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Abstracts, Volume 41

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Volume 41 / Issue 1

Management and Leadership in Colleges and Universities - Editor's Page

Libby V. Morris

Organizational Adaptation of Liberal Arts Colleges during the Great Recession of 2007

A.J. Hilbun and K. Mamiseishvili

Abstract: Faculty members in higher education institutions frequently have the responsibility of providing service activities to their institutions, professional societies, and external communities.  This responsibility, however, generally carries little reward in the workplace and does not play a major role in promotion criteria. For the study we report here we drew upon a sample of 4,400 research university faculty members to explore their satisfaction with service roles by academic rank. Findings showed that mid-career faculty members at the associate professor rank were significantly less satisfied with their service functions, including workload, equity, work balance, recognition, and institutional support when compared with both assistant and full professors.

Technical Publications as Graduate Class Projects: Advantages and Potential Disadvantages

C.A. Copenheaver, S.A. Predmore, and N.E. Fuhrman

Abstract: Graduate students are rewarded with better job opportunities if they can demonstrate a productive publishing record.  In this article we report on a writing program that generated technical publications in a discipline-based graduate class.  Seventeen student authors were interviewed about the influence of the experience on their professional development.  For many students, the most powerful experience was working as a member of a research team.  Master’s students benefited from being able to transfer research experience into their thesis programs. Doctoral students stretched the definitions of their disciplines and learned new research methods.  One cost of the research project was that less discipline-specific content was covered in the course.  Overall, students improved soft skills through participation in the project.

Student Evaluation of Teaching: A Study Exploring Student Rating Instrument Free-Form Text Comments

I. Stupans, T. McGuren, and A.M. Babey

Abstract: Student rating instruments are recognized to be valid indicators of effective instruction, providing a valuable tool to improve teaching. However, free-form text comments obtained from the open-ended question component of such surveys are only infrequently analyzed comprehensively. We employed an innovative, systematic approach to the analysis of text-based feedback relating to student perceptions of, and experiences with a recently developed university program. The automated nature of the semantic analysis tool Leximancer enabled a critical interrogation across units of study, mining the cumulative text for common themes and recurring core concepts.  The results of this analysis facilitated the identification of issues that were not apparent from the purely quantitative data, thus providing a deeper understanding of the curriculum and teaching effectiveness that was constructive and detailed.

The Role of Leadership and Culture in Creating Meaningful Assessment: A Mixed Methods Case Study

T.C. Guetterman and N. Mitchell

Abstract: With increased demands for institutional accountability and improved student learning, involvement in assessment has become a fundamental role of higher education faculty (Rhodes 2010).  However, faculty members and administrators often question whether assessment efforts do indeed improve student learning (Hutchings 2010).  This mixed methods case study of a faculty inquiry project explored how factors linked to organizational context (Kezar 2013) are related to commitment to assessment and to use of assessment data by faculty members.  Results indicated key best practices, such as developing faculty leaders and communities of practice to exchange ideas.  The study provides insights for institutional administrators and faculty members seeking to develop a culture of assessment.

Faculty Transformation in Curriculum Transformation: The Role of Faculty Development in Campus Internationalization

E. Niehaus and L. Williams

Abstract: Curriculum transformation is often cited as one of the key strategies for internationalizing higher education in the United States, and faculty members play a central role in this process. The purpose of the study we report here was to explore the potential for professional development initiatives to foster transformation in perspectives necessary for faculty members to engage in curriculum internationalization. Findings suggest key program components that help faculty members overcome barriers to international work and transform their perspectives about course content, pedagogy, and internationalization, as well as the limitations of professional development initiatives focused on teaching.

The Role of Academic Deans as Entrepreneurial Leaders in Higher Education Institutions

S. Cleverley-Thompson

Abstract: To help address enrollment and financial challenges institutions of higher learning may benefit by having a better understanding of entrepreneurial leadership orientations, or skills, of academic deans. This study revealed several significant correlations between the self-reported entrepreneurial orientations of academic deans in upstate New York, working in independent colleges and universities, and certain demographic characteristics of their positions. Academic deans reported “team builder” and “proactive” as their two highest ranked, self-reported entrepreneurial characteristics, while “risk taking” was ranked as the lowest characteristic. The results indicated a significant correlation between certain variables applicable to academic deans’ positions, such as years of experience and job expectations, with the self-reported entrepreneurial orientations of such deans.

