2020-2021 Award Recipient
Piecing Together the Community College Puzzle: How Autistic Students Transition Into and Through Community College
A qualitative case study that examines how autistic students transition into and thought
community college. Nachman utilizes Neurodiversity and Critical Disability Theory
to frame his understandings of autistic students’ experiences. The study employs surveys,
interviews, observations, written reflections, and document analysis to obtain insights
from autistic students, college staff, and people who students nominate. Preliminary
findings suggest the importance of possessing strong parental and peer networks, concurrently
engaging in a college autism support program, and finding fruitful majors and careers
as positive influencers shaping students as they lead into, start out at, and progress
through community college.
Dallin George Young, Assistant Director for Research and Grants at the National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience and Students in Transition, led the Paul P. Fidler Research Grant selection process. He anticipates Nachman’s research will contribute to our overall understanding of student transitions as we learn more about students with autism and their stories about finding community and navigating their college experience.
“This study is an important one as it will open our understanding of students’ transitions
by broadening the conversation in meaningful ways. I am delighted that we get to
support research that will contribute greater knowledge about the transition experiences
of students with autism. Further, it is really exciting to see what we learn about
this group of students’ experiences in community colleges, institutions that have
long been at the vanguard of creating opportunities for access and innovating learning
and pathways for student success. It is a pleasure to be able to support Brett as
he carries out this research.”
- Junghee Yoon of Michigan State University and her study entitled Pathways of Purpose in College Transition Among Asian/Asian American Students
- Michael Graham and Angela L. Vaughan of the University of Northern Colorado and their study entitled An Examination of Self-Compassion, Self-Determination, and Entering Freshmen's Attitudes Towards Professional Psychological Help-Seeking Behavior
- Brianna R. Ramirez of the University of California, San Diego and her study entitled Chicana/Latina Mujer Undergraduates from Immigrant Backgrounds en Trancisión: A Mujerista Case Study in Higher Education
- Erin Doran of Iowa State University and her study entitled Providing Más [More] with MAS [Mexican American Studies]
Transitioning OUT: Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Students’ Experiences in the Senior Year
A qualitative exploration of the transition out of college will draw on interviews with 20 lesbian, gay, and bisexual graduating seniors. This study aims to contribute to our understanding of how identification with a sexual minority group impacts educational transitions broadly and the transition out of college in particular. Specifically, this research will focus on understanding how lesbian, gay, and bisexual students experience and navigate the senior year transition. The results will be used to inform faculty, student affairs personnel, and administrators as they seek to improve the experiences and resources available to college seniors.
Dallin George Young, Assistant Director for Research, Grants, and Assessment at the National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience and Students in Transition, led the Paul P. Fidler Research Grant selection process. He anticipates Silver’s research will help spark discussion and research not only on the research of LGBT+ students’ transition experiences in college but other aspects of institutions targeting specific populations.
“I am enthusiastic about this project, for two reasons. First - and I think it is important to name this - this is the first time the Fidler research grant is supporting a study explicitly focused on Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Students. I am thrilled that we have been given the opportunity to support research about this population of students. Second, I am excited that we are supporting more research on the senior year and how student identities influence the transition out of higher education into the rest of their lives. I look forward to supporting Dr. Silver as he engages in this study..”
- Laura Parson of Auburn University and her study entitled Coordinating Transitions: Exploring the STEM Institution from the Standpoint of Transfer Undergraduate Women.
