Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Faculty of Science

First Advisor

Edward Bennett

Advisor Role

Thesis Supervisor


Three methods were employed to obtain information related to the quality of student life at Wilfrid Laurier University (WLU) in Waterloo, Ontario: (1) a quantitative Survey, (2) a qualitative Focus Group, and (3) Follow-up interviews. The research was guided by an action-oriented approach and followed a process- consultation model in which students, managers and administrators were interviewed and consulted for their recommendations on how the quality of student life at Laurier could be enhanced. Based on the knowledge gained from the survey and interview data, a working group, The WLU Quality of Student Life (QSL) Committee, compiled and presented a formal set of recommendations to the University’s senior administration and governing bodies. The research process and results were also disseminated to the University community through periodic articles in the CORD (the Laurier student newspaper) and Laureate (the university's weekly publication). The final recommendations to the University’s senior administration were made available through the Reserve Desk in the Laurier Library. Five hundred and sixteen students completed and returned surveys measuring satisfaction, agreement, priority and involvement with respect to a variety of items focusing on the quality of student life. Analysis of variance established that parking, recycling, photocopying, safety, food on campus, study space, housing, expenses, information, social climate, course options, quality of instruction, communication, awareness of university decision-making activities, and, access to facilities, services, University committees, and evaluation procedures were perceived as important aspects of campus life. T-tests determined that female students rated child care facilities, safety, humanitarian items and gender relations with less satisfaction and higher priority than did their male counterparts. A self-selected sample of forty-three students participated in Focus Group interviews. Their comments and recommendations identified a number of areas related to overall satisfaction with the quality of student life. Content from these data was examined for themes contributing to or detracting from students’ "sense of community." Strengthening factors included Laurier’s size and friendliness, relationships with faculty members, student involvement, Frosh Week and school spirit. Weakening factors were concerns about safety, University administrative relations, segregation, problematic drinking, apathy, the University's promoted image, favoritism, and individual and group disempowerment or perception of powerlessness. Characteristics of empowerment include the presence and degree to which students feel they have a measure of power and control for influencing change within the University milieu. Those associated with a sense of community include feelings of belonging, being cared for and participating within the community. A number of recommendations obtained during subsequent Follow-up interviews with University management endorsed those made by students and were included in the final proposal. Future efforts by the Quality of Student Life Committee and a Student Life Co-ordinator will work towards implementing specific recommendations and continuing to fulfil the committee’s mandate.

Convocation Year


Convocation Season