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Volume 44 / Issue 1
Complexities in Ethical Decision-Making - Editor's Page
Libby V. Morris
Sex Trafficking and the Role of Institutions of Higher Education: Recommendations for Response and Preparedness
Kathleen M. Preble, Mackenzie A. Cook, and Brittani Fults
Abstract: In the perceptions of most persons, sex trafficking is a recognized global human rights abuse. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has articulated a call to action with its four “P” policy agenda: prevent, protect, prosecute, and partnership (Office of Trafficking in Persons, 2017). Institutions of higher education are positioned to bolster these initiatives through research, work force and policy development, and education. It is our purpose with this article to begin a discussion within academic institutions and the field of sex trafficking to explore what actions might assist survivors who wish to pursue higher education as well as what protections should be in place to serve students who may become victimized while attending an institution of higher education. We consider human trafficking, the role of institutions of higher education, current policies related to colleges and universities, the vulnerability of college age individuals to potential trafficking, and the unique needs of those who exit trafficking and enter higher education. We offer some recommendations that will enable institutions to engage with and address the intersection of sex trafficking and higher education.
Academic Capitalism and the Faculty Salary Gap
Jessica A. Johnson and Barrett J. Taylor
Abstract: In the academic capitalist knowledge regime, institutions compete for prestige and funding. Reward structures emphasize science and engineering (S&E) fields for their potential to generate money and status. Masculine norms and male majority in S&E fields may create conditions for gender differences in faculty compensation. We explored the relationship between institutional S&E emphasis and the faculty salary gap at 130 public research universities. Findings suggest that the salary gap for full professors varies over time -- decreasing at institutions with the greatest S&E emphasis and increasing at institutions with lower levels of S&E emphasis. Context matters when exploring gender differences in institutional rewards.
A Nationwide Study of Research Publication Impact of Faculty in U.S. Higher Education Doctoral Programs
Richard Scruggs, Paul A. McDermott, and Xin Qiao
Abstract: Research impact is very important in academia. This study explored the research impact of faculty in doctoral higher education programs through the use of Hirsch's h index as measured by Google Scholar results. Characteristics of the h index in this field are discussed, and norms are offered for professors of different ranks. We also explore relationships between gender, experience, and U.S. News and World Report ranking and the index. We find that gender has no significant relationship to faculty index in this field, but faculty experience and school rankings do have a relationship. Our findings support the use of the h index in assessing research impact in the higher education field, and they may be of interest to persons beyond this field as we consider the manner in which we assess faculty research.
Going to College without Going to Campus: A Case Study of Online Student Recruitment
Justin C. Ortagus and Melvin J. Tanner
Abstract: Despite the financial benefits generally associated with expanding student enrollment through online education, many institutions may not know how to recruit online students. This case study drew upon interviews with 27 administrators from four public research universities in order to better understand how to recruit students for exclusively online degree programs. Findings revealed that administrators identify the characteristics and needs of prospective online students, outline which non-academic services can be outsourced to alleviate cost burdens, identify ways to leverage the institutional brand as indistinguishable from the individual online program, and prioritize personalized student interactions throughout the online student recruitment process.
The Power of a Mission: Transformations of a Department Culture through Social Constructionist Principles
Gerald Driskill, April Chatham-Carpenter, and Kristen McIntyre
Abstract: This analyzed the transformation of a departmental culture through a process of implementing a new mission statement. The revised departmental mission promoted positive practices and rituals that transformed faculty relationships and student learning. These positive and ethical practices were derived from social constructionist principles, which guided collaborative organizational communication behaviors consistent with the new departmental mission. The organizational culture that developed was intentionally tied to program planning and assessment. In this article we provide innovative practical and theoretically-driven implications for developing a transformative departmental culture, with relevance for high
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Volume 44 /Issue 2
Roles and Rewards in Editorial Board Service - Editorial Notes
Libby V. Morris
Abstract: This study is part of a line of research that focuses on intentional, large-scale, and effective change in complex, dynamical, organizational systems. This research utilizes the behavior analytic perspective of organizational behavior management and connects multiple levels of analysis ranging from individual learning to cultural evolution. This study examined a national sample of public metropolitan research universities (N = 35) regarding their performance in sustained improvement in undergraduate student success with simultaneous improvement in access. The specific objective of the study was to examine university performance from a variety of perspectives, such as Excellence (variable sum) and Improvement (variable change). Data from the Integrated Postsecondary Educational Data System were analyzed over a nine year period, 2008–2016. This study built on an earlier case study of Florida International University, a public metropolitan research university. The objective of the study reported here was to select candidates for future case studies within this same line of research.
