d. Validation of Residence Hall Functionality; and e. Promotion of Diversity Awareness. Results also discover a significantly negative relationship between students’ age and their sense of validation, a higher sense of validation among Chinese students from more affluent families, an increased sense of validation if students have a better English proficiency level, and fluctuated levels of sense of validation if length of stay in residence hall is considered. Chinese students’ pre-college experience, such as taking the National Entrance Examination, and attending high school in the U.S. also have significant impacts on their residence hall involvement. Last but not least, Chinese international students’ sense of validation has a strong explanative power in students’ differentiated level of residence hall involvement.
Findings of this study add to the research on campus minority students, specifically, Chinese international students. With the findings of the current study, higher education
practitioners will be able to examine the effectiveness, cultural inclusiveness, and diversity sensitivity of their institutional administrative efforts, while striving to promote college involvement for all the students. Contextualized factors will provide rich strategic and practical implications in improving the overall quality of residential hall affairs in higher education.