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Abstracts, Volume 38

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Volume 38 / Issue 1

Gender Matters - Editor's Page

Libby V. Morris

Recognizing and Managing Countertransference in the College Classroom: An Exploration of Expert Teachers’ Inner Experiences

Rachel Slater, Patricia McCarthy Veach, and Ziqiu Li

Abstract: Teacher countertransference refers to conscious and unconscious, negative or positive emotional reactions to certain students that arise from the teacher’s own areas of personal conflict. Our investigation of 14 expert teachers’ countertransference experiences in the college classroom, yielded several themes.  Countertransference triggers included challenging behaviors (e.g., student disengagement from learning, hostility, manipulation). Countertransference reactions included frustration, the questioning of one’s own judgment, and identification with students. Participants managed countertransference by seeking social support, maintaining their professionalism, thinking before responding, practicing self-reflection, building relationships with students, and drawing upon personal characteristics (values, empathy, conceptualization skills) and teaching experience. We suggest implications for teaching and recommendations for research.

Comparing the Rigor of Compressed Format Courses to Their Regular Semester Counterparts

Lyndell Lutes and Randall Davies

Abstract: This study compared workloads of undergraduate courses taught in 16-week and 8-week sessions. A statistically significant difference in workload was found between the two. Based on survey data from approximately 29,000 students, on average students spent about 17 minutes more per credit per week on 16-week courses than on similar 8-week courses. For selected general education courses taught in both formats, a similar result was obtained. When disaggregating results by subject and instructor, we found that the subject and the instructor of the course are more likely to be the cause of any significant difference in rigor based on workload.

Semantic Technology and the Question-Centric Curriculum

Joshua Fost

Abstract: In this article I describe software that facilitates “question-centric curricula” in which big questions, rather than academic disciplines, are the primary means of organizing educational resources. To find these questions, the software scans course catalogs and extracts all sentences ending in a question mark. To find connections between questions and courses, I present several computational techniques.  One leverages the Library of Congress system; another implements so-called semantic technology that uses huge numbers of simple internet searches to ascertain the meaning of texts.The software assembles the results and shows, in one image, how every course at an institution relates to a given question.

“It’s More Than a Class”: Leisure Education’s Influence on College Student Engagement

Kate E. Evans, Cindy L. Hartman, and Denise M. Anderson

Abstract: As universities and colleges continue to seek out ways to improve student engagement on their campuses, attention has been given to the role that on-campus leisure opportunities can play in developing this engagement. Yet, little research has analyzed the influence of leisure education on student engagement in the higher education setting. The purpose of this study was to explore how for-credit Leisure Skills classes at a mid-sized southeastern university may build engagement. The results indicate that leisure education provides a uniquely positioned environment for building students’ sense of engagement with their institution through an enhanced sense of community, enhanced sense of self, and active learning.

Examining Faculty Member Changes in an Innovative Educational Doctorate Program

Ray R. Buss, Debby Zambo, Suzanne R. Painter, and David W. Moore

Abstract: Recent criticisms of the Educational Doctorate (Ed.D.) have challenged faculty members to create or reform such programs.  In response to these concerns, faculty members at a particular institution designed and implemented a new Ed.D. program focused on leadership and innovation. We conducted this action research study in order to examine the changes faculty members experienced as they implemented the program along with the factors to which they attributed these changes. Data were gathered with an online survey; and results indicated changes had occurred in perceptions of research, teaching, and students as well as professional identities. Participants attributed these changes to collaborative teaching, a community of practice, and strong leadership. Findings will guide program leaders and faculty members in the coming years and may provide insights to leaders of similar programs and to those guiding innovative efforts.