- Vincent D. Carales and Ruth M. Lopez of the University of Houston and their study entitled Ready and Willing: A Mixed-Methods Study of Community College Student’s Experiences in a Summer Bridge Program
- Nicole N. Long, Stephanie H. Chang, and James M. Jones from the University of Delaware and their study entitled The Call to Act: Meeting Evolving Diversity Competency Needs throughout the College Experience
- Joseph J. Ferrare of the University of Washington Bothell and Lillian Sims, Julia Miller, and Leah Vance of the University of Kentucky and their study entitled Brokering Persistence Pathways: A Study of Social Capital Creation Among First Generation College Students in Transition
Appalachian State University
Academically Achieving Black Males at HBCUs: A Mixed-Methods Study of First Year Students’ Academic and Transitional Success
The research on Black males continues to narrowly focus on achievement gaps, problems, and underrepresentation of Black males in higher education. Limited research points to academically achieving Black male students and their successful first year college transitions. Even more absent is the research on the transitions of successful first-year Black males at HBCUs. Consequently, this cross-institutional collaborative mixed-methods study focuses on academically achieving Black males’ relationships to learning and achievement, and skills, habits, and characteristics of successful transitioning Black males within the 10 HBCUs in North Carolina. Practice and research implications for this study are expansive and promising.
Dallin George Young, Assistant Director for Research, Grants, and Assessment at the National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience and Students in Transition, led the Paul P. Fidler Research Grant selection process. He anticipates Sheppard and Bryson’s research will help spark discussion and research not only on the research of high achieving males at HBCUs but other aspects of institutions targeting specific populations.
“I am enthusiastic about this project, for two reasons. First, this is the first time the Fidler research grant is supporting a study focused on HBCUs. I am thrilled that we have been given the opportunity to support research about students at these institutions. Second, this study is an ambitious, creative, rigorous, and assets-based approach to understanding the factors that are present as Black men successfully enter and engage with the academy. I look forward to supporting Drs. Sheppard and Bryson as they engage in a study that will involve HBCUs across North Carolina - a state perfectly situated for this kind of research.”
- Sonja Ardoin, Appalachian State University, Title: "Bachelor’s Degree Bound: Exploring the Transition Experiences of Rural Transfer Students"
- Jenna Kramer, Vanderbilt University, Title: "Stumbling at the Starting Gate: Post-FAFSA Completion Attrition in Tennessee"
- Nydia C. Sánchez, The University of Texas at Austin, Title: "Academic Capital Formation Along the U.S.-Mexico Border: A 3-year Follow-up Study Exploring the Post-Baccalaureate Transitions of Low-Income, High-Achieving Mexican-American College Graduates"
- Christina Zavala, University of California, Los Angeles, Title: "The Strength of Family Ties: Examining the Family-Student Relationship for Latina College Students"
Our Stories (Un)Told: Community Cultural Wealth and the College-Going Experiences of Transitioning Youth in Foster Care.
The purpose of this proposed study is twofold: (a) to better understand the college choice and enrollment process for underserved and nontraditional populations in foster care; and (b) to explore how academically high-achieving foster youth cultivate and leverage cultural wealth (Yosso, 2005) to enhance their access to selective four-year colleges, where they are traditionally underrepresented (see Davis, 2005; Day, Dworsky, & Feng, 2013). The ultimate aim of this interdisciplinary study is to offer implications to concerned stakeholders in education and child welfare who endeavor to close persistent inequities in postsecondary participation.
Dallin George Young, Assistant Director for Research, Grants, and Assessment at the National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience and Students in Transition, led the Paul P. Fidler Research Grant selection process. He anticipates Amechi's research will significantly contribute to the national discussion on how to improve the transition into and through higher education for foster youth.
"I am enthusiastic about this project, because it promises to provide insight into issues facing the transitions of one of our country's most vulnerable populations in higher education. This research will uncover the assets used by foster youth as they successfully make their way into the academy. Understanding the sources of cultural wealth available in their communities will help inform educators who are responsible for creating conditions that will help support continued achievement of students with experience in the foster care system."