The Role of Self-Regulation in Doctoral Students’ Status of All But Dissertation (ABD)

M.J.M. Kelley and J.D. Salisbury-Glennon

Abstract: Doctoral student enrollment and study require significant resources such as faculty time, student time, and funding.  However, doctoral student attrition is a serious problem nationwide, especially at the dissertation level.  When doctoral students do not complete their dissertations, their potential contributions to society are substantially diminished, which may impact their own personal career goals and life plans.  While it seems plausible that self-regulated learning may be one critical factor in the completion of the doctoral dissertation, there remains a paucity of research into the effects of self-regulated learning on doctoral program completion.  In our study the results of a hierarchical regression analysis indicated that self-regulated learning predicted the time needed for the completion of the dissertation and was also correlated with intrinsic task value.

Volume 41 / Issue 2

Experiential Learning for All - Editor's Page

Libby V. Morris

Scholarly Learning as Vocation: A Study of Community and Broad Access Liberal Arts College Faculty

Aimee Terosky and Leslie Gonzales

Abstract: In this study we extended Neumann’s scholarly learning theory (2009) and Hansen’s theory on vocation (1994, 1995) to explore the scholarly learning of faculty members employed at institutional types not typically recognized for faculty work beyond teaching. Through interviews with 22 participants, we studied the content of and reasons for faculty engagement in scholarly learning.  Our analysis found that the content of participants’ scholarly learning focused on expanding and constructing disciplinary knowledge whereas their reasons connected to a sense of obligation and personal fulfillment. Such findings confirmed Neumann’s suggestion that administrators should conceptualize the academic profession as a learning enterprise.

Transmitting Success: Comprehensive Peer Mentoring for At-risk Students in Developmental Math

Erik E. Morales, Rosa Perez-Maldonado, and Sarah Ambrose-Roman

Abstract: This study presents and assesses a developmental math focused peer mentoring program at a public urban university. Over three semesters 45 mentees participated in the program. Results include substantive increases in developmental pass rates as well as increases in self-efficacy and social integration. Other noteworthy findings include the significance of the peer mentors’ ability to translate and transmit academically effective behaviors to the mentees as well as ongoing program assessment and modification on the part of the program coordinators. The article provides a detailed description of the program and possible implications.

A Developmental Approach to Program Evaluation: A New Take on a Traditional Process

Leah Hakkola and Jean A. King

Abstract: In this article we describe the Graduate Review and Improvement Process (GRIP), an innovative evaluation process that makes student input central, now beginning its fifth year of implementation at the University of Minnesota. We begin by contrasting GRIP with traditional graduate program review, and we then explain the conceptual underpinnings of action research and developmental evaluation. We next explain how the process began and evolved from 2011 to the present, including discussion of the perceived benefits that participants reported. The article concludes with four challenges to this process: resources, changing leadership, turnover, and faculty engagement.

Development and Validation of the College Campus Environmental Scale (CCES): Promoting Positive College Experiences

Marian C. Fish, Dalia R. Gafen, Walter Kaczetow, Greta Winograd, and Rachel Futtersak-Goldberg

Abstract: One of the essential factors related to student success and satisfaction with a higher education experience is the college environment in which learning takes place.  The purpose of this study was to develop a scale, the College Campus Environment Scale (CCES), to measure characteristics of college campus environments valued by students.  A six factor model emerged with the following factors:  academic and career expectations, role models and mentors, athletics, health, safety, and social and extracurricular activities.  The CCES demonstrates good reliability and validity and can be utilized by researchers and college personnel to promote positive college experiences for students.

A Community of Practice Model for Introducing Mobile Tablets to University Faculty

Michelle Drouin, Lesa Rae Vartanian, Samantha Birk

Abstract: We examined the effectiveness of a community of practice (CoP) model for introducing tablets to 139 faculty members at a higher education institution.  Using a CoP within a systems model, we used large- and small-group mentorship to foster collaboration among faculty members. Most faculty members agreed that the project was well organized and activities were useful. In terms of measurable outcomes, many participants had developed plans for or completed scholarly activities related to tablets. Our findings support the use of CoP models to integrate technology within higher education. Additionally, they support such integrations as proof of concept for large, whole-campus technology integrations.