Developing and Piloting a Baselining Tool for Education for Sustainable Development and Global Citizenship (ESDGC) in Welsh Higher Education

Alison Glover, Yvonne Jones, Jane Claricoates, Jan Morgan, Carl Peters

Abstract: Mainstreaming Education for Sustainable Development in higher education is vital if graduates are to possess the abilities, skills, and knowledge needed to tackle the sustainability issues of the future. In this article we explain the development and piloting of a baselining tool, the Education for Sustainable Development and Global Citizenship Development Framework, developed with support from the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales. We draw comparisons with the Sustainability, Tracking, Assessment and Rating System Program, developed by the North American Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education. The resulting framework offers consistency with existing Welsh Government strategic documentation, builds on increasing momentum, and has relevance across the higher education sector globally.

Volume 38 / Issue 2

What do They Need to Know? - Editor's Page

Libby V. Morris

The Treatment and Use of Best Practices for Diversity in Position Announcements for New Presidents

Jeffery L. Wilson, Katrina A. Meyer

Abstract: This study investigated how well institutions were communicating their commitment to diversity within position announcements for presidential openings and whether or not this communication reflected best practices in forwarding the diversity agenda for institutions. The sample included 70 institutions that advertised for a new campus president in The Chronicle of Higher Education. Using documents pertaining to the search, we applied content analysis to position announcements and campus websites dealing with presidential searches and diversity. Evidence indicated that within our sample only 13 (19 %) of institutions stated directly that they were looking for a diverse applicant pool and that only 28 (40 %) of the announcements mentioned diversity.

The Research Mentoring Program: Serving the Needs of Graduate and Undergraduate Researchers

Jessica Horowitz, Kelly B. Christopher

Abstract: Many institutions of higher education confront seemingly unrelated needs of graduate students, who need not only to complete their dissertations but also to learn how to become proficient mentors for undergraduates as they move on to faculty roles. The graduate students are increasingly searching out high-impact learning experiences such as involvement with undergraduate research. The program we describe in this article offers a solution to these issues by pairing undergraduates with graduate students to work on their dissertation research. Undergraduates undertake hands-on research while learning about graduate school, and the graduate students learn about the mentoring process while receiving assistance that allows them to keep their dissertations moving toward completion.

Engineering a General Education Program: Designing Mechanical Engineering General Education Courses

Paul Fagette, Shih-Jiun Chen, George R. Baran, Solomon P. Samuel, Mohammad F. Kiani

Abstract: The Department of Mechanical Engineering at our institution created two engineering courses for the General Education Program that count towards second level general science credit (traditional science courses are first level). The courses were designed for the general student population based upon the requirements of our General Education Program and engineering concepts. We explain the results and impact of the classes so as to expand the conceptualization of general education courses and to enable engineering curricula to reach a larger audience as well as to broaden student understanding of the forces shaping their world.

Creation of an Innovative Sustainability Science Undergraduate Degree Program: A 10-Step Process

Nicholas J. Smith-Sebasto, Daniela J. Shebitz

Abstract: We explain the process used at Kean University (New Jersey) to create an innovative undergraduate degree program in sustainability science. This interdisciplinary program provides students with the strong science background necessary to understand and address the opportunities associated with sustainability. We articulate seven steps taken during the first year of developing the major and three additional steps that explain its evolution. Sustainability is the primary focus of each course within the curriculum. By sharing our experiences, other institutions may be encouraged or assisted in developing a similar program.

Understanding Interdisciplinarity: Curricular and Organizational Features of Undergraduate Interdisciplinary Programs

David B. Knight, Lisa R. Lattuca, Ezekiel W. Kimball, Robert D. Reason

Abstract: Though the number of interdisciplinary undergraduate programs has increased rapidly over the past several decades, little empirical research has characterized such programs. In this article we report on our investigation of the characteristics of interdisciplinary programs and develop typologies to describe the multiple ways in which such programs are structured with respect to curricular and organizational features. Using cluster analysis, we show differences in both curricular structures and organizational features across programs, irrespective of the program’s content focus. This typology will guide future research to explore differences in student learning outcomes across the interdisciplinary program types.

