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Abstracts, Volume 40

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Volume 40 / Issue 1

Celebration of Excellence in Teaching: What is Your Philsophy? - Editor's Page

Libby V. Morris

Political Incongruity between Students’ Ideological Identity and Stance on Specific Public Policies

J.T. Coles, B.A. Carstens, J.M.Wright, and R.L. Williams

Abstract: The study determined whether or not Caucasian students (N = 187) living in a highly conservative Southeastern state and attending the state’s major public university embraced political policies consistent with their self-identified political ideology.  The findings showed that the highest percentage of students identified with a conservative ideology and that a much lower percentage identified with a liberal ideology.  Nonetheless, students approved of more liberal policies than conservative ones.  These findings suggest that southern students are likely to be more open to examining the pros and cons of sociopolitical policies than to comparing the merits of political ideologies.

Academic Mothers: Exploring Disciplinary Perspectives

L. Wolf-Wendel and K. Ward

Abstract: In this article we explore the role of academic discipline on the careers of tenure-line faculty women with children.  Longitudinal, qualitative findings show that disciplinary contexts and ideal worker norms shape what it means to be an academic and a mother.  Even after achieving tenure, ideal worker norms affect these roles; professional advancement is not a given in the academic pipeline. Institutions of higher education must create environments that facilitate the promotion of women to the rank of full professor and into administrative positions.

Exploring Business Models for MOOCs in Higher Education

E.L. Burd, S.P. Smith, S. Reisman

Abstract: Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) potentially challenge the traditional dominance of brick and mortar institutions as providers of quality higher education.  The benefits for students include reduced education costs and global access to exclusive institution courses and instructors.  However, the benefits for institutions are less clear as there is a financial overhead required to develop and deliver content that is suitable for mass student consumption.  In this article we examine the opportunities that MOOCs provide and identify several different business model challenges for offering MOOCs.

Degree Completers at Baccalaureate Arts and Sciences Institutions and the Contemporary U.S. Macroeconomy

R. Wilson and B. Yontz

Abstract: Recent economic downturns have led some liberal arts institutions to consider changes in their program offerings.  With this article we seek to enhance the understanding of the correlation between liberal arts and pre-professional programs with the economy in order to help inform higher education faculty and administration when exploring changes to their institutions’ identity.  Our research suggests that the percentage of liberal arts degree completers is sensitive to macroeconomic conditions.  While driving forces behind these results were not investigated in this study, we consider two possible causes for our findings.  Specifically, we suggest a student driven and faculty/institution driven reason for our findings.

The Effect of Randomized Homework Contingencies on College Students’ Daily Homework and Unit Exam Performance

C.E. Galyon, K.L.Voils, C.A.Blondin, and R.L. Williams

Abstract: Students in an introductory educational psychology course submitted answers to daily homework questions for which they received credit either for percentage of questions answered in every homework assignment or for the accuracy of their answers to 10% of randomly selected questions.  Potential credit was the same under both homework contingencies, with instructor time limited for assessing the homework.  Random homework credit based on the accuracy of answers produced significantly more accurate and detailed answers, as well as better exam performance, than did credit based on the number questions answered.  The principal contribution of this study was to demonstrate how assessing the quality of daily homework could be both beneficial and manageable in college courses.

Distributive Justice and Higher Education resource Allocation: Perceptions of Fairness

H.B. Hnat, D. Mahony, S. Fitzgerald, and F.Crawford

Abstract: Although the organizational justice theoretical framework has been used frequently across a wide variety of settings, its use in examining higher education institutions has been limited. The purpose of the study reported here was to begin the process of applying this framework to higher education by identifying the distributive justice sub-principles of equity in this setting. For the study we interviewed nine academic deans across diverse disciplines and identified five sub-principles. These sub-principles of equity were (a) quantity and quality of research publications, (b) external research funding, (c) quality of teaching, (d) impact on students, and (e) quality service. There were differences in the relative importance of these five possible contributions to the institution, as well as how they were assessed. The five sub-principles can be used in future research to examine higher education resource distributions and their impact more fully.

