Skip to main content
Skip to main menu Skip to spotlight region Skip to secondary region Skip to UGA region Skip to Tertiary region Skip to Quaternary region Skip to unit footer


Abstracts, Volume 37

Select an article title to access full articles at SpringerLink.

Volume 37 / Issue 1

Senior Teaching Fellows: Renewal and Professional Development - Editor's Page

Libby V. Morris

Strengthening Capstone Skills in STEM Programs

Tom A. Eppes, Ivana Milanovic, H. Fredrick Sweitzer

Abstract: In this article we describe a curricular strategy that improves the full range of skillsets critical to capstone success. Improved Capstone (ICap) was developed and implemented across the thermo-fluids topical area in the undergraduate Mechanical Engineering Technology Program at the University of Hartford.  ICap experiential courses sequentially introduce challenging and open-ended assignments that foster cognitive learning. Using a scaffolding structure, assignments are organized into three modules: (1) classical, (2) transitional, and (3) design of an experiment. ICap enables students to assume greater responsibility for their learning experiences and liberates the instructor to become a mentor. Consequently, higher level skills important in the capstone course are strengthened: critical thinking, quantitative reasoning, teamwork, communications, information literacy, and design process.

Alleviating the Policy Paradox through Improved Institutional Policy Systems: A Case Study

Steven C. Clark, Rick A. Griffin, and Cameron K. Martin

Abstract: Institutional policies and policy systems are vital to the well-being of institutions of higher education. While many institutions dedicate time and resources to the development of key policies, the establishment of a well-designed and well-functioning policy system is often neglected. We refer to the discrepancy between the importance of institutional policy systems and the lack of time and resources devoted to them as the policy paradox. This article chronicles Utah Valley University’s policy improvement initiative as a guide for institutions of higher education interested in improving institutional policy systems.

The Journey to an Inaugural Chief Diversity Officer: Preparation, Implementation and Beyond

Jeanne Arnold and Marlene Kowalski-Braun

Abstract: In this article, we discuss the necessary components for successfully creating and implementing a chief diversity officer (CDO) position within a four-year public institution. We explore information about critical stages of the process such as the creation of the position, the recruitment process, and compatibility with the institution’s mission. Our research emphasizes the need for modeling intercultural competence at all stages of the process. We underscore the significance of infusing institutional values into a position that is meaningful to all constituencies. We suggest ways of keeping the politics, structures, and culture of readers’ own institutions at the forefront of the planning and implementation process.

The Influence of Online Teaching on Faculty Productivity

Katrina A. Meyer

Abstract: Ten faculty members with experience teaching online were interviewed about their motivation for teaching online and the effect of teaching online on their teaching and research productivity. They represented nine different states and 13 different fields, and all were tenured or tenure-track at master’s or doctoral institutions. All ten mentioned personal motivations for teaching online; eight mentioned professional motivations. Based on analysis of the interviews, several professors felt their teaching productivity had increased as a result of design choices and an increase in workload.  Several had freed up time which was spent on service or research although this was modified by the stage of the faculty member’s career.

Back to the Faculty: Transition from University Department Leadership

Dennie L. Smith, Kayla B. Rollins, and Lana J. Smith

Abstract: This study examined the perceptions and concerns of current academic department chairs as they consider the transition to full responsibilities as a faculty member after the completion of a term in this leadership role.  Currently, little research has focused on the dynamics of this transition process. Findings indicated that most department chairs planned to return to faculty positions and that a primary concern was reconstructing research agendas with minimal support. The discussion proposes ways in which institutions can support the return of former chairs to a faculty position that demands and rewards achievement in teaching, research, and service. These findings have implications for influencing policies and procedures relative to securing and continuing quality leadership and faculty productivity at the departmental level.