Sources of Instructional Feedback, Job Satisfaction, and Basic Psychological Needs

Steven R. Wininger, Paige M. Birkholz

Abstract: This study examined college instructors’ utilization and perceived value of sources of instructional feedback (institutional student ratings, consultation with an instructional specialist, soliciting feedback from students, self-assessment, self-observation, peer/administrator observation, and peer coaching). We examined relationships between the utilization of each source of feedback with job satisfaction and psychological needs satisfaction. We solicited instructors (N = 126) via email. Results revealed self-assessment was the most utilized source of instructional feedback, and instructor-solicited feedback from students was perceived as the most useful. Job satisfaction was significantly correlated with basic psychological needs. We discuss qualitative findings, implications, and suggestions for future research.

Volume 38 / Issue 3

Athletics, Academics, and Rankings: The Power of Competition - Editor's Page

Libby V. Morris

Kiva Microloans in a Learning Community: An Assignment for Interdisciplinary Synthesis

Susan Staats, Alfonso Sintjago, Renata Fitzpatrick

Abstract: Learning communities can strengthen early undergraduates’ learning, but planning them can be daunting for instructors. Learning communities usually rely on integrative assignments that encourage interdisciplinary analysis. This article reports on our experiences using microloans as interdisciplinary assignment in a learning community that united algebra with world literature. Students used the microfinance website to make small loans of real money to entrepreneurs in low-income countries.

Institutionalizing Student Outcomes Assessment: The Need for Better Research to Inform Practice

Adrianna Kezar

Abstract: This article explores the organizational impediments and facilitators that influence the implementation of student learning outcomes assessment (SLOA). This review points to the importance of culture, leadership, and organizational policies to the implementation of SLOA. However, we need to approach research differently, both conceptually and methodologically, if we want to understand these key factors better. I argue that our understanding of implementation conditions is superficial due to systemic weaknesses in the research. The article provides a framework for defining these terms clearly, suggests theories that can be applied, and reviews key methodological changes that can improve the quality of research.

The Fourth-Year Experience: Impediments to Degree Completion

G. L. Donhardt

Abstract: Undergraduates who persevere to the fourth year of their academic careers have invested a great deal of time, effort, and financial resources in their education.  In spite of the effort, many do not succeed in graduating.  Students from an entering class of first-time, full time freshmen from a large urban university were tracked through their undergraduate careers in an ex post facto study in search of correlates to degree completion.  Stopping out, taking developmental classes, receiving an F, dropping to part time, and withdrawing from classes were all associated with failing to complete for students still enrolled in their fourth year.

Effects of Active Learning on Enhancing Student Critical Thinking in an Undergraduate General Science Course

Kyoungna Kim, Priya Sharma, Susan M. Land, Kevin P. Furlong

Abstract: To enhance students’ critical thinking in an undergraduate general science course, we designed and implemented active learning modules by incorporating group-based learning with authentic tasks, scaffolding, and individual reports. This study examined the levels of critical thinking students exhibited in individual reports and the students’ critical thinking level change over time. Findings indicated that students’ average critical thinking level fell in the category of “developing”, but students’ scores on individual reports revealed a statistically significant increase. The study suggested that the active learning strategies employed in the study were useful to promote student critical thinking.

Crossing Borders, Breaking Boundaries: Collaboration Among Higher Education Institutions

Stacy Duffield, Alan Olson, Renee Kerzman


Abstract: Partnerships and collaboration have become popular in higher education; and partnerships with community agencies, K-12 schools, and businesses are common. However, formal and sustained partnerships among institutions of higher education are not nearly as widespread. This article presents a model for collaboration in higher education focused on a partnership among teacher preparation programs at three institutions. The article provides an overview of theoretical underpinnings for collaboration, the process and practices used, and lessons learned by Valley Partnership, as well as the stages of partnership development, the governance model, and key elements related to sustaining the partnership.