- Kim McAloney of Oregon State University and her study, "What Am I Doing Here?!: An FYE Course in Which First-Generation College Students Study First-Generation College Students"
- Ryan Hudes of Seton Hall University and Katherine Aquino of Manhattan College and their study, "Student–College Matching Tendencies and Mobility for Students Transferring Within Four-year Institutions"
- Linda DeAngelo from the University of Pittsburgh and her study, "Self-efficacy in the Transition Into and Through the First Year for Women Engineering Students"
- Cindy Ann Kilgo and Lauren Bennett of the University of Alabama with their study, "Examining TRANSition: An Overview of Inclusive Practices to Support Transgender Students' Success in College"
Maureen A. Flint
University of Alabama
University of Alabama
University of Alabama
Identity Intersections: Sense of Belonging and its Influence on Academic Success for Residential Students Across Racial and Gender Identities
Belongingness matters greatly to college student success, yet the ways in which students experience belonging vary greatly across racial and gender identities. Residence halls have the potential to shape students' sense of belonging because of the amalgamation of academic and social spaces. Using Strayhorn’s (2012) model for sense of belonging, our proposed research focuses on belongingness in residence halls and its relationship to academic success across racial and gender identities. Using a mixed methods approach, our proposed research will add to the complex narrative between belonging, academic success, and identity.
The findings from Identity Intersections: Sense of Belonging and its Influence on Academic Success for Residential Students Across Racial and Gender Identities can be found in the Journal of The First-Year Experience & Students in Transition.
Dallin George Young, Assistant Director for Research, Grants, and Assessment at the National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience and Students in Transition, led the Paul P. Fidler Research Grant selection process. He anticipates Garvey's research will significantly contribute to the national discussion on sense of belonging on campus and its relationship to academic success, including student retention.
“This is an exciting research project that will open a window into how campus environments, particularly residence halls, can be shaped as places where students feel they belong. Sense of belonging is related to a number of important educational outcomes including academic success, commitment, and satisfaction, all of which increase the chances that students will stay in school and complete their studies. Moreover, this mixed methods approach will allow the team to improve our understanding of the nuanced relationships between belongingness, success, and identity.”
- Jodi Linley of the University of Iowa and Cindy Ann Kilgo of the University of Alabama and their study, "Transitioning to Campus: A Narrative Examination of Transgender Students’ Experiences with Anticipatory Undergraduate Socialization"
- Ramon Goings of Loyola University and Julius Davis of Bowie State University and their study, "The Transition Experiences of High-Achieving Nontraditional Black Male Undergraduates at HBCUs to Graduate Students at PWIs"
- Nancy Acevedo-Gil of California State University San Bernardino and her study, "From Developmental Mathematics to College Sophomores: Examining the Challenges and Successes of Second-Year Transitions for Students of Color"
- Mauriell Amechi of the University of Wisconsin–Madison and his study, "Straight Out of Foster Care: A Qualitative Anti-Deficit Study of Student Achievers"
Thriving in Transitions: A Phenomenological Study on Latino Male Achievers at Selective Public Research Universities
This study will provide a different response to concerns about Latino males “effectively vanishing from the American higher education pipeline” (Saenz & Ponjuan, 2009, p. 54). Instead of examining factors that contribute to Latino male college students’ underperformance, this qualitative study will explore how 25 juniors and seniors employed different forms of capital to thrive academically, intrapersonally, and interpersonally at five selective public research universities. Implications for research, policy, and practice will focus on capitalizing on the knowledge, skills, and resources that Latino males possess and use to thrive in higher education.
The findings from the Capitalizing on Interpersonal Thriving: Exploring the Community Cultural Wealth in Latino Undergraduate Men's Peer Networks article can be found in the Journal of The First-Year Experience & Students in Transition.
Dallin George Young, Assistant Director of Research, Grants, and Assessment at the National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience and Students in Transition, led the Paul P. Fidler Research Grant selection process. He anticipates Perez’s research will significantly contribute to the national discussion on improving the success of Latino males in postsecondary education.
“I am very excited about this research project, as it tackles an important issue in higher education in a thoughtful and creative manner. Understanding Latino male success by focusing on their assets rather than deficits is a promising approach to identifying educationally effective and purposeful conditions that will lead to improved achievement. Moreover, the combination of ‘thriving’ and ‘community cultural wealth’ is an original and inventive concept that will contribute to practical and theoretical understanding of success for Latino students, specifically, as well as all students, generally."