What Are We Teaching Abroad? Faculty Goals for Short-Term Study Abroad Courses
Elizabeth Niehaus & Ashley Wegener
Abstract: Based on survey data from over 400 faculty members who taught short-term study abroad courses, the purpose of this study was to identify the types of goals that faculty members have in teaching short-term study abroad courses and the relationship between faculty background characteristics (i.e., race, gender, discipline, and prior experience) and their teaching goals. By further understanding the goals that these faculty members have for their study abroad programs, we are better able to assess how these programs may or may not be meeting overall internationalization goals and then to use this information to assist faculty members and higher education administrators in finding ways to further align study abroad goals with the broader goals of international education.
The Research, Advising, and Mentoring Professional: a Unique Approach to Supporting Underrepresented Students in Biomedical Research
Lori Gildehaus, Paul Cotter ... Arleigh Reynolds
Abstract: As a pilot intervention strategy to support undergraduate students, especially rural and Alaska Native students who are pursuing biomedical science research and career trajectories, we have developed a unique, mid-level Research, Advising, and Mentoring Professional (RAMP) position. In this article we outline the reasons for creating this position, RAMP qualifications, training, duties, and differences between RAMP and other positions typically found in higher education. Additionally, we discuss the evolution of the position and why it may be of interest to other institutions as they address similar issues involving students from underrepresented groups. Preliminary survey and focus group data from students mentored directly by RAMPs indicated that the holistic advising approach of RAMPs has had a positive impact on student experiences by supporting persistence in degree programs and providing psychosocial support of both personal and professional development.
Anxieties toward Outgroup Members: Use of an (Elaborated) Imagined Contact Intervention with Undergraduate Students
Krista Malott, Edward Wahesh & Emily Crawford
Abstract: Negative emotional reactions toward those of differing social identities is both common and detrimental to the development of relationships that are essential for effective work, living, and educational spaces. In this study we assessed the impact of an (elaborated) imagined contact intervention (eICI) on undergraduate students’ anxiety levels toward those of other social groups in a course entitled “Counseling Diverse Populations.” Participants (n = 20) who completed an eICI reported reductions of anxiety in comparison to participants (n = 22) in an assessment-only condition who did not complete the intervention. At follow-up, however, decreases in anxiety were observed among all participants. Student qualitative commentary on the eICI reflected perceptions of increased awareness of personal biases and greater humanization of those from outgroups. Students also expressed a desire to increase contact with other groups so as to have opportunities to transcend group differences.
The Collective Power of We: Breaking Barriers in Community Engagement through Dialogue
Jessica L. De Santis, Sarah P. O’Connor ... David A. Nelson
Abstract: How we engage the community within our institutions, from higher education to social services, requires consistent reconceptualization. Many fields benefit from engaging the community; yet research around practical methods for engagement is limited. This study describes the process of using nominal group technique as a practical method for both community and academic members to discuss Community Based Participatory Research. Participants included faculty, staff, students, and community member stakeholders of a medical institution during a community engagement themed conference. The goal of this study was to assess the effectiveness of using the nominal group technique for community and academic members to discuss the principles of Community Based Participatory Research. Through this discussion a significant change in the research paradigm was addressed by focusing on the importance of dialogue in order to have an impact on health disparities. This study serves to illustrate a method for bringing community and academic members together around discussion of a complex topic, while simultaneously identifying general perceptions around Community Based Participatory Research.