Volume 40 / Issue 2

Focus First on Teaching and Learning - Editor's Page

Libby V. Morris

Innovation in Times of Regulatory Uncertainty: Responses to the Threat of “Gainful Employment”

Gilbert C. Hentschke and Shirley C. Parry

Abstract: While advocates of the proposed “Gainful Employment” regulations promise a variety of improvements for students attending for-profit colleges and universities (FPCUs), there is little research on how these institutions are responding to this heightened form of accountability.  Through interviews with senior executives of FPCUs, we used grounded theory to identify three general institutional responses – catalytic, reactionary and status quo – plus16 program-related initiatives.  This study assessed responses to increased environmental uncertainty brought about by the potential Gainful Employment regulations.

What Discourages Students from Engaging with Innovative Instructional Methods: Creating a Barrier Framework

Donna Ellis

Abstract: When faculty members choose to implement instructional methods that are learning-centred, this may represent a change for students and some resist engaging.  In this exploratory case study research, 172 students shared what discourages them from being willing to engage with these innovative methods that aim to facilitate their learning.  Questionnaire and interview responses revealed eight key themes that are used to create a comprehensive barrier framework, and comparative analyses assist in reducing the findings.  A fishbone diagram provides a possible planning tool for practitioners, and theoretical connections to the Reasoned Action Approach model are explored to further distill the findings.

Science and Mathematics Faculty Responses to a Policy-Based Initiative: Change Processes, Self-Efficacy Beliefs, and Department Culture

Chad D. Ellett, Kadir Demir, and Judith Monsaas

Abstract: The purpose of this study was to examine change processes, self-efficacy beliefs, and department culture and the roles these elements play in faculty engagement in working in K-12 schools. The development of three new web-based measures of faculty perceptions of change processes, self-efficacy beliefs, and department culture are described. The context for the research is the development of new state Board of Regents policies that encourage faculty work in K-12 schools and improvements in the scholarship of teaching and learning in the faculty tenure and promotion process. Extensive statistical analyses were completed to examine the characteristics of these new measures and relationships among the measures. We discuss the implications of the study findings for measuring and understanding change and sustainability of policy-based initiatives in higher education.

Changing Institutional Culture through Peer Mentoring of Women STEM Faculty

Nicole Thomas, Jill Bystydzieski, and Anand Desai

Abstract: Higher education institutions often use mentoring to socialize faculty members into their academic disciplines and to retain them. Mentoring can also be used to change organizational culture to meet the needs of historically marginalized faculty members.  In this article we focus on peer mentoring circles for women STEM faculty at a large, Midwestern research university.  Participants reported diverse, context-dependent mentoring needs and expressed interest in communicating issues raised in the circles to administrative leaders.  A workshop for circle participants and administrators led subsequently to college-wide teams that addressed problems identified in the circles.  We conclude that peer mentoring as a means to facilitate institutional change has great potential.

Invisible but Essential: The Role of Professional Networks in Promoting Faculty Agency in Career Advancement

Elizabeth Niehaus and KerryAnn O’Meara

Abstract: The benefits of professional networks are largely invisible to the people embedded in them (O’Reilly, 1991), yet professional networks may provide key benefits for faculty careers. The purpose of the study reported here was to explore the role of professional networks in faculty agency in career advancement, specifically focusing on the overall relationship between the social capital gained from networks and faculty agency in career advancement. Findings suggest that off-campus networks are particularly important for faculty agency but that the benefits of networks may take time to develop.

An Interdisciplinary Dialogue about Teaching and Learning Dialogically

Carol Thompson and Michal Kleine

Abstract: Two professors at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock co-taught an interdisciplinary course in speaking and writing dialogically, that is, without lecture. Given that many learning environments include large enrollments and online instruction, both of which often foster an impersonal atmosphere, it seemed that dialogic instruction might significantly counter what we believe to be a distressing trend.  We, the instructors, worked to create a positive social world in the classroom (guided by the theory of the Coordinated Management of Meaning) and to foster deep learning. We also endeavored to apply some of the principles Paulo Freire advanced in Pedagogy of the Oppressed.  Outcomes were better than expected.  Students moved deeply into the assigned readings.  Both speaking and writing improved markedly and in relationship with each other.  We share our explanation of this work concerning dialogical pedagogy in writing that is itself dialogical.

