In recent years, several initiatives have attempted to integrate character education in universities. However, it is difficult at the university level to find initiatives aimed at generating communities in which their climate or culture contribute to character development, a relatively common approach at the school level in the character education movement. University residential centers may be an ideal setting for generating such communities. However, studies, guides, or programs along these lines are scarce or non-existent. A case worthy of study is that of Colegios Mayores, university residential communities in Spain with a centuries-old tradition that aim to contribute to the integral development of students. However, the literature on the educational dimension of this institution is also scarce and outdated. Contributing to outline its educational dimension, this study reports the results of a survey of directors of Colegios Mayores. The aims of this study are to: 1) explore whether the community of Colegios Mayores agrees in considering six practices as characteristic of this institution; 2) explore the level of implementation of each one of them; and 3) explore if the way in which the community members are involved in these practices responds to the social learning model of Communities of Practice proposed by Etienne Wenger. The questionnaire was answered by 19 directors, representing 15.2% of the population (N=125). Based on the results, it is reasonable to affirm that most directors of Colegios Mayores: 1) consider that the six practices proposed are characteristic of this institution; 2) already implement these practices in their centers; and 3) consider that the Communities of Practice model reflects the way in which the collegial community engages in these practices.

Please, cite this article as follows: Dabdoub, J. P., Salaverría, A. R., & Berkowitz M. W. (2023). Identificación de prácticas para promover el desarrollo del carácter en contextos residenciales universitarios: el caso de los Colegios Mayores | Identifying practices to promote character development in university residential settings: The case of Colegios Mayores. Revista Española de Pedagogía, 81 (284), 171-189. 10.22550/REP81-1-2023-09

Referencias | References

Ball, H. L. (2019). Conducting online surveys. Journal of Human Lactation, 35 (3), 413-417.

Berger, R. (2003). An ethic of excellence: Building a culture of craftsmanship with students. ERIC.

Berkowitz, M. W. (2021). PRIMED for Character: Six design principles for School Improvement. Routledge.

Bernal, A., González-Torres, M. C., & Naval, C. (2015). La educación del carácter: perspectivas internacionales [Character education: International perspectives]. Participación Educativa, 4 (6), 34-45.

Bok, D. (2020). Higher Expectations: Can colleges teach students what they need to know in the 21st century? Princeton University Press.

Brooks, E., Brant, J., & Lamb, M. (2019). How can universities cultivate leaders of character? Insights from a leadership and character development program at the University of Oxford. International Journal of Ethics Education, 4 (2), 167-182.

Carabias, A. M. (2013). Evolución histórica del Colegio Mayor. Del siglo xiv al siglo xxi [Historical evolution of the Colegio Mayor. From the 14th to the 21st century]. Revista de Educación de Extremadura, 5, 66-80.

Collegiate Way International (2022, November 11). What is Collegiate Way International? http://www.collegiatewayinternational.com/about.

Consejo de Colegios Mayores Universitarios de España (2018). XL Jornadas de Colegios Mayores Universitarios: Memoria 2018 [XL University Halls of Residence Conference: 2018 Report]. Universidad de Salamanca.

Dabdoub, J. P. (2021, March). Para devolver a la educación su sentido originario [To give education back its original meaning]. Nuestro Tiempo, 26-33. https://nuestrotiempo.unav. edu/es/grandes-temas/para-devolver-a-la-edu- cacion-su-sentido-originario

Dabdoub, J. P., Naval, C., & Bernal, A. (2020). El declive de la educación del carácter en Estados Unidos durante el siglo xx [The decline of character education in the United States in the 20th century]. Pedagogia et Vita, 78 (2), 92-109.

Dabdoub, J. P., Salaverría, A. R., Berkowitz, M. W., & Naval, C. (2022). Leveraging Colegios Mayores for character development [Paper presentation]. The 10th Annual Jubilee Center for Character and Virtues Conference. Oriel College, Oxford, Reino Unido. https://www.jubileecentre.ac.uk/2943/conferences/integrating-research-10-years-of-impact

Dabdoub, J. P., Salaverría, A. R., Berkowitz, M. W., Power, C., Naval, C., & Duranková, M. (2022). Leveraging Colegios Mayores for moral development in higher education through the Just Community approach [Research project]. Association for Moral Education & University of Navarra. https://www.amenetwork.org/sid

De Lario, D. (2019). Escuelas de imperio. La formación de una élite en los Colegios Mayores (siglos XVI-XVII) [Schools of empire. The formation of an elite in the Colegios Mayores (16th-17th centuries)]. Midac, SL.

Elbot, C. F., & Fulton, D. (2007). Building an intentional school culture: Excellence in academics and character. Corwin Press.

