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Abstracts, Volume 43

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Volume 43 / Issue 1

Faculty Have a Story to Tell: Communicating the Value of Colleges and Universities - Editor's Page

Libby V. Morris

Aligning Institutional and National Contexts with International Efforts

Christopher Johnstone and Douglas Protcor

In this article we report on our study that explored internationalization in higher education institutions as it relates to two levels of “culture” -- institutional culture and national higher education culture. We examined two leading research-intensive universities, “Coastal University” (Australia) and “Prairie University” (U.S.A.), which have similar institutional cultures (as theorized by Bergquist & Pawlak, 2008) yet reside in different national higher education contexts. Through cross-case analysis, we examined internationalization strategies as they relate to institutional culture and sought to draw inferences about the influence of national higher education cultures on these strategies. We propose the need to examine these cultures when developing internationalization strategies within institutions.

 The Role of Threshold Concepts in an Interdisciplinary Curriculum: A Case Study in Neuroscience

Karri A. Holley

Threshold concepts have been widely utilized to understand learning in academic disciplines and student experiences in a disciplinary curriculum. This study considered how threshold concepts might operate within an interdisciplinary setting. Data were collected through interviews with 40 doctoral students enrolled in an interdisciplinary program as well as content analysis of interdisciplinary curricula. The findings emphasize the importance of the integrative process to interdisciplinary initiatives. Interdisciplinary threshold concepts do not result from the addition of multiple disciplines, but rather are fostered through unique facets of the interdisciplinary experience.

Evaluating Discipline-based Education Research for Promotion and Tenure

Erin L. Dolan, Samantha L. Elliott, Charles Henderson, Douglas Curran-Everett, Kristen St. John, and Phillip A. Ortiz

Discipline-based education research (DBER) is an emergent, interdisciplinary field of scholarship aimed at understanding and improving discipline-specific teaching and learning. The number of DBER faculty members in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) departments has grown rapidly in recent years. Because the interdisciplinary nature of DBER involves social science, senior STEM faculty members may find it challenging to evaluate the quality or impact of DBER scholarship. This essay aims to address this issue by providing guidance on evaluating the scholarly accomplishments of DBER faculty members in a way that is useful to departmental colleagues and administrators during the tenure and promotion evaluation process.

Evaluation of a High-Engagement Teaching Program for STEM Graduate Students: Outcomes of the Future Academic Scholars in Teaching (FAST) Fellowship Program

Luanna B. Prevost, Claudia E. Vergara, Mark Urban-Lurain and Henry Campa III

Higher education institutions prepare future faculty members for multiple roles, including teaching. However, teaching professional development programs for graduate students vary widely. We present evaluation data from a high engagement program for STEM doctoral students. We analyzed the impact on three cohorts of participants over three academic years and identified the components most influential upon their teaching professional development. Participants found the year-long teaching assessment project and the disciplinary and reflective focus instrumental for improving their knowledge of teaching and learning. We recommend these components for the design of other such high-engagement programs.

Senior Leaders and Teaching Environments: Faculty Perceptions of Administrators’ Support of Innovation

Eddie R. Cole, Amber D. Dumford, and Thomas F. Nelson Laird

We used data from the 2012 administration of the Faculty Survey of Student Engagement to measure faculty perceptions of senior leaders’ (e.g., deans, provosts, presidents) support for innovation in teaching. Specifically, this study explored what faculty characteristics predict faculty perceptions of leaders’ support for innovation in teaching and how those perceptions relate to several teaching practices (e.g., active classroom practice). The goal for this study was to gain additional insight into how faculty members approach teaching. The implications of these findings are presented along with some considerations for future research.

Volume 43 / Issue 2

Reconsidering the Future of Undergraduate Education - Editor's Page

Libby V. Morris

The 400-pound Gorilla: The Role of the Research University in City Development

Karri Holley and Michael Harris

In cities across the United States higher education institutions exist in tandem with a range of other socio-cultural and economic organizations, such as businesses, nonprofits, and government agencies. The role of colleges and universities in city development is important, and empirical examination of universities’ role in and relationship with cities provides an avenue for higher education researchers to explore interactions that are potentially key to a thriving knowledge economy. Using data collected from a case study of a large American city and a university within that city, we sought to better understand the university’s role in and relationship with its surrounding city.