Volume 40 / Issue 3

On or Coming to your Campus Soon: Drones - Editor's page

Libby V. Morris

A Tale of Three Cities: Piloting a Measure of Effort and Comfort Levels within Town-Gown Relationships

Stephen M. Gavazzi and Michael Fox

Abstract: This article extends the argument that scholarship on marriages and families provides invaluable insights into town-gown relationships.  First, a four-square matrix constructed from the twin dimensions of efforts and comfort levels is used to describe a typology of campus and community associations.  Next the construction of the Optimal College Town Assessment (OCTA), a measure that contains items reflecting both the effort and comfort dimensions, is discussed.  We offer an analysis of data from a pilot study utilizing the OCTA with a sample of 602 individuals employed in three communities surrounding the regional campus of a major university with particular attention paid to variation as a function of distance from the campus.  We include a discussion of the implications of the findings for assessment efforts targeting town-gown relationships.

Why Some HOPE Scholarship Recipients Retain the Scholarship and Others Lose It

Eleanore C. Trant, Katelyn E. Crabtree, Dennis J. Ciancio, Leslie A. Hart, Tiffany B. Watson, and Robert L. Williams

Abstract: The study we report here examined parental, pre-course, and in-course predictors of students' probability of retaining (n = 136) or losing the HOPE scholarship (n = 41).  The study was conducted in a multi-section, entry-level course (n = 203) for the Teacher-Education Program at a large state university in the southeastern U.S.  Logistic regression that included a special computation of standardized beta weights was used in determining the predictive strength of selected variables and groups of variables.  The variables and the strongest standardized beta weights included class attendance, critical thinking ability, and high school GPA,  Of the various sub-groups of variables, pre-course and in-course variables generated the strongest prediction models.  All models did much better in predicting retention than loss of HOPE scholarships.

Developing a Student Conception of Academic Rigor

John Draeger, Pixita del Prado Hill, and Ronnie Mahler

Abstract: In this article we describe models of academic rigor from the student point of view. Drawing on campus-wide survey, focus groups, and interviews with students, we found that students explained academic rigor in terms of workload, grading standards, level of difficulty, level of interest, and perceived relevance to future goals. These findings contrast with out previous research about the faculty conception of academic rigor (Draeger et al. 2013) based on active learning, meaningful content, higher-order thinking and appropriate expectations.  Our new research offers the prospect of increasing the level of academic challenge in ways that resonate with student concerns.

Negotiating the Practitioner-Faculty Dialectic: How Counselor Educators Responded to Hurricane Katrina

L. Earle Reybold, Abigail Konopasky, Heather Trepal and Shane Haberstroh

Abstract: As Hurricane Katrina forced thousands of Gulf Coast residents to evacuate, U.S. communities established shelters for emergency intake.  Faculty members across the country, especially those trained in counseling, volunteered immediately for crisis work.  This study examined the experiences of a faculty response team from one counselor education program, focusing on academic and counselor role expectations and perceived professional implications.  We conducted interviews with all eight faculty members in one program and analyzed data using constant comparative and discourse analysis.  The dialectic of chaos/order, central to all narratives, was expressed as trying/doing, insider/outsider, visibility/invisibility, and leaving/staying.  In the discussion we explore implications for faculty members as crisis responders.

A Case Study of Liberal Arts Colleges in the 21st Century: Understanding Organizational Change and Evolution in Higher Education

Vicki L. Baker and Roger G. Baldwin

Abstract: We draw upon the evolutionary model of change in order to examine the organizational transformation of three liberal arts colleges (Albion College, Allegheny College, Kenyon College).  Relying on our prior research (Baker, Baldwin & Makker, 2012), we seek to continue our exploration and understanding of the evolution occurring in the important liberal arts college sector of higher education.  We seek to understand why and how these college change, what changes occur, and, especially, what makes liberal arts colleges susceptible to change.  The findings of this study have the potential to illuminate change in other types of higher education institutions.

Perception of Power and Faith among Black Women Faculty: Re-thinking Institutional Diversity

Kirsten T. Edwards

Abstract: In this article I report on the perceptions and attitudes of Christian Black women faculty members in regards to religious difference at both historically Black colleges and university [HBCUs] and predominantly White institutions [PWIs]. By taking a focused look at uncomplicated Christian privilege at HBCUs, the study asked what conditions are in place at HBCUs that offer these women an uncommon space of authenticity, while simultaneously supporting a privilege system that could potentially silence difference religiously-identified students.  I address implications in regards to diversity at HBCUs.