Volume 44 / Issue 3
Everybody Needs a Mrs. Strickland! But why? - Editorial Notes
Kay Herr Gillespie
Are They Worth it?: Master’s Degrees and Labor Market Outcomes in the STEM Workforce
Hironao Okahana, Yi Hao
Abstract: Utilizing the 2013 National Survey of College Graduates (Scientists and Engineers Statistical Data System, National Science Foundation, 2015), this study examined three measures of labor market outcomes: annual earning potentials; primary work activity; and education-job match for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) bachelor’s degree holders by their master’s degree attainment. Whereas the study found earning differentials across master’s degrees, the results suggest that one’s earnings are explained by other factors, specifically gender. Results reflect a discernible and concerning pay gap between men and women with the same level of degree attainment in the STEM workforce. Also, implications for policy and practice are addressed.
The Impact of Multi-Institutional STEM Reform Networks on Member Institutions: A Case Study of CIRTL
Lucas B. Hill, Julia N. Savoy ... Bipana Bantawa
Abstract: Multi-institutional networks have become an increasingly common change mechanism in higher education, especially in undergraduate science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education reform. However, little is known about the impact of such networks on participating institutions. This study examined one network, the Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching, and Learning (CIRTL), to understand the multi-level impact of network membership on participating campuses. Framed by CIRTL’s mission to prepare future STEM faculty, results showed that the Network provided four major benefits for member institutions, which were translated and used to expand and modify local teaching professional development programs, subsequently impacting program participants and campus perceptions of graduate student professional development.
Cheating is in the Eye of the Beholder: an Evolving Understanding of Academic Misconduct
Kyle A. Burgason, Ophir Sefiha & Lisa Briggs
Abstract: Research consistently indicates that academic dishonesty is pervasive on college campuses, including in online courses. For our study we administered a survey to two groups of undergraduate criminal justice students, one group of face-to-face students of traditional college-age and the other a group of distance learners employed full-time in criminal justice professions. The survey was designed to assess prevalence, techniques, and definitions regarding online cheating. Findings indicate that a large percentage of both groups engaged in practices normatively defined as “cheating,” yet they did not consider their behaviors to be violations of academic integrity. In closing, we offer suggestions for best practice techniques for communicating expectations to students and reducing online exam cheating.
Exploring the Effectiveness of Academic Coaching for Academically At-Risk College Students
M. Kyle Capstick, Leigh M. Harrell-Williams ... Steven L. West
Abstract: The purpose of this study, which was conducted over the course of five semesters at one institution, was to determine the effectiveness of the Academic Coaching for Excellence (ACE) program for academically at-risk students. The study utilized archival data, which had been collected by the Center for Academic Retention and Enrichment Services (CARES), for 1434 undergraduate students in a cohort-based, nonequivalent groups post-tests design. Results indicated that full- and part-time students who participated in academic coaching had significant GPA increases, were more likely to earn at least a 2.00 GPA in the intervention semester, and were more likely to be retained at the university the following semester than were those students who did not participate in the program. Implications for higher education professionals are discussed.
Do Classroom Interactions Relate to Considerations of Institutional Departure Among Student Veterans and Service Members?
Frank Fernandez, Dan Merson ... Susan Rankin
Abstract: The number of student veterans in higher education has significantly increased over the last decade; however, many student veterans and service members consider dropping out of higher education and ultimately choose to do so. In this study we conducted a secondary data analysis of a campus climate study that included responses from more than 400 student veterans. We draw on prior literature on student veterans and conceptually ground our study in the literature on campus climates. We found that student veterans who have positive perceptions of their relationships with professors in the classroom environment are less likely to consider leaving their universities.
Volume 44 / Issue 4
The Conundrum of Work-Life Balance - Editorial Notes
Libby V. Morris
Examining University Responses to the DACA Rescission: a Critical Discourse Analysis
Chrystal A. George Mwangi, Sadaf Latafat & Julie Van
Abstract: This study engaged a critical discourse analysis to examine statements from higher education leaders regarding the rescission of the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The research questions addressed were as follows. (a) What discourses are present in higher education leaders’ responses to the DACA rescission and DACA students? (b) What discourses are present regarding the role of U.S. higher education in the immigration policy agenda? (c) How do these responses connect to or conflict with broader higher education discourses on diversity, equity, and inclusion? Findings across the 139 institutional responses emphasize the tone of the responses, the depiction of students impacted by the DACA rescission, the forms of institutional commitment discussed in the responses, and the connections that leaders make to institutional identity.