Mental Models and Implementing New Faculty Roles

Elizabeth Holcombe and Adrianna Kezar

The nature of the faculty has changed dramatically over the last forty years; and today’s faculty model no longer meets the needs of students, faculty, or institutions. However, the issue of redefining faculty roles is extremely contentious. In this article we report our examination of open-ended, qualitative data from a larger survey study of stakeholders’ beliefs and opinions about new faculty models. We found that different groups, such as non-tenure-track and tenured faculty, deans, and provosts, have constructed very different mental models around the challenges to implementing new faculty roles and that they offered different solutions for moving forward.

Boyer in the Middle: Second Generation Challenges to Emerging Scholarship

Laura Cruz, Robert Crow, Jill Ellern, George Ford, Hollye Moss, and Barbara Jo White

This article reports on an examination of the distinctive second-generation challenges and opportunities faced by an early institutional adopter of the Boyer model of scholarship. Following the first cohort of faculty to be reviewed for tenure and promotion based on these criteria, we report the results of a survey designed to determine the perceptions of faculty and administrators of the degree to which emerging forms of scholarship had been integrated into the university culture including factors such as institutional identity, support structures, and faculty participation.  This case study sheds light on the process of adaptation at this single institution and provides glimpses of how cultural change might occur across higher education.

What Institutional Websites Reveal about Diversity-related Partnerships between Academic and Student Affairs

Lucy LePeau, Sarah S. Hurtado, and Ryan J. Davis

Little is understood about how campus educators within Academic Affairs and Student Affairs use institutional websites to articulate what their institutional commitments to diversity, inclusion, and social justice are and how they are enacted. Through an exploratory content analysis using LePeau’s (2015) framework on pathways to partnership (i.e., complementary, coordinated, and pervasive) to address diversity, inclusion, and social justice aims, we examined 23 institutional websites to determine what types of Academic Affairs and Student Affairs partnerships institutions employed. Findings revealed predominantly.

Undergraduate Student preferences for Constructed Versus Multiple Choice Assessment of Learning

Maya A. Mingo, Hsin-Hui Change, and Robert L. Williams

Students (N = 161) in seven sections of an undergraduate educational psychology course rated ten performance-assessment options in collegiate courses.  They rated in-class essay exams as their most preferred assessment and multiple-choice exams (in-class and out-of-class) as their least preferred.  Also, student ratings of multiple papers and a term paper did not differ significantly from the rating for in-class essay exams.  Overall, students preferred constructed forms of assessment over more objective assessment.  With minor exceptions, student ratings of assessment preferences were generally consistent across gender and academic levels.  In the main, student ratings of assessment options did not significantly correlate with exam performance in the course.

Volume 43 / Issue 3

Do You Teach Leadership? - Editor's Page

Libby V. Morris

Not Just Figureheads: Trustees as Microfoundations of Higher Education Organizations

Sondra N. Barringer and Karley A. Riffe

Despite the importance of trustees for higher education institutions, few studies address how they influence the institutions they steward. To address this gap, we used a social network approach within a comparative case study design to evaluate how trustees interacted with two private, elite universities: Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. While trustees interacted with these institutions in differing ways, results indicated that some of them significantly influenced institutional behaviors, structures, and policies. This suggests that the role of trustees should be re-conceptualized to reflect their ability to influence higher education institutions, making them a fundamental part of the microfoundations of these institutions.

University Advertising and Universality in Messaging

Stan R. Diel and Stephen Katsinas

University and college institutional advertisements, which typically are broadcast as public service announcements during the halftime of football games, were the subject of a quantitative analysis focused on commonality in messaging and employment of the semiotic theory of brand advertising. Findings indicate advertisements focus on students’ social lives at the expense of depictions related to an academic focus and that, at statistically significant levels, smaller universities are more likely than large ones to depict their research as having an impact beyond their own campus. Findings suggest that institutions recruit out-of-state students in pursuit of revenue rather than using the advertisements in service of efforts to raise funds.

Characterizing the Pedagogical Beliefs of Future Geoscience Faculty: A Mixed Methods Study

LeeAnna Young Chapman and David A McConnell

The next generation of professors will come from today’s graduate students and post-doctoral fellows, but we do not know much about their preparation to use research-validated teaching practices. This study characterizes the teaching beliefs of graduate students and post-doctoral fellows who represent future geoscience instructors, and we believe the implications go well beyond one discipline. We analyzed results from more than 600 participants who completed the Beliefs about Reformed Teaching and Learning (BARSTL) survey and a subpopulation of sixty participants who responded to the Teacher Belief Interview (TBI). We compared teaching beliefs on the basis of several factors including gender, teaching assistant experiences, and participation in professional development.