Enhancing College Students' Life Skills Through Project Based Learning

Scott Wurdinger and Mariem Qureshi

Abstract: This study examined whether life skills could be developed in a Project Based Learning (PBL) course.  The participants were students enrolled in a graduate level PBL course. The same 35-question survey was given to students at the beginning and end of the course, and students were asked to rank their life skills using a Likert scale.  Additionally, we interviewed three students in order to capture some of the student's views on the use of PBL. A paired sample t - test revealed that there was no significant difference from survey 1 to survey 2 in time management, collaborations, and work ethic; but there was a significant difference from survey 1 to survey 2 in responsibility, problem solving, self-direction, communication, and creativity.  However,  on average all life skills showed an increase.  The interviews also indicated that PBL allowed students to practice and develop life skills.

Volume 40 / Issue 4

Celebration - the 4th Stage in the Education Cycle? - Editor's Page

Libby V. Morris

What's in a Name: Exposing Gender Bias in Student Ratings of Teaching

Lillian MacNell, Adam Driscoll and Andrea N. Hunt

Abstract: Student ratings of teaching play a significant role in career outcomes for higher education instructors.  Although instructor gender has been shown to play an important role in influencing student ratings, the extent and nature of that role remains contested.  While difficult to separate gender from teaching practices in person, it is possible to disguise an instructor's gender identity online.  In our experiment, assistant instructors in an online class each operated under two different gender identities.  Students rated the male identity significantly higher than the female identity, regardless of the instructor's actual gender, demonstrating gender bias.  Given the vital role that student ratings play in academic career trajectories, this finding warrants considerable attention.

Examination of Faculty Self-efficacy Related to Online Teaching

Brian S. Horvitz, Andrea L. Beach, Mary L. Anderson, and Jiangang Xia

Abstract: Through this study we sought to gain understanding of the challenges professors face as they make the transition to teaching online.  We measured professors' online teaching self-efficacy using survey research methods.  Results showed that online teaching self-efficacy was high among the professors surveyed with no self-efficacy scores lower than 3.69 out of 5.  The perception of student learning was the independent variable with the greatest impact on self-efficacy.  Other variables that had a significant relationship with self-efficacy sub-scales were semesters taught online, future interest in teaching online, gender, satisfaction with teaching online, and academic discipline.  The results suggest directions for faculty development interventions such as training and support structures.

Faculty Perceptions of Student in Life and Physical Science Research Labs

Claire P. Gonyo and Brendan Cantwell

Abstract: This qualitative study involved interviews of 32 faculty principle investigators at three research institutions and explored how they view the role of students within physical and life science labs.  We used socialization theory and student engagement literature to analyze faculty views, which can contribute to student investment in STEM fields.  Findings relate to understanding students as workers versus learners or trainees and the tension that results from differing views of students.

Don't Forget About the Body: Exploring the Curricular Possibilities of Embodied Pedagogy

David J. Nguyen and Jay B. Larson

Abstract: Tradition pedagogy divides mind and body into a dichotomy that regards the body as little more than a subordinate instrument in service to the mind.  Embodied pedagogy joins body and mind in a physical and mental act of knowledge construction.  In this article we offer an integration of extant literature analyzing isolated applications of embodied pedagogy into a holistic curricular vision.  We employ a constructivist lens informed by the socially situated perspectives of critical pedagogy.  Our exploration reveals shared salient characteristics that bridge disparate disciplines in the implementation of embodied pedagogy.  Based on our analysis of these characteristics, we offer actionable steps to realize a curriculum integrating embodied pedagogy.

Culturally Relevant Practices that "Serve" Students at a Hispanic Serving Institution

Gina A. Garcia and Otgonjargal Okhidoi

Abstract: As institutions not founded to "serve" Latina/o students, Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs) must actively change their curricula and programs to meet the needs of their diverse population, including Latina/o, low income, and first generation students.  Using a case study approach, including interviews and focus groups, this study examined culturally relevant practices at one HSI, including the ethnic studies curriculum and student support programs.  Specifically, findings highlight how the Chicana/o Studies department and the Educational Opportunity Program have historically served underrepresented students and the ways in which such programs are embedded with the structures of the institution. This study has implications for HSIs and other institutions enrolling and serving diverse populations.

Issues in Athletic Administration: A Content Analysis of Syllabi from Intercollegiate Athletics Graduate Courses

Eddie Comeaux, Alan Brown, and Nicole P. Sieben

Abstract: This study examined courses focused on intercollegiate athletics in sport-related graduate programs (e.g., Sport Leadership, Sport Management, and Athletic/Sport Administration).  A content analysis of course syllabi was used to determine the alignment of course scope and content.  Analysis included course type (i.e., required or elective), instructor status, course hours per week, number of major readings, course objectives, course topics, course structure and activities, and student assessment.  While several course topics were consistent across syllabi, intercollegiate athletics courses were found to vary widely in the course purpose statements, course objectives, and major readings.  This study highlights new directions for future work in aligning professional preparation programs for athletic administrators.