Volume 41 / Issue 3

Mining Data for Student Success - Editor's Page

Libby V. Morris

Can Anyone Have It All? Gendered Views on Parenting and Academic Careers

Margaret W. Sallee, Kelly Ward, and Lisa Wolf-Wendell

Abstract: This article is based on data from two qualitative studies that examined the experiences of 93 tenure-line faculty members who are also mothers and fathers. Using gender schemas and ideal worker norms as a guide, we examined the pressures that professors experience amid unrealistic expectations in their work and home lives. Women participants reported performing a disproportionate amount of care in the home while simultaneously feeling unable to take advantage of family-friendly policies. In contrast, men acknowledged that, although their partners performed more care in the home, the fathers felt penalized for wanting to be involved parents.

Curriculum Alignment with a Mission of Social Change in Higher Education

Iris M. Yob, Steven Danver, Sheryl Kristensen, William Schulz, Kathy Simmons, Henry Brashen, Rebecca Sidler, Linda Kiltz, Linda Gatlin, Suzanne Wesson, and Diane Penland

Abstract: Institutions of higher education frequently acknowledge their role in contributing to the common good through their mission statements. The current literature suggests that in order to be effective mission statements must be clearly articulated and reflected in all the activities of the institution including its curriculum. Faculty members at Walden University developed a Curriculum Guide for Social Change that could serve as a tool for reviewing current course offerings and developing new courses to reflect its mission of “creating positive social change.”  Those involved in piloting the Guide report on the process in this article.  The general consensus is that it was time-consuming and frequently subjective; but the Guide gave substance to the institution’s mission, opening the way for its fuller implementation.

When Development Education is Optional: What Will Students Do? Student Course Enrollment Decisions in an Environment of Increased Choice

Toby J. Park

Abstract: Historically college students needing additional academic preparation have been assigned to developmental/remedial courses.  In 2013 Florida took a drastic departure from this model by passing Senate Bill 1720, which prohibited institutions from requiring placement tests and made developmental education optional for many students, regardless of prior academic preparation.  For this pilot study we conducted a survey at two colleges in the Florida College System to begin to understand the kinds of courses students will take now that developmental education is optional and the factors that students considered when making their course enrollment decisions.

Mentored Discussions of Teaching: Introductory Teaching Development Program for Future STEM Faculty

Rachel Baiduc, Robert A. Linsenmeier, and Nancy A. Ruggieri

Abstract: Today’s science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) graduate students and postdoctoral fellows are tomorrow’s new faculty members; but these junior academicians often receive limited pedagogical training. We describe four iterations of an entry-level program with a low time commitment, Mentored Discussions of Teaching (MDT). The program is designed to introduce participants to pedagogical issues and literature in STEM disciplines and foster related discussions. It consists of group meetings, classroom observations, and discussions with faculty members. Program components were generally highly rated and valuable, even for those with prior teaching experience. We have found that this program is also an effective way to engage faculty members in the teaching aspects of students’ professional development.

Student Preference Rates for Predominately Online, Compressed, or Traditionally Taught Courses

Kevin S. Krug, Kole W. Dickson, Julie A. Lessiter, John S. Vassar

Abstract: Universities and colleges in the United States are actively searching for new ways to increase student enrollment as one means to offset recent government budget cuts in educational funding.  One proposal at a particular institution involves transitioning a commuter university from a traditional semester length calendar to one that offers predominately online and compressed courses.  University students responded to a survey, based on a number of variables, regarding their impressions of taking considerably more online and compressed courses in lieu of traditionally taught courses.  While the students wanted to keep the traditional semester calendar, findings showed that some of the benefits of online and compressed teaching schedules were appealing.