SELECT VOLUME  Volume 37 / Issue 2

Tips on Publishing - Editor's Page

Libby V. Morris

Does Student Philanthropy Work? A Study of Long term Effects of the Learning by Giving Approach

Julie Cencula Olberding

Abstract: Student philanthropy is a teaching strategy designed to engage students actively in the curriculum, increase awareness of social needs and nonprofit organizations, and teach grant-writing and grant-making skills.  This is the first study to examine long-term effects of student philanthropy by surveying alumni years after their experience with this teaching strategy.  A majority of respondents indicated that student philanthropy had a positive effect on their awareness, learning, beliefs, and intentions.   Further, 86% of student philanthropy alumni had recently made charitable contributions, 71% reported volunteering, and 15% served.

Leadership Transitions During Fundraising Campaigns

Kimberly Nehls

Abstract: Capital campaigns are intense efforts to build the financial assets of an institution in a specified amount of time. This study provides an empirical view of how changes in leadership affected concomitant capital campaigns at ten colleges and universities. The transitions during these 10 campaigns influenced morale on campus, altered timing of the campaigns, created negative publicity, and caused lost momentum; however, all capital campaigns persisted to meet financial goals despite disruptive transitions. One area of note is the lack of fundraising training and development for provosts, many of whom assume interim or full-time leadership posts after a presidential departure.

Understanding the Formation, Functions, and Challenges of Grassroots Leadership Teams

Jaime Lester and Adrianna J. Kezar

Abstract: This study examined the nature, characteristics, and challenges of grassroots leadership teams and the role of these factors in promoting cognitive complexity in order to provide insight into collective forms of bottom-up change. The study is framed by the literature on leadership teams.  Using interviews from a case study conducted at five higher education campuses, we explored two types of leadership teams (sense-making and problem-solving) across different initiatives. The results from this study extend the literature on bottom-up change, leadership, and grassroots teams.

Mission and Diversity Statements: What They Do and Do Not Say

Jeffrey L. Wilson, Katrina A. Meyer, and Larry McNeal

Abstract: For this study we used institutional web sites to examine the mission statements of 80 higher education institutions for messages about diversity.  Of the 80 institutions, 59 (75%) referenced diversity in their mission statements; but only 19% defined diversity in racial or ethnic terms.  In addition to mission statements, 52 (or 65%) of the 80 institutions had a separate diversity statement; but only 18 of these were an official institutional statement.  These treatments of diversity are interesting in light of the changing demographics of the incoming college student population and the recognized need for greater cultural development or awareness on campuses. If mission and diversity statements reflect the priorities.

How to Create Thriller PowerPoints in the Classroom

Ronald A. Berk

Abstract: PowerPoint presentations in academia have a reputation for being less than engaging in this era of learner-centered teaching. The Net Generation also presents a formidable challenge to using PowerPoint. Although the research on the basic elements is rather sparse, the multimedia elements of movement, music, and videos have a stronger evidence base and have the potential to increase learning. That research will be briefly reviewed. Since the use of multimedia as instructional tools has been largely ignored by the major sources on PowerPoint, this article presents 30 specific practical applications enabling faculty members to improve the effectiveness of their PowerPoint presentations and to grab and maintain students’ attention and foster deep learning.

Are we who we think we are: Evaluating Brand Promise at a Liberal Arts Institution

Jacci L. Rodgers and Michael W. Jackson

Abstract: For this research we developed a series of questions for students at a small, private, not-for-profit institution in order to determine whether or not the students’ perceptions match what the institution believes itself to be as expressed in its brand promise statement.  We examined whether or not the institution’s marketing and its brand help students form a perception that matches reality. Results show that incoming freshmen students, the same students at the end of the first year, and also exiting seniors perceived the institution consistently and in accordance with its brand promise. Results help to inform recruiting strategies and strategic planning.

Volume 37 / Issue 3

All Together Now: Degree Completions! - Editor's Page

Libby V. Morris

Challenges in Transdisciplinary, Integrated Projects: Reflections on the Case of Faculty Members' Failure to Collaborate

Linda Vanasupa, Kathryn E. McCormick, Carolyn J. Stefanco, Roberta J. Herter, and Margot MacDonald

Abstract: In this article we describe the challenges of transdisciplinary teamwork involving four faculty members from dissimilar epistemological traditions in the process of developing a manuscript on the lessons learned in our teaching collaboration. Our difficulty originated in implicit mental models and assumptions that caused incongruence between our intent to collaborate and the (habituated) relationship structure of the partnership. The dynamics are described through the lens of Tannenbaum and Schmidt’s leadership model and Aristotle’s causality. We suggest that successful collaboration necessitates careful attention to the process of establishing the collaboration, its structure, and the metacognitive capacities to see one's own thinking, suspend one's epistemic beliefs, and engage in productive dialog around conflict.