Volume 38 / Issue 4

MOOCs, Emerging Technologies, and Quality - Editor's Page

Libby V. Morris

Wikis as Platforms for Authentic Assessment

Pamela L. Eddy, April Lawrence


Abstract: Calls for accountability focus attention on assessment of student learning.  Authentic assessment involves evaluating student learning as students perform real world tasks.  We present a four-stage conceptual framework for authentic assessment.  We argue first that evaluation is a process rather than a static one-time event. Second, authentic assessment involves evaluating experiential learning.  Third, multiple evaluators assess student work, including self-assessment or review by a public audience.  Finally, authentic assessments offer more learner choice.  Wikis, as user-friendly web spaces that support easy web authoring for individuals or for collaborative groups, provide a platform for both student learning and authentic assessment.


The Anatomy of Academic Rigor: The Story of One Institutional Journey

John Draeger, Pixita del Prado Hill, Lisa R. Hunter, Ronnie Mahler

Abstract: The National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) draws from student feedback to gauge the level of academic challenge at particular institutions (Kuh, 2009). Inspired by attempts to understand the implications of NSSE data on other campuses (Payne et al.,2005), a cross-disciplinary research group at our institution developed a multidimensional model of academic rigor. We argue that learning is most rigorous when students are actively learning meaningful content with higher-order thinking at the appropriate level of expectation within a given context. The model allows instructors and institutional decision-makers to aim towards increased levels of academic rigor in classrooms, departments, and across campus.

Rethinking Academic Reform and Encouraging Organizational Innovation: Implications for Stakeholder Management in College Sports

Eddie Comeaux

Abstract: There are increasing concerns about the educational experiences of Division I student-athletes in big-time college sports. Calls for reform have come from within colleges and universities and beyond. The literature of innovative management offers ideas that can help mitigate the academic and athletic divide and offer new ideas for athletic departments. Specifically, this body of literature is placed within the context of academic support centers for student-athletes to underscore the importance of new ways of thinking and to shed light on the centrality of the champion in the successful implementation of innovation. The article also introduces the Career Transition Scorecard, a practitioner-as-researcher model that fosters evidence-based practices among practitioners in athletic departments as they improve the well-being of Division I student athletes. Implications for stakeholder management in college sports are discussed.

Facilitation: A Novel Way to Improve Students’ Well-being

Hanne Kirstine Adriansen, Lene Møller Madsen

Abstract: In this article we analyze a project that used facilitation techniques, which are known from training in industry, to improve the study environment at a public research university in Denmark. In 2009, the project was initiated in one graduate program; and it has subsequently been modified and institutionalized. The project did not change the teaching format, but introduced facilitated study-groups using peer learning. It was successful in increasing students’ well-being. While peer learning and study groups are well-known in higher education, facilitation is a different and novel tool. We argue that facilitation makes study groups more inclusive, and they provide the potential for deep learning by structuring the learning situation.

Seeking Balance: The Importance of Environmental Conditions in Men and Women Faculty’s Well-being

Shannon K. McCoy, Ellen E. Newell, Susan K. Gardner

Abstract: Faculty retention is of increasing importance in the current economic climate. We examined the role of an institution’s environmental conditions (e.g., climate, collegiality, and administration) in faculty well-being (i.e., job satisfaction, intent to leave, emotional and physical health). Women reported significantly lower well-being and a more negative perception of all environmental conditions than men. Intriguingly, for both men and women, the more institutional support perceived by faculty members for work-life integration, the more positive their well-being. Policies that support work-life integration, often viewed as merely a “women’s issue,” may encourage the retention of both men and women faculty members.

Managing the Process: The Intradepartmental Networks of Early-Career Academics

Meghan J. Pifer, Vicki L. Baker

Abstract: This article relies on data from surveys and interviews to explore the networking behaviors and strategies of early-career faculty members within the contexts of their academic departments. Findings suggest that faculty members’ approaches to interactions and relationships with colleagues may be conceptualized according to a continuum of behavior, based on their political awareness of interactions and their strategic engagement in them, interactions as a means of impression management, the cultivation of relationships for symbolic inclusion in networks, and the presence of functional patterns in network. The article concludes with recommendations for future research.