 Volume 41 / Issue 4

The Imperative for Faculty: Understanding Student Success Technologies and Other Analytics – Editor’s Page 

Libby V. Morris

Beyond Teaching and Research: Faculty Perceptions of Service Roles at Research Universities

Katevan Mamiseishvili, Michael T. Miller, and Donghiun Lee

Abstract: Faculty members in higher education institutions frequently have the responsibility of providing service activities to their institutions, professional societies, and external communities.  This responsibility, however, generally carries little reward in the workplace and does not play a major role in promotion criteria.  For the study we report here we drew upon a sample of 4,400 research university faculty members to explore their satisfaction with service roles by academic rank.  Findings showed that mid-career faulty members at the associate professor rank were significantly less satisfied with their service functions, including workload, equity, work balance, recognition, and institutional support, when compared with both assistant and full professors.

Meta-Assessment: Assessing the Learning Outcomes Assessment Program

Kevin Schoepp and Scott Benson

Abstract: Assessing the effectiveness of an assessment program is essential and can be accomplished through analysing the quality of closing the loop actions and through gathering faculty feedback. In this article we present closing the loop data from over 3 years of learning assessment reporting and from findings garnered through a faculty survey. Results indicated that moving from deciding on closing the loop actions to actually taking meaningful actions remains a challenge and that faculty members are aware of this challenge. We use these findings, along with findings and recommendations found in the existing literature, to suggest assessment program improvements and demonstrate the effectiveness of this method of meta-assessment.

Factors that Influence Faculty Adoption of Learning-Centered Approaches

Phyllis Blumberg

Abstract: This article proposes a recommended course of action for faculty development based upon Rogers’ theory of Diffusion of Innovations and data collected in a study looking at the prevalence of use of learning-centered teaching practices. Specific faculty development strategies are aligned with Rogers’ factors influencing decisions to adopt innovations. The analysis of data indicated that 14% of the faculty members interviewed used predominately learning-centered teaching approaches and 8% rejected learning-centered teaching. Between these extremes, the others used learning-centered teaching components that fit with their personal teaching style and naturally suit their discipline. These recommendations will assist faculty developers, deans, chairs, and mentors in helping faculty members adopt learning-centered teaching practices.

Faculty Engagement in Mentoring Undergraduate Students: How Institutional Environments Regulate and Promote Extra-Role Behavior

Linda DeAngelo, Jessica Mason, and Dana Winters

Abstract: Faculty-student interaction is critical for quality undergraduate education. Faculty mentorship provides concrete benefits for students, faculty members, and institutions. However, little is known about the effect of institutional context on mentorship. Using data from interviews of 98 faculty at five different California State University institutions, we examined faculty motivations and institutional supports and barriers to mentoring as it occurs outside of formalized programs. We argue that this type of mentoring is distinct from advising and teaching and constitutes extra-role behavior. Further, institutional norms and the culture of the academic profession often hinder mentorship. Implications for policy and practice are discussed.

Non-Tenure Track Faculty and Learning Communities: Bridging the Divide to Enhance Teaching Quality

MaryJo D. Banasik and Jennifer L. Dean

Abstract: Institutions of higher education are increasingly hiring non-tenure track faculty members (NTTF) to help meet the demands of the institutional teaching mission. Research suggests NTTF experience inadequate working conditions that hinder performance and negatively impact the quality of undergraduate education. Given the growing number of NTTF responsible for teaching undergraduates, it is essential for institutions to help them be effective teachers. In this article we consider the use of cohort based faculty learning communities (FLCs) to engage and socialize NTTF, thereby enhancing their working conditions, performance, and the quality of undergraduate education.  We discuss implications of using FLCs for the promotion of good practice and future research.

Paving the Pathway: Exploring Student Perceptions of Professional Development Preparation in Doctoral Education

Craig Anne Heflinger and Bernadette Doykos

Abstract: The breadth of doctoral education has expanded to include professional development activities in order to prepare students for academic and nonacademic careers. This mixed methods study focused on students’ perceptions of professional development opportunities at a Research One university. The findings suggest that most students feel prepared in scholarly-related activities; but they identify gaps in areas such as preparation for grant writing, teaching, and leading research teams. Statistically significant differences in perceived preparation were noted among disciplines. We offer suggestions for future research in doctoral professional development and recognize the need to expand and diversify centralized, institution-based resources so as to pave the pathway to successful careers for graduate students.