- Blake Silver of the University of Virginia and his study, "Navigating the Senior Year Transition: A Qualitative Study of the Experiences of First-Generation American Students"
- Karen Miller and Heather Servaty-Seib of Purdue University and their study, "Veteran and Military Students’ Experiences in College"
- Nina Daoud of the University of Maryland, College Park and her study, "Under the Black Umbrella: Examining the Role of Racial Identity in the Experiences of Black HBCU Students"
- Alisha Francis and Joy Daggs of Northwest Missouri State University and their study, "Senior Year to Early Career: Exploring the Roles of Organizational Socialization, Self-efficacy, and Identity Formation on Students Experiencing Transition into the Workforce"
Diane Cardenas Elliott
Joni M. Lakin
STEMing the Shock: “Transfer Shock” and its Impact on STEM Major and Enrollment Persistence
Students who transfer between two- and four-year institutions often experience "transfer shock," or a reduction in academic performance during this critical transition. Research suggests transfer shock, although temporary, may reduce student persistence in their major. Using a mixed methods approach, this study explores the role transfer shock plays in STEM major and degree persistence. More specifically, we examine the impact of transfer shock on persistence by understanding how STEM majors experience transfer shock and exploring the student and institutional factors that affect transfer shock and academic success. Results will have important implications for creating a viable community college–STEM career pathway.
The findings from the STEMing the Shock article can be found in the Journal of The First-Year Experience & Students in Transition.
Dallin George Young, Assistant Director of Research, Grants, and Assessment at the National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience and Students in Transition, led the Paul P. Fidler Research Grant selection process. He anticipates Elliott and Lakin's research will significantly contribute to the national discussion on understanding the factors that support transfer student success.
"This ambitious project is very promising because it will shed light on how transfer shock is manifest in ways that depend on the academic programs transfer students choose. Most importantly, this knowledge will better equip faculty and staff to develop approaches to help increase transfer student success in science, technology, engineering, and math. The results are likely to point to means of moving away from one-size-fits-all approaches for supporting transfer students, particularly those majoring in STEM areas."
- Jill Bradley-Levine of the University of Indianapolis and her study, "A Comparative Study of Early College High School Students' Transition to and Persistence in Higher Education"
- Heather Harris and S. Jeanne Horst of James Madison University and their study, "The Use of Propensity Score Matching Techniques to Estimate the Effects of University Interventions"
- Rebecca Christensen of the University of Michigan and her study, " 'Healing the World': Exploring the Influence of a Residential Learning Community on First-Year Students' Social Justice Conceptualizations, Attitudes, and Behaviors"
Sam Houston State University
University of Southern Mississippi
Transfer student populations continue to grow in higher education. These students may struggle to find a sense of belonging and experience limited opportunities for engagement given work, life, and family commitments. Belonging predicts increased levels of engagement and academic success among traditional students. However, few researchers examine this theoretical model among transfer students, limiting its generalizability. To bridge this gap, we propose to use a multi-group path analysis to test the relationship between belonging (i.e., university attachment), engagement, and academic success among entering and persisting transfer students. Results may guide practitioners in the prioritization of outcomes for transfer student programs.
The findings from Distinguishing Differences in the Academic Motivation of Entering and Persisting Transfer Students article can be found in the Journal of The First-Year Experience & Students in Transition.
Dallin George Young, Assistant Director of Research, Grants, and Assessment at the National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience and Students in Transition, led the Paul P. Fidler Research Grant selection process. He anticipates Lane and Martin's research will significantly contribute to the national discussion on understanding the factors that support transfer student success.
"The study that will be carried out by Drs. Lane and Martin is important as it will test widely held assumptions that institutional attachment, or sense of belonging, is an important antecedent to academic success for transfer students. The results of this research will help faculty and staff understand how to better support transfer students who may have difficulties finding a sense of belonging in their new institutional environments. Understanding the roles of attachment and engagement in transfer student success will give higher education professionals tools to help support the large number of these students in American higher education."