Getting Students Beyond Ideologies: Using Heterosexist Guided Imagery in the Classroom

Angela C. Henderson, Jennifer L. Murdock

Abstract: Research shows that introductory courses in college provide an opportunity to invoke transformative learning, enhance students’ ability to take the role of the “other,” and encourage an authentic learning experience (Mezirow, 1997). Few studies, however, have examined transformative approaches wherein students examine heterosexist ideologies. This study introduces a teaching strategy using a guided imagery script designed to challenge students’ previously-held ideas about heterosexism and homophobia. Using data from students enrolled in introductory sociology course offered at a major university in the West, this study presents qualitative data on students’ emotional and intellectual responses to the guided imagery. The authors offer this guided imagery exercise as an effective teaching tool.

Engaging Diversity in First-Year College Classrooms

Amy Lee, Rhiannon Williams, Rusudan Kilaberia

Abstract: The increasing calls for diversity research signal a need to explore strategies through which we attempt to interact with and respond to diversity intentionally in courses and curricula. This case study of a first-year inquiry course in a college of education fills a gap in the literature by documenting and analyzing instances of educators actively working with multiple dimensions of diversity in the classroom so as to support students’ development of diversity-related competencies. The guiding research question for this study was to explore what curricular and/or pedagogical activities students in a first-year experience course identified as facilitating their engagement with diversity in an intentional, purposeful manner.

The Adult Student and Course Satisfaction: What Matters Most?

George F. Howell, Jeffrey M. Buck

Abstract: Student satisfaction with a course is important because it can contribute to student retention, and it can also be used as one way to assess faculty effectiveness. This investigative work suggests that course satisfaction among non-traditional, adult students seeking business degrees is positively influenced by giving attention to four specific service-based factors. Based on feedback from 1,725 such students and 214 instructors at five institutions of higher education, a service-based model of course satisfaction is proposed. This model focuses on four manageable variables that are observed as influencing adult students’ satisfaction with a business course: relevancy of subject-matter, faculty subject-matter competency, faculty classroom management, and student workload.

The Politics of Dissertation Advising: How Early Career Women Faculty Negotiate Access and Participation

L. Earle Reybold, S. David Brazer, Lynne Schrum, Kirsten W. Corda

Abstract: Dissertation committees are complex social arenas that underscore expertise, image, and peer relationships—all of which affect professional identity and advancement. This study presents a sampling of how early career women faculty members learn about and negotiate their participation on dissertation committees. Research questions focused on participants’ concerns about the social and political aspects of participation viz à viz peer relationships and faculty rewards. We analyzed interview data using both holistic and constant comparative methods, resulting in a working model of active participation across three domains: knowledge, access, and membership. We also identified developmental trends of dissertation committee engagement across the early career.

The Challenges of Designing and Implementing a Doctoral Student Mentoring Program

Karri A. Holley, Mary Lee Caldwell

Abstract: The relationship between doctoral students and faculty members has been identified as a key component of a successful graduate school experience. In this article, we consider the challenges inherent in designing and implementing a formal doctoral student mentoring program. By bringing together students, peer mentors, and faculty mentors, the program sought to introduce a team-based platform to facilitate student success. We specifically consider how program components might be scaled up across the institution, providing both a personal and supportive relationship for participants as well as an information resource for the broader student population.