Ignis Fatuus Effect of Faculty Category: Is the Tenure versus Non-tenure Debate Meaningful to Students’ Course Experiences?

Jessica Ostrow Michel, Diane Chadi, Marisol Jimenez, and Corbin M. Campbell

The American professoriate is shifting its majority makeup from tenure-track to non-tenure track faculty members.  Less known, though, is what the implications of this shift are for students’ course experiences. We sought to examine the extent to which the teaching practices, with regard to academic rigor and cognitively responsive teaching, differ between faculty category using observational measures of teaching in the classroom.  We found that broad categorizations of the faculty may not be meaningful unless they are examined in particular contexts, such as discipline and class size.

Inside the College Reading Gap: Exploring the Mixed Messages of Remediation Support

Stefani Relles and Julia Duncheon

This case study offers a qualitative perspective on a relationship between institutional structures and student outcomes. The data describe the conditions in 10 English remediation classrooms at one urban community college district. The study uses new literacies as a theoretical framework with which to understand how these conditions supported classroom-level teaching and learning. Findings suggest that classroom conditions undermined new literacies’ assumptions that college writing is a social practice. The authors discuss the implications of these findings for research to improve writing remediation policies.

Volume 43 / Issue 4

Giving Others HOPE: Zell B. Miller - Editor's Page

Libby V. Morris

STEM Doctoral Completion of Underrepresented Minority Students: Challenges and Opportunities for Improving Participation in the Doctoral Workforce

Hironao Okahana, Carrie Klein, Jeff Allum, and Robert Sowell

This article is a result of the analysis of student-level enrollment records from twenty-one research universities in the United States, and it contributes to a more robust understanding of timely completion of STEM doctorates by underrepresented minority students. Using multivariate logit regression models, findings indicated that Hispanic/Latino and students from other underrepresented groups complete at higher rates than do their Black/African American counterparts. Findings also indicated that prior master’s degrees and institutional participation in doctoral completion programs positively correlate with STEM doctoral completion. We conclude by offering insights and recommendations for graduate schools about how to increase the STEM doctoral attainment rate of students from underrepresented groups.

Nuanced Perspectives about Online Teaching: Mid-career and Senior Faculty Reflecting on Academic Work in the Digital Context

Jessica Mansbach and Ann Austin

Students’ demand for online learning continues.  At the same time, results of multiple studies from the early 2000s through present day point to a set of common concerns that may explain faculty members’ hesitation and resistance to online teaching.  However, less is known about how faculty members experience online teaching, especially the “essential elements” of work that the literature shows relate to positive workplace outcomes.  Essential elements of work, as defined by Gappa, Austin, and Trice (2007) include flexibility and balance, academic freedom and autonomy, professional relationships, and professional growth. Findings from interviews with 19 faculty members showed that online teaching simultaneously enabled and frustrated faculty’s experiences of the “essential elements.”

Staging Professional Ethics in Higher Education: A Dramaturgical Analysis of ‘Doing the Right Thing’ in Student Affairs

L. Earle Reybold and Mark D. Halx

Scholarship about ethics in higher education often focuses on wrongdoing: cheating, incivility, and a host of other misdeeds.  We focus, instead, on ethicality as the enactment of integrity across everyday work life.  This approach is particularly true in student affairs where administrators, faculty members, staff members, and students intersect multiple social and professional arenas.  Continuing the analysis of data from a previous study, we examined what it means “to be ethical,” especially in relationship to institutional and professional standards. We use theatrical metaphor techniques to explore scripting, staging, performing, and interpreting. Discussion centers on the spectacle of ethics in student affairs.  

Codes of Conduct for Undergraduate Teaching in Four Types of Colleges and Universities

Dawn Lyken-Segosebe, John M. Braxton, Mary K. Hutchens, and Eugenia Harris

Codes of conduct for undergraduate teaching stipulate quality professional standards for teaching. Besides contributing to the safeguarding of student welfare, such codes are critical given the autonomy the professoriate has in the performance of its teaching role, the need for professional self-regulation, and research evidence linking positive teacher behaviors to student success.  This study investigated the incidence of publicly-posted codes of conduct for undergraduate teaching in four types of institutions. It is the first stage of a research program that will assess the extent of faculty adherence to codes of conduct, and arrangements for reporting and instituting sanctions for violations of such codes.