Testing Restorative Narratives in a College Student Resilience Project
Elizabeth C. Ray, Laura Arpan ... James Clark
Abstract: A new online program, The Student Resilience Project (https://strong.fsu.edu), explores how institutions can effectively communicate health and resilience information to students. We investigated one key element of a pilot version of this program, specifically its use of video-based “restorative narratives,” which depict college students overcoming adversity using institutional resources. We proposed a theoretical model, which is supported by data from a survey completed by undergraduate students (n = 229) who viewed the videos. Results suggest that perceptions of restorative narratives can directly predict students’ behavioral intentions, including their intention to seek resources and to share content with other students. Perceptions of restorative narratives also influenced behavioral intentions indirectly via their influence on meaningful affect and outcome expectations, including the belief that advice and resources would help them and others. Based on the model, we offer evidence-based suggestions for web-based prevention programs.
Design and Validation of a Tool to Measure Associations between the Learning Environment and Student Well-Being: The Healthy Environments and Learning Practices Survey (HELPS)
David B. Zandvliet, Alisa Stanton & Rosie Dhaliwal
Abstract: In this article we describe the Learning Environments and Well-Being Research Project, a collaborative initiative between a research institute and a health promotion unit at a leading Canadian university. The purposes of this project are, first, to conduct research about how classroom environments within higher education settings can be harnessed for the enhancement of student well-being, engaged learning, and civic engagement and, second, to build on current health and counseling initiatives that aim to foster well-being in the classroom. We then explain in detail one outcome of our collaborative research program, which was the development and validation of a robust learning environments instrument. This instrument is titled the Healthy Environments and Learning Practices Survey (HELPS), and it was validated using a sample of 988 postsecondary students across disciplines.
Online in half the Time: a Case Study with Online Compressed Courses
Peggy C. Holzweiss, Barbara Polnick & Fred C. Lunenburg
Abstract: Higher education institutions of today are offering different courses in different formats in order to attract students and increase enrollment. Courses that can be completed in a shorter time frame are growing in popularity but can come with challenges. This case study research examined the experiences of students and instructors in online compressed courses across a nine-month period in one academic program. Results indicate that, while the students performed well, they dropped good academic practices such as reading in depth and writing drafts of papers. In addition, instructors reduced the quality of their feedback and became overwhelmed with the workload. We discuss recommendations for creating online compressed courses that are of benefit to both students and instructors.
To Team or Not to Team: an Exploration of Undergraduate Students’ Perspectives of Two Teachers Simultaneously in Class
Astrid Schmulian & Stephen A. Coetzee
Abstract: In this article we report on a study that explored undergraduate accounting students’ experience of team teaching. In particular, we assessed and analysed the students’ perspectives of the relative advantages and disadvantages of teaming, as a form of team teaching, in contrast to the more widely adopted equal status model of team teaching. The results suggest that the students assessed the teaming and equal status models of team teaching positively. They were, however, statistically significantly more positive about the advantages of the teaming model with a larger majority of the students indicating a stronger preference for the teaming model, as compared to the equal status model. Our results show that the teaming model provided students with classes that, from their perspective, were more interesting, aided their understanding, and provided them with faster and more individualized support than did the equal status model. In adopting the teaming model, teachers should, however, consider sources of possible confusion and intimidation.
Volume 44 / Issue 5
Contemplating Open Educational Resources - Editorial Notes
Libby V. Morris
Helping Students Keep the Promise: Exploring how Kalamazoo Promise Scholars’ Basic Needs, Motivation, and Engagement Correlate to Performance and Persistence in a 4-Year Institution
Daniel Collier, Ceceilia Parnther... Andrea Beach
Abstract: Few studies consider how non-cognitive factors shape outcomes for students served by Promise programs, which are programs that guarantee tuition-free college attendance within a specified geographic area. This single-institution study examined differences between enrolled and stopped-out Kalamazoo Promise scholars’ (N = 142) basic needs, motivation, and engagement. Compared to enrolled Promise scholars, a higher percentage of stopped-out students reported experiencing homelessness. Stopped-out students reported higher amotivation, lower extrinsic motivation, and lower engagement than did enrolled students. The findings revealed that amotivation, faculty engagement, and being male negatively influenced GPA, while staff interaction positively influenced GPA. Stop-out was affected by GPA, amotivation, and staff interactions. Pell eligibility did not directly influence GPA or stopping out.