Volume 37 / Issue 4

Reflecting on Graduation - Editor's Page

Libby V. Morris

Balancing Head and Heart: The Importance of Relational Accountability in Community-University Partnerships

Tania Kajner, Fay Fletcher, Pat Makokis

Abstract: In this article we introduce a "head and heart" approach to community-engaged scholarship. Through the literatures of Aboriginal scholarship and engaged scholarship we reflect on a community-university research and program development project undertaken in response to health and education concerns of Aboriginal people in Canada. We suggest that the head and heart approach was crucial to the program's success and provides access to an ethical space where multiple world views are recognized and where the importance of relational accountability becomes evident. We then examine the implications of this approach for engaged scholarship and higher education practices.

Using Blogs and New Media in Academic Practice: Potential Roles in Research, Teaching, Learning, and Extension

Douglas Powell, Casey Jacob, Benjamin Chapman

Abstract: Compiling a referenced article for publication in a peer-reviewed journal is traditionally the most respected means of contributing to a body of knowledge. However, we argue that publication of evidence-based information via new media - especially blogging - can also be a valid form of academic scholarship. Blogs allow for rapid sharing of research methods, results, and conclusions in an open, transparent manner. With proper references, blogs and other new media can position academic research in the public sphere and provide rapid, reliable information in response to emerging issues. They can also support other traditional goals of higher education institutions, serving as tools for teaching, learning, and outreach.

Faculty as Learners: Developing Thinking Communities


Pamela Eddy, Regina Garza Mitchell


Abstract: The shifting demographics of faculty ranks, expansion of faculty work, and the expectations of accountability and revenue production place new demands on today's faculty. Collaborating with other faculty members is one option for easing workload demands and reinvigorating faculty members in the conduct of their teaching and research. In this article we discuss the importance of collaboration among faculty members in deriving new strategies for the classroom and approaches to research, and we provide suggestions for moving beyond short term collaborations and toward the creation of thinking communities that have the potential to re-energize faculty members and bring passion back to their work.

Faculty Workload: An Analytical Approach

George Dennison

Abstract: Recent discussions of practices in higher education have tended toward muck-raking and self-styled exposure of cynical self-indulgence by faculty and administrators at the expense of students and their families, as usually occurs during periods of economic duress, rather than toward analytical studies designed to foster understanding. This article looks briefly at some examples of this tendency and then offers an analytical approach to understanding faculty workloads and the ways of assessing and evaluating faculty work.

Learning the Unwritten Rules: Working Class Students in Graduate School

Deborah Warnock, Sara Appel

Abstract: While researchers have begun to examine the experiences of working class students in undergraduate education more closely, we know less about the experiences of working class students in graduate school. Through a nationwide survey of graduate students enrolled in Ph.D. programs in Sociology, we examined the extend to which working class students face greater challenges or barriers in completing their degrees compared to their middle class peers. We found working class students to be comparatively disadvantaged in academic integration and financial support. We discuss the implications of these findings for improving the graduate school experiences of working class students.

Internationalising the Student Experience: Preparing Instructors to Embed Intercultural Skills in the Curriculum

Anita S. Mak, Monica Kennedy

Abstract: The Internationalising the Student Experience Project was devised and piloted as a teaching innovation to improve the intercultural awareness of instructors and, subsequently, that of their domestic and international students. In this article we claim that instructor preparation in the use of the Alliance Building and Cultural Mapping tools of the international EXCELL (Excellence in Cultural Experiential Learning and Leadership) Program can provide a base for institutionalised support. We report and discuss this approach and the outcomes to the challenges of and opportunities for internationalising the curriculum in the broader higher education context.

The Research Encounter: An Innovative Course Inclusion that Facilitates Student Engagement

Helen Naug, Natalie Colson, Daniel Donner

Abstract: The learning and engagement activity we describe was designed to demystify the research culture of the Health Faculty for first year students, and there are implications for practice in other fields. It is founded on the idea of research-based learning, which in its pure form is a respected pedagogical approach but problematic for large cohort (>500) first year students. As an assessment item, students were placed in small groups and were matched with faculty research staff and/or a research area to investigate. The students were surveyed before and after the research encounter; and results show that, among other findings, student engagement with peers and with the faculty were distinct positive outcomes.

