Many colleges and universities across the country, including Miami University, emphasize the success of first-year students and commit significant resources to that effort. Recently institutions are realizing that students still need support with their transition, engagement and success even after the first year. At Miami University, a second year residency requirement was implemented beginning fall 2008. The impetus for this policy change was the body of student development research suggesting that students who live on campus for two years do better academically, are more engaged, and are more likely to graduate than students who do not live on campus for two years. The second year experience that has been developed at Miami University to this point is grounded in the student developmental theory work of such scholars as Schaller, Tinto, and Baxter-Magolda.
The Miami University Second Year Program is unique in that it applies to all second-year students at a large, public university. While second year programming is an emerging trend across the country, many programs are in smaller liberal arts colleges that are more likely to have a residency requirement. Larger universities are beginning to focus in this area, however many do not include a residency requirement. Miami University, with its large residential population and strong commitment to student engagement saw a residency requirement and a dedicated second year program as an excellent opportunity to impact the experience of sophomore students.
Based on student development literature, the programming goals for the Office of Second Year Programs were developed to include: 1) commitment to major; 2) career identification; 3) wellness; 4) service to the community; 5) cultural competency, and; 6) transition to the Oxford community. Transition to the Oxford community is addressed because there is a need specific at Miami University and the local community for students to be good citizens locally due to the direct impact they have on the surrounding local community. The Office of Second Year Programs works with several other offices, most notably the Office of Residence Life and the Cliff Alexander Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life and Leadership to ensure programming in the six areas above is provided to their residents and members.