- Diane Oliver, Kimberly Cole, and Jennifer Whyte of California State University, Fresno, Christina Enquist of the College of the Sequoias, Monica Nolasco of the State Center Community College District and their study, "Student Veteran Transfer from Community Colleges to Universities: Building Bridges"
- Sara Connolly of the University of Bridgeport and her study, "The Relationship Between Self-efficacy and Locus of Control: Can Interventions Change Students' Confidence?"
- Katie Lowe of Purdue University and her study, "Parental Involvement During the College Transition: Trajectories and Associations with Academic Success, Well-Being, and Individuation"
- Loni Bordoloi Pazich of New York University and her study, "Influencing Transfer and Baccalaureate Attainment for Community College Students Through State Grant Incentives: Quasi-Experimental Evidence From Texas"
Meaning-Making Dynamics of Emancipated Foster Care Youth Transitioning Into Higher
A Constructivist-Grounded Theory
The purpose of this study is to investigate developmental meaning-making dynamics of emancipated foster youth transitioning into higher education. The study seeks to postulate alternative ways of conceptualizing college student transitional experiences and promote student developmental outcomes in ways that acknowledge a student's individual needs, goals, and values. Additionally, using a constructivist student development theoretical lens informed by grounded theory methodology, the study advances substantive theories and offers insights into how student affairs professionals and mentors can empower emancipated youth to formulate systems of meaning that creatively help inform the student's quest for an integral sense of identity and purpose.
The findings from Meaning-Making Dynamics of Emancipated Foster Care Youth Transitioning into Higher Education: A Constructivist-Grounded Theory article can be found in the Journal of The First-Year Experience & Students in Transition.
Dallin George Young, Assistant Director of Research, Grants, and Assessment at the National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience and Students in Transition, led the Paul P. Fidler Research Grant selection process. He anticipates Okumu's research will significantly contribute to the national discussion on understanding the needs of emancipated foster youth who are making the transition into higher education.
"Jacob's study will make a significant contribution to the literature about developmental theory related to students who have experiences in foster care. Further, it will provide a practical framework for faculty and staff who work to support these students as they develop the meaning-making abilities that will make them successful in higher education and beyond."
- Barbara Hong of Penn State University for her study, "A Ten-Year Exploratory Analysis of the Transition, Persistence, and Graduation Outcome of College Students With Disabilities"
- Sean Hogan of California State University, Fullerton for his study, "Foster Youth in Higher Education: The Role of Social Capital in Successfully Transitioning to Adulthood"
- Erin Wheeler of Louisiana State University for her study, "Making the Case for 1st and 2nd-year Academic Interventions: Evaluating Freshman Academic Boot Camp Participants' and Non-Participants' Metacognitive Development and Deficits in the 2nd Year"
- Heather Harris of the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire for her study, "Establishing an Academic Support Structure: An Investigation of Underrepresented Students' Transition, Identity Negotiation, and Persistence Through Their First Year of Undergraduate Education"
University of Northern Iowa
Exploring the Impact of Transfer Capital on Community College Transfer Students
This paper reports on one aspect of a larger study designed to re-examine the Laanan-Transfer Students’ Questionnaire (L-TSQ), an instrument exploring adjustment following transfer to a four-year institution (Laanan, 1998, 2004). In particular, it reports on nine new constructs added to the L-TSQ, which expand the understanding of transfer student capital. Results suggest that transfer student capital plays an important role in community college student success at the university. Transfer student capital is a significant predictor of university GPA, indicating that students with higher levels of transfer student capital (determined by collaboration and experiences with faculty at the community college and motivation and self-efficacy) academically outperformed those with lower levels. Also, mentoring (a component of transfer student capital) is a significant predictor of students' ability to cope actively with their problems. Finally, students with greater transfer student capital, as measured by experiences with financial knowledge and general courses and formal collaboration with faculty at the community college, have higher levels of satisfaction with academics and advising at the university.
