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APPA Library

"Cleanliness & Learning in Higher Education"
Author: Campbell, Jeffrey L.,Bigger, Alan S.,
Published In: Facilities Manager
Date: July/August 2008

In 1992 APPA published a seminal work titled "Custodial Staffing Guidelines for Educational Facilities." The work was based on a concept that was in the embryonic stage in 1986 and then grew in momentum through 1988 when the APPA Board of Directors commissioned a task force to address custodial staffing issues at institutions of higher education. The "Guidelines" became so popular that it was revised in 1998. The two editions addressed a critical need in facilities management at educational institutions. Even though institutions were growing in size and in delivery of services, custodial staffing budgets were either staying static, or in many cases, decreasing. The research for the "Guidelines" shows the impact of decreasing custodial staffing: Less staff results in dirtier spaces. Even though the "Guidelines" addressed staffing levels and the impact of staffing levels on cleanliness, "it did not address the impact of cleanliness on the students that were involved in higher education." If there was an impact of staffing levels on cleanliness, could the case be made that there was an impact of the levels of cleanliness on an individual student's ability to learn? This article describes the study conducted to determine if there was any correlation between the levels of cleanliness and student performance and offers recommendations and conclusions based upon the literature review and analysis of 20 questions.

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