Volume 37 / Issue 5

Connecting Students and Academic Through the Arts - Editor's Page

Libby V. Morris

Meditation in Higher Education: Does It Enhance Cognition?

Casey Helber, Nancy A. Zook, and Matthew Immergut

Abstract: We predicted that students in a sociology course that included contemplative practices (i.e., mindfulness meditation) would show an increase in performance on higher level cognitive abilities (executive functions) over the semester compared to a control group of students. Change in executive functions performance was not significantly different between the two groups. However, when looking within the meditation group, the time spent meditating predicted the amount of executive function improvement, suggesting that the amount of time spent meditating is strongly related to the level of improvement. This finding provides preliminary support for benefits of meditation for students’ higher level cognitive abilities.

Rigor, Impact and Prestige: A Proposed Framework for Evaluating Scholarly Publications

Richard E. West and Peter J. Rich

Abstract: As publication pressure has increased in the world of higher education, more journals, books, and other publication outlets have emerged.  Thus it is critical to develop clear criteria for effectively evaluating the quality of publication outlets.  Without such criteria funding agencies and promotion committees are forced to guess at how to evaluate a scholar’s portfolio.  In this article, we explore the perils of evaluating journals based on a single quantitative measure (e.g., the Impact Factor rating of the Institute for Science Information).  We then discuss key considerations for evaluating scholarship, including three main criteria: rigor, impact, and prestige.  We then conclude with examples of how these criteria could be applied in evaluating scholarship.

In Search of a New Paradigm for Higher Education

David Schejbal

Abstract: In this essay I argue that online education, artificial intelligence, and market pressures are driving higher education to adopt the industrial model and to find a new paradigm for delivering education at low costs. In addition, there is tremendous pressure from the federal government to make universities more accountable while making higher education less expensive and more accessible. I argue that in the future faculty members will not be engaged with students in the ways in which they have historically been engaged and that the structure and operations of higher education institutions will be very different. New, potential paradigms are beginning to emerge.

Examining the Relationship between Student Learning and Persistence

Shouping Hu, Alexander C. McCormick, and Robert M. Gonyea

Abstract: Using data from the 2006 cohort of the Wabash National Study of Liberal Arts Education, we examined the relationships between three approaches to measuring student learning outcomes (direct-assessment learning gains, self-reported gains, and college grades) and student persistence from the first to second year. Results from a series of logistic regressions indicated that students’ grade-point averages had the largest explanatory power in student persistence, followed by self-reported gains. Direct-assessment learning gains had the least power in explaining persistence. The findings have implications for the national conversation on student success in college.

Does Learning-centered Teaching Promote Grade Improvement?

Alison M. Mostrom and Phyllis Blumberg

Abstract: When the grade distribution within a course shifts towards higher grades, it may be due to grade inflation or grade improvement.  If the positive shift is accompanied by an increase in achievement or learning, it should be considered grade improvement, not grade inflation.  Effective learning-centered teaching is designed to promote student learning due to increased responsibility for learning, engagement with course material, and opportunity for formative assessments prior to summative assessments of course learning outcomes, which leads to improved grades.  We suggest ways that faculty members practicing learning-centered teaching can collect and analyze data to support increased learning and grade improvement.

Preparing Ed.D. Students to Conduct Group Dissertations

Tricia Browne-Ferrigno, Jane McEldowney Jensen

Abstract: In this article we present an overview of a recently launched cohort-based Ed.D. program that prepares participants to conduct group dissertations.  The program, a hybrid model of online learning activities and monthly face-to-face class sessions, is delivered through a partnership between a university's college of education and the administrative office of a statewide system of community and technical colleges.  Discussion begins with a review of the pedagogical rationale that informed program design and instructional practices, followed by a presentation of key program elements tracing the development of the cohort through an innovative, collaborative dissertation process still in progress.

Support us

We appreciate your financial support. Your gift is important to us and helps support critical opportunities for students and faculty alike, including lectures, travel support, and any number of educational events that augment the classroom experience. 

Click Here to Learn More About Giving

Every dollar given has a direct impact upon our students and faculty.