Volume 40 / Issue 5

Trigger Warnings - Editor's Page

Libby V. Morris

Examining Ableism in Higher Education through Social Dominance Theory and Social Learning Theory

Shanna K. Kattari

Abstract: In most societies, some social identity groups hold a disproportionate amount of social, cultural, and economic power, while other groups hold little.  In contemporary U.S. society, examples of this power are evident around issues of ability/disability, with able-bodied individuals wielding social dominance and people with disabilities experiencing a lack of social, cultural, and economic power.  However, this relationship between able-bodied individuals and people with disabilities is neither static nor determinant; and through social modeling it may be altered to foster increased positive outcomes for people with disabilities, including both undergraduate and graduate students.  As educators and institutional staff members frequently engage with students with disabilities, improving ally behavior and overall accessibility will increase rapport building with students leading to more just and equitable interactions.

Towards the Inclusion of Students with Disabilities: Accessibility in Language Courses

Muriel Gallego and Carey Busch

Abstract: While there is extensive research regarding the readiness of faculty members to provide accommodations for students with disabilities in higher education, less has been reported concerning the preparation of teaching assistants in faculty-like positions.  The investigation reported here focused on college-level language instruction, and it expands current understanding by incorporating the perceptions of teaching assistants.  A survey of higher education institutions in the United States was conducted in order to gather impressions from language program directors, teaching assistants, and Disability Services Office staff about their perceptions of the collective effort to guarantee access to students with disabilities.  Results indicate a mixed-pattern; and, while accommodating language students with learning disabilities is occurring, there is still significant need for ongoing awareness-raising and training.

Being the Wizard Behind the Curtain: Teaching Experiences of Graduate Teaching Assistants with Disabilities at U.S. Universities

Michelle L. Damiani and Wendy S. Harbour

Abstract: This study investigated the teaching experiences of graduate students with disabilities, using 12 semi-structured in-person and phone interviews. We selected participants using stratified random sampling representing diverse disabilities, degree programs, and regions of the United States.  Findings suggest that students engage in complex self-accommodation influenced by their dual roles as students and employees.  Students also discussed their development as instructors and the need for mentoring and campus spaces for disability.  We utilize the metaphor of the "wizard behind the curtain" to explain how these students actively navigate graduate school.

Assessment of Peer-Led Team Learning in Calculus I: A Five-year Study

John Conrad Merkel and Abdelkrim Brania

Abstract: This five-year study of the peer-led team learning (PLTL) paradigm examined its implementation in a Calculus I course at an all-male HBCU institution.  For this study we set up a strong control group and measured the effect of PLTL in the teaching and learning of Calculus I through two points of measure; retention and success rates and learning gains.  Our analysis reveals those aspects that can make the implementation of PLTL in calculus and perhaps in mathematics in general challenging and also shows hopeful aspects that promote better learning of the subject.

Exploring Curricular Transformation to Promote Innovation and Entrepreneurship: An Institutional Case Study

Kevin R. McClure

Abstract: Colleges and universities in the United States have developed and implemented a wide array of opportunities for undergraduate students to learn about innovation and entrepreneurship.  Drawing upon an institutional case study, this article examines why one public research university initiated and supported curricular and co-curricular offerings in an effort to engage all students in innovation and entrepreneurship.  Four rationales drawn from 31 interviews are presented: perceived labor market demands, student interest, private donations, and competition with other institutions.  These rationales are analyzed and connected to conceptual perspectives on the formation and transformation of curricula in higher education.

Department Chair Advice on Teaching and Research at U.S. Research Universities

Gabel Taggart

Abstract: Using data from  a 2010 survey of academic chairs, this study reports on academic department chairs' recommended time allocations to new assistant professors.  I contend that personal values about research and teaching influence the department chair's recommendations along with organizational characteristics.  Multi-level modeling indicates that department chair's own academic time allocations, promotion history, and desire for quality teaching as well as organizational characteristics such as research facilities, average teaching load, and research ranking influence the department chairs' advice.  These results suggest that organizational characteristics do not dominate official, individual actions with the university setting a bureaucratic and neo-institutional theories might predict.


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