Extreme Apprenticeship: Instructional Change as a Gateway to Systemic Improvement
Johanna Rämö, Daniel Reinholz ... Juulia Lahdenperä
Abstract: In this article we describe a long-term departmental change effort in one mathematics department. The change began with one instructor adopting the Extreme Apprenticeship instructional model. This modest shift served as the catalyst for a series of subsequent, systemic improvements. We believe that this innovation and the resultant change demonstrate how instructional change can serve as a catalyst for broader change, rather than a change that focuses solely on instruction. We use four frames from the literature on organizational development to characterize the changes that have occurred in this department. This in-depth case study describes the department’s current culture and how it developed, and we suggest that this explanation could serve as a guide for other departments seeking change.
Exit, Voice, Loyalty: Using an Exit Phone Interview to Mitigate the Silent Departure Phenomenon
Wendy Y. Carter-Veale, Michelle Beadle Holder, Lenisa N. Joseph
Abstract: Doctoral student attrition is often referred to as a silent epidemic whereby students tacitly withdraw without ever being given an exit interview or follow-up. While most studies focus on the departing students, few studies focus on the institution’s implicit and explicit policies and practices that encourage silence. Drawing upon the “Exit, Voice, Loyalty” framework, we examined how the pathways to student voice that institutions provide for departing students contribute to the silent departure phenomenon. We recommend that campus stakeholders, policymakers, and administrators solicit critical feedback from departing students and develop instruments to assess their own departure process, rather than relying on national assessments.
A Study of Synchronous, Online Professional Development Workshops for Graduate Students and Postdocs Reveals the Value of Reflection and Community Building
Sarah Chobot Hokanson, Sharisse Grannan ... Bennett B. Goldberg
Abstract: Designers of professional development activities and programs within higher education generally believe workshop learning outcomes and learner-created materials are what graduate students and postdoctoral scholars value from participating in these activities. We created a new structure for online synchronous workshops that integrates active learning, participant reflection, and skill development. Our design was informed by the hypothesis that participants value the work that they do and the materials they create during our online workshops. In our evaluations we examined students’ self-reported behavioral and attitudinal changes and perspectives on professional development. We learned that participants considered their sense of community and opportunities for reflection to be valued elements of the workshops. We found that these workshops added to students’ self-reflective practices and skill-building processes. Participants suggested that workshops should integrate active learning and skills application with deliberate reflection and community building to increase the potential for long-term change.
Curriculum Review: Analysis through a Learning Organization Lens
Burcu Tezcan-Unal, Wayne Jones & Suzanne Littlewood
Abstract: This retrospective analysis of curriculum change in an academic unit explored the extent to which characteristics of learning organizations developed during the process. Three practitioner researchers designed the study as a practice-based, interpretive, single-case study using mixed methodology with data collected from documentary analysis, an online Learning Organization Survey, and semi-structured interviews. The findings suggest that aspects of a learning organization did indeed develop and that the framework proved useful in evaluating change processes. We present a methodology for higher education practitioners wishing to assess their departmental practices and change processes through the framework of a learning organization.
*Title was corrected and updated from original posting
Volume 44 / Issue 6
Faculty Role in Reforming Teaching and Course Evaluations - Editorial Notes
Political Ideology and Accuracy of Information
Lynnette Whitsitt & Robert L. Williams
Abstract: Understanding our nation’s government and the politics involved is essential, but political issues are sometimes considered too sensitive to discuss in educational settings. Without classroom-based discussions, how accurate are students in judging the accuracy of political statements, especially in in today’s “fake news” climate? To generate a possible answer to this question, we examined students’ accuracy in judging political claims regarding events occurring in President Trump’s first year in office, as well as the relationship between political ideology and accuracy of non-political judgements. Results showed that a higher percentage of students in a southeastern state university identified themselves as liberals than was the case in our past research with students at this particular university. The principal finding of the study we report in this article was that conservative students were less accurate in judging false political statements than were liberal and independent students. Political ideology was not related to the accuracy of academic judgments. Both critical thinking scores and political ideology predicted accuracy in judging false political statements.
Strengthening the Role of Graduate Program Directors
William R. Wiener & James C. Peterson
Abstract: One of the responses to the demands of graduate education in the United States has been the development of faculty directors of graduate programs within academic departments. The title for this position varies widely, but it is most commonly called Graduate Program Director (GPD). The GPD serves at the departmental level and is key in the administration of graduate programs in the U.S. and in a number of other countries. However, little scholarly attention has been brought to examination of these positions although there has been acknowledgement that the faculty members holding them play key roles in student recruitment, socialization, retention, and program completion. This article is the first presentation of multi-institutional survey data on faculty members serving in this role. The survey found that the role is only partially formalized. About half of the survey respondents reported that there were written job descriptions and university-wide policies related to this role. Survey respondents reported a wide range of responsibilities, but rather limited resources to assist them in this role.
GlobalEX: Creating a Collaborative Initiative for Enhancing Cross Cultural Engagement
Catherine M. Wehlburg, Sarah Ruffing Robbins, Rachel Chapman Daugherty & Ashley Taylor Hughes
Abstract: GlobalEx is a co-curricular program designed to enhance cross-cultural engagement at the undergraduate level at Texas Christian University. This student-designed and student-led project arose from recognition of a need to integrate the experiences of international students and domestic students, and it uses a three-step model (EXplore, EXchange, and EXtend) to allow students to discover more about themselves and each other. For its first-year participants, who carry out intercultural inquiry in teams during the fall semester, this experiential program culminates in a version of performative storytelling to share publically what each team has learned. For upper-level students, who are selected to continue as leaders after finishing the program, GlobalEX provides the opportunity to mentor new participants into the program and into intercultural learning opportunities. In this article we report on the innovative aspects of the program’s design and the use of integrated assessment to continually refine the GlobalEX model.
Studying Professional Development as Part of the Complex Ecosystem of STEM Higher Education
Nathan Emery, Jessica Middlemis Maher & Diane Ebert-May
Abstract: Professional development in teaching is a critical component of ongoing work to improve student learning outcomes in higher education, especially STEM education. While there are many large-scale professional development programs designed to help participants change the way STEM is taught, few have thoroughly evaluated the outcomes to determine whether faculty members have adopted new techniques and transferred what they learned to their teaching practice. Importantly, without substantive assessment of long-term professional development outcomes, we are left with little evidence of program effectiveness. In this article we examine the current state of professional development evaluation in STEM higher education, propose possible study design elements to use when investigating the impact of professional development on instructors, and describe a novel longitudinal research design for the evaluation of professional development activities.
Reimagining Student Success: Equity-Oriented Responses to Traditional Notions of Success
Ethan Chang, Rebecca A. London & Samara S. Foster
Abstract: This study examined how 20 faculty and staff members used a one-time funding initiative to (re)conceptualize and design student success interventions. We found that they selectively adopted traditional notions of student success but also elevated themes of social justice, civic engagement, and overall student well-being as valuable dimensions of student success. This more expansive conception of student success informed how project leads designed interventions, including peer-tutoring supports and programs to support a sense of belonging. We argue that participatory approaches to student success framing and programming might advance more relevant and responsive conceptions of student success and facilitate organizational processes for achieving these more expansive aims.
The Distribution of College Grades across Fields in the Contemporary University
Joseph C. Hermanowicz & David W. Woodring
Abstract: Scholars have argued that grade inflation is pervasive throughout colleges and universities and that it is presently at an all-time high. Inflation is, however, a temporal concept: it is theoretically impossible for grades to keep increasing on a fixed scale. In this article we examine a related, though empirically distinct, phenomenon: the distribution of grades across fields in a university. We question global statements about grade inflation and examine if and how the university grading structure is internally differentiated. We use the idea of consensus, the extent to which practitioners of a field agree, as a means to differentiate areas in a university. Based on undergraduate grade data from a large, public university in the U.S., we use cluster analysis to ascertain an “architecture” of grades. The results demonstrate significant variation in how grades are distributed across fields. The work identifies a need to probe further the linkages between field consensus, rigor, student learning, and grade allocation in college.