Missing the Mark: A New Form of Honorary Authorship Motivated by Desires of Inclusion

Isis H. Settles, Sheila T. Brassel, Georgina M. Montgomery, Kevin C. Elliott, Patricia A. Sorrano, and Kendra Spence Cheruvevil

As scientific teams in academia have become increasingly large, interdisciplinary, and diverse, more attention has been paid to honorary authorship (i.e., giving authorship to those not making a significant contribution). Our study examined whether honorary authorship occurs because of the desire to include all or many team members. Interviews with project principal investigators (n=6) and early-career project members (n=6) from 6 interdisciplinary environmental science research teams revealed that principal investigators frequently employed inclusion-motivated honorary authorship but that this practice had some negative impacts on early-career team members with less power and status, thereby undermining true inclusion of those from underrepresented groups. We believe our findings are of import not only for environmental scientists, but also for scholars who are interested in issues of authorship decision-making regardless of disciplinary affiliation.

Volume 43 / Issue 5

Designing the Future in Higher Education - Editor’s Page

Libby V. Morris

The Effectiveness of a Brief Mindfulness-based Intervention on College Students Who Have Aged out of Foster Care

Lori A. Gray, Sarah Font, Yvonne A. Unrau, and Ann A. Dawson

This study investigated the effects of a brief meditation intervention on perceived stress, mindfulness, and sleep quality for college freshmen who have aged out of foster care. Thirty-six youth who had aged out of foster care and enrolled at a large midwestern 4-year university (n = 16 experimental group, n = 20 control group) participated in a study in which they were assessed three times on the dependent variables. Students also participated in a focus group after the intervention ended. Four sessions of the brief mindfulness intervention resulted in significant short-term reductions in stress levels and increases in sleep quality. Finding effective personal interventions to increase chances for college success for students with histories in foster care can also offer potential insight toward the development of educational models and resources for other vulnerable college student populations.

International Faculty Perceptions of Departmental Climate and Workplace Satisfaction

Ketevan Mamiseishvili, Donghun Lee

Applying Learning Analytics to the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning

Jurg Bronnimann, Deborah West, Henk Huisjen, and David Heath

In this article we report on the findings of a project funded by the Australian Office for Learning and Teaching and entitled “Learning Analytics: Assisting Universities with Student Retention.” While this project was primarily focused on retention as a potential outcome of learning analytics, its application could be related to the broader concept of student success. Student success allows for a focus on pedagogy and the use of learning analytics for the improvement of learning and teaching with a firm scholarly evidence base. The data gathered for the project provide the background for a discussion about the potential of learning analytics to inform the practice of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning. A case study demonstrates the potential of this approach. Overall, clear pedagogical questions are important in the application of learning analytics to the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, and we suggest potential ways to explore pedagogical questions with big data methods.

University Educators’ Perceptions of Informal Learning and the Ways in which They Foster It

Kwok Wing-Lai and Lee A. Smith

Little research has been conducted in higher education settings that focuses on how tertiary educators understand informal learning or on their role in fostering students’ informal learning to facilitate formal learning. In this article we partially fill this knowledge gap by reporting findings from a case study exploring how 30 New Zealand tertiary educators from one university conceptualized informal learning and the strategies they implemented to support students’ informal learning as an enhancement to formal learning.

Virtually There: Distant Freshmen Blended in Classes through Synchronous Online Education

Phillip A. Olt

Synchronous online education occurs when the students and faculty member are in different locations geographically and interaction occurs simultaneously through the internet at scheduled times. In this study I investigated the phenomenon of using synchronous online classes blended with a face-to-face classroom to complete the freshman year of college. The essence of the experience emerged around the concept of ambiguity, specifically in regard to group membership, functionality of technology, and place. This understanding of ambiguity provides a framework upon which to design practices for engaging such distance students and best promoting their learning.

From Seeing to Doing: Examining the Impact of Non-evaluative Classroom Observation on Teaching Development

Robin Mueller and Meadow Schroeder

In response to global interest in the quality of post-secondary teaching, institutions are placing increasing emphasis on teaching development. This study evaluated the effect of a campus-wide, non-evaluative classroom observation initiative on teaching development at a post-secondary institution.  A survey found that participants in this study were likely to initiate and/or engage in self-directed learning in the area of teaching development simply by watching other instructors.  Participants also reported that they would adopt or adapt teaching techniques they had observed.  In general, the initiative was positively received and found to be a low-cost, low-investment tool.  We discuss the benefits of and potential challenges to implementing non-evaluative classroom observations.

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