Volume 38 / Issue 5

Enthusiasm and the College Compact - Editor's Page

Libby V. Morris

Setting Aside the Course Reader: The Legal, Economic, and Pedagogical Reasons

Brent J. Evans, John Willinsky

Abstract: In this article we examine the changing status of the course reader as an instructional technology in higher education. We assess the advantages of simply providing students bibliographic entries for assigned readings instead of readers, and we evaluate this alternative in regards to intellectual property and fair use issues focusing on Cambridge University Press v. Becker (2012). A study of 110 courses readers showed that 45% of the readings are freely available either through the university library or open access sources. Finally, we review a number of pedagogical benefits to having students work directly with scholarship within a dynamically hyperlinked environment.

Emeritus Colleges: Enriching Academic Communities by Extending Academic Life

Roger G. Baldwin, Michael J. Zeig

Abstract: The emeritus college, a recent higher education innovation, provides retired professors with a means to stay intellectually engaged and continue to contribute professionally in retirement.  The emeritus college can also help institutions maintain a steady flow of professional talent by making retirement more attractive for senior academics.  This article introduces the emeritus college concept; discusses its implementation at four universities; assesses its benefits for individuals, institutions, and the community; and offers guidelines for institutions wishing to implement their own emeritus college.  The emeritus college can provide a bridge from an academic career to a fulfilling retirement while also helping to enrich academic communities.

The Crisis in Credit and the Rise of Non-Credit

Meaghan L. Arena

Abstract: With institutions of higher education experiencing lower completion rates than our international counterparts and with rising student loan debt, the American higher education system is in crisis. As faculty members and administrators work to solve these growing problems in the credit-bearing side of higher education, the non-credit side is largely ignored. The benefits of non-credit programming, including employability, flexibility, and lower cost to students are so numerous and varied that many corporations have taken on the role of workforce educators themselves. To meet the needs of individuals, businesses, and state funders, institutions must increase their commitment to non-credit innovation.

Improving Academic Program Assessment: A Mixed Methods Study

Megan Rodgers, Makayla P. Grays, Keston H. Fulcher, Daniel P. Jurich

Abstract: Starting with the premise that better assessment leads to more informed decisions about student learning, we investigated the factors that lead to assessment improvement. We used “meta-assessment” (i.e., evaluating the assessment process) to identify academic programs in which the assessment process had improved over a two-year period. The use of both quantitative and qualitative methods allowed us to understand the factors leading to assessment improvement better. Through these efforts, we discovered that a program’s assessment environment and use of resources were the predominant factors leading to improvement.  One resource in particular, assessment consultation, was the most cited reason for improved assessment.

Faculty Incentives for Online Course Design, Delivery, and Professional Development

Jennifer H. Herman

Abstract: This quantitative study investigated the types and frequency of incentives for online instruction at non-profit institutions of higher education with an established teaching and learning development unit.  While up to 70% of institutions offer incentives, this support is not universal and varies by incentive type and purpose.

“Putting in your time”: Faculty Experiences in the Process of Promotion to Professor

Susan K. Gardner, Amy Blackstone

Abstract: The rank of professor or “full” professor represents the highest status possible for faculty members, and it is generally gained by attaining professional expertise and a national or international reputation. Beyond this, however, little is known about these individuals or the promotion process at this level. In this qualitative study of 10 faculty members at one research university in the United States, we sought to understand the experiences of individuals who had sought promotion to full professor. Through a socialization lens, we found that issues of time, a lack of clarity, and gender disparity were concerns for these faculty members.

A Model for Progressive Mentoring in Science and Engineering Education and Research

Kimberly A. Santora, Emanuel J. Mason, Thomas C. Sheahan

Abstract: Mentoring is useful in career development for the sciences and professions due to the cultures, skill sets, and experience-based learning in these fields. A framework for mentoring based on observations and data gathered as part of an international research and education project is presented.  Students with multiple levels of experience and background were placed with researchers resulting in an effective progressive mentoring structure.. The paper focuses on students’ and mentors’ experiences. The model is discussed in terms of the Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD) of Vygotsky.

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