European University College Association. (2022, November 11). Vision and mission. https://www.euca.eu/visionandmission

Grimshaw, J. (2014). Surge (The SUrvey Reporting GuidelinE). In D. Moher, D. G. Altman, K. F. Schulz, I. Simera, & E. Wager (Eds.), Guidelines for Reporting Health Research: A User’s Manual (pp. 206-213). Wiley Online Library. 10.1002/9781118715598.ch20

Hoadley, C. (2012). What is a community of practice and how can we support it? In S. Land & Jonassen (Eds.), Theoretical foundations of learning environments (pp. 286-300). Routledge.

Kim, S. (2022). Student housing investment: 4 reasons to invest in student housing in 2022. ButterflyMX. https://butterflymx.com/blog/student-housing-investment/

Lascaris, C. (1952). Colegios Mayores [University Halls of Residence]. In Cuadernos de Monografías XXXI, Ediciones de Cultura Hispánica. Magisterio Español.

Lickona, T. (1996). Eleven principles of effective character education. Journal of Moral Education, 25 (1), 93-100.

Lickona, T. (2004). Character matters: How to help our children develop good judgment, integrity, and other essential virtues. Simon & Schuster. Lleó, A., Agholor, D., Serrano, N., & Prieto-Sandoval, V. (2018). A mentoring programme based on competency development at a Spanish university: an action research study. European Journal of Engineering Education, 43 (5), 706-724.

Lorenzo, M. del M., Ferraces, M. J., Pérez, C., & Naval, C. (2019). El profesorado universitario ante el aprendizaje-servicio: variables explicativas [University teaching staff and service-learning: explanatory variables]. Revista de Educación, 386, 37-60.

Novick, B., Kress, J. S., & Elias, M. J. (2002). Building learning communities with character: How to integrate academic, social, and emotional learning. ASCD.

Oliva, J. (2010). Análisis en el desarrollo de competencias interpersonales en los Colegios Mayores de España en el Espacio Europeo de Educación Superior [Analysis of the development of inter- personal competences in Spanish University Halls of Residence in the European Higher Education Area]. Universidad de Navarra.

Power, C. (1988). The Just Community approach to moral education. Journal of Moral Education, 17 (3), 195-208.

Power, C., & Higgins-D’Alessandro, A. (2008). The Just Community approach to moral education and the moral atmosphere of the school. In P. Nucci & D. Narvaez (Eds.), Handbook of Moral and Character Education (pp. 246-263). Routledge.

Regmi, P. R., Waithaka, E., Paudyal, A., Simkhada, P., & van Teijlingen, E. (2016). Guide to the design and application of online questionnaire surveys. Nepal Journal of Epidemiology, 6 (4), 640-644.

Residential College Society. (2022, November 11). Mission. https://residentialcollegesociety.org/mission/

Suárez, F. (1966). Teoría del Colegio Mayor [Hall of Residence theory]. Colegio Mayor Diego de Covarrubias de la Universidad de Madrid.

Torralba, J. M. (2022). Una educación liberal: elogio de los grandes libros [A liberal education: praise for great books]. Encuentro.

Wenger, E. (1999). Communities of practice: Learning, meaning and identity. Cambridge University Press.

Author Biography

Juan P. Dabdoub is Lecturer at the School of Education and Psychology of the Universidad de Navarra, where he de- fended his doctoral dissertation in 2019. He is member of the Education, Citizen- ship, and Character Research Group since 2015, Secretary of the Association of Mor- al Education since 2021, and founder and co-Director of University Communities for Charcater Development. His lines of research focus on the theory and practice of character education, educational leader- ship, and the design, implementation, and assessment of interventions that promote character development.


Aitor R. Salaverría is a doctoral stu- dent at the School of Education and Psy- chology of the Universidad de Navarra, where he obtained his M.A. in Globaliza- tion and Social Integration Law in 2011. His research focuses on studying how to promote character development in uni- versity contexts. He collaborates closely with the Education, Citizenship and Char- acter Research Group since 2019 and is and founder and co-Director of University Communities for Character Development. He has been a Director and consultant of Colegios Mayores since 2011.


Marvin Berkowitz is the first San- ford N. McDonnell Endowed Professor of Character Education and co-Director of the Center for Character & Citizenship at the University of Missouri-St. Louis since 1998. His research focuses on char- acter education, moral development, and educational leadership. He is founder and co-editor of the Journal of Character Ed- ucation and founder of the Center for Ad- diction and Behavioral Health Research in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.


Licencia Creative Commons | Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License

Esta obra está bajo una licencia internacional Creative Commons Atribución-NoComercial 4.0.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License



Palabras clave | Keywords

Character development, character education, Communities of Practice, residence halls