Volume 41 / Issue 5

Collective Action for Civil Discourse - Editor's Page

Libby V. Morris

How Do Academic Disciplines Use PowerPoint

Nathan Garrett

Abstract: How do academic disciplines use PowerPoint? This project analyzed PowerPoint files created by an academic publisher to supplement textbooks. An automated analysis of 30,263 files revealed clear differences by disciplines. Single-paradigm “hard” disciplines used less complex writing but had more words than multi-paradigm “soft” disciplines. The “hard” disciplines also used a greater number of small graphics and fewer large ones. Disciplines identified by students as being more effective users of PowerPoint used larger images and more complex sentences than disciplines identified as being less effective in this regard. This investigation suggests that PowerPoint best practices are not universal and that we need to account for disciplinary differences when creating presentation guidelines.

Departmental Dialogues: Facilitating Positive Academic Climates to Improve Equity in STEM Disciplines

Maja Husar Holmes, J. Kasi Jackson, Rachel Stoiko

Abstract: This exploratory qualitative study examined faculty responses to a collegiality-building process called Dialogues. The process used a series of discussions and activities to guide faculty members toward a common, mutually beneficially goal, while changing patterns of interaction. The responses revealed how faculty members experienced collegiality-building practices, including individual reflection, small group discussions, idea generation and prioritization, and consensus-building. The study examined faculty responses within STEM departments. We conclude with recommendations for encouraging inclusive and participatory departmental norms and behaviors in order to promote a positive departmental climate, which is crucial to achieving equity in all disciplines of the academia.

Contingencies for Success: Examining Diversity Committees in Higher Education

Raul A. Leon, Damon A. Williams

Abstract: This study focused on an examination of the work of 10 diversity committees operating in 10 research institutions across the midwestern region of the United States. We explored the work of these committees with a focus on the concept of strategic diversity leadership. To conduct this examination we examined five contingencies impacting the work of the committees: a clear definition of diversity, the scope of operation, the importance of committee membership, the role and responsibilities of the committee, and the permanence of the group. Based upon our findings we offer recommendations for diversity committees to contribute to institutional efforts focused on diversity.

An Empirical Assessment of Cooperative Groups in Large, Time-compressed, Introductory Courses

Dawn Vreven and Susan McFadden

Abstract: We measured student knowledge and motivation at the beginning and end of a three-week general psychology course. Two large lecture sections (N = 215 and N = 154) were compared; one used a cooperative learning process, and one did not. Student knowledge significantly improved in both sections, but there was no additional benefit derived from using cooperative learning. Interestingly, student motivation significantly decreased in the cooperative learning section. With recognition of the study's limitations, we conclude that cooperative learning has limited efficacy in large enrollment, compressed courses.

Factors Most Likely to Contribute to Positive Course Evaluations

Victoria G. VanMaaren, Caroline M. Jaquett, Robert L. Williams

Abstract: The purpose of this study was to determine the extent to which students differentially rated ten factors likely to affect their ratings on overall course evaluations. Students (N = 148) in several sections of an undergraduate educational psychology course indicated their preferences among several designated factors. We found remarkable similarity in the ratings across a variety of subgroups (i.e., high vs. low grades, high vs. low test scores, upper vs. lower classmen, and gender). Good grade emerged as the most highly rated factor for every subgroup, whereas high course standards fell among the less-favored factors.

Mutual Mentoring for Early-Career and Underrepresented Faculty: Model, Research, and Practice

Jung H. Yun, Brian Baldi, Mary Deane Sorcinelli

Abstract: In the beginning, “Mutual Mentoring” was little more than an idea, a hopeful vision of the future in which a new model of mentoring could serve as a medium to better support early-career and underrepresented faculty. Over time, Mutual Mentoring evolved from an innovative idea to an ambitious pilot program to a fully operational, campus-wide initiative. This article describes the conceptualization, design, implementation, and evaluation of a Mutual Mentoring initiative from 2006 to 2014. Findings indicate that faculty members who participated in this initiative were more likely to regard mentoring as a career-enhancing activity as well as to develop mutually beneficial mentoring relationships than were their non-participating peers.

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