The findings from Exploring the Impact of Transfer Capital on Community College Transfer Students article can be found in the Journal of The First-Year Experience & Students in Transition.
Ryan Padgett, Assistant Director of Research, Grants, and Assessment at the National
Resource Center for The First-Year Experience and Students in Transition, oversaw
the Paul P. Fidler Research Grant selection process. Padgett anticipates Moser's research
will significantly contribute to the national discussion on understanding the needs
of transfer students who transition to four-year institutions.
"Kristin's study is both timely and important," Padgett said. "Findings from this study will advance our examination into the complex adjustment process of transfer students and how we as higher education professionals can continue to strive to improve success for this rapidly growing population of students."
- Alyssa Bryant Rockenbach of North Carolina State University, Nicholas A. Bowman of the University of Notre Dame, and Matthew J. Mayhew of New York University for their study, "Perceptions of the Religious and Spiritual Campus Climate Among Religious and Non-Religious College Juniors"
- Adam Joncich, Mark Spergel, and Phil Hogue of Baruch College and Jennie Park Taylor and Akane Zusho of Fordham University for their study, "Mindfulness, Role Quality, and Behavioral Engagement Among College Transfer Students"
- Linda J. Sax, Dayna S. Weintraub, and Tiffani Riggers of UCLA for their study, "The Impact of Parental Involvement on College Students’ Academic and Social Adjustment: Considering the Role of Race, Class, and Gender"
- Natesha L. Smith and Michael Cuyjet of the University of Louisville for their study, "Complexities of Culture: Understanding the Identity of Female Veterans Transitioning from Military to College"
Paul McLoughlin II
The Transition Experiences of High-Achieving, Low-Income Undergraduates in an Elite College Environment
This hermeneutic phenomenological study describes the lived experiences of high-achieving, low-income undergraduates and their transition into a college environment historically reserved for wealthy students. The results of this study indicate that these students are flourishing in full need-based financial aid programs as a result of their own resilience and intellectual capital, despite being underprepared for the academic curriculum of an elite college. Participants’ experiences suggest that this population of undergraduates faces unique challenges and requires specific support services to equalize their opportunities vis-á-vis higher-income peers, specifically related to overcoming less rigorous academic preparation, unlearning self-imposed socioeconomic stigma, and managing financial pressures. From these findings, implications for colleges and universities and full need-based financial aid programs are discussed.
The findings from The Transition Experiences of High-Achieving, Low-Income Undergraduates in an Elite College Environment article can be found in the Journal of The First-Year Experience & Students in Transition.
Ryan Padgett, Assistant Director of Research, Grants, and Assessment at the National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience and Students in Transition, led the Paul P. Fidler Research Grant selection process. Padgett anticipates McLoughlin’s research will significantly contribute to the national discussion on the experiences of low-income students, specifically those who are recipients of full need-based aid and attend America’s most elite colleges.
“Paul’s proposal emerged from one of our most competitive grant selection processes to date,” Padgett said. “The results of his qualitative study will advance our understanding on how to better support low-income students as they navigate the college environment and transition through higher education.”
- Steven Brunwasser, Christopher Peterson, and Daniel Eisenberg of the University of Michigan for their study, "Evaluating Depressive Symptoms During the Transition to a Large University"
- Sarah Kiersten Ferguson of the University of Texas at Austin for her study, "Reframing the Conversation: Faculty Mentoring Underrepresented Undergraduate Students in Engineering"
- Dorian McCoy of the University of Vermont and Rachelle Winkle-Wagner of the University of Nebraska for their study, "A Bridge to the Future: The Role of Summer Institutes in Preparing Students of Color for Graduate Programs in the Humanities"
- Brian Reed of the University of Virginia for his study, "Factors Affecting Low-SES White Male Persistence"
Rachel A. Smith
Baruch College, CUNY
Learning Community Transitions in the First Year: A Case Study of Academic and Social Network Change
Residential learning communities often focus on easing first-year students’ transition to college by emphasizing the creation of peer social and academic relationships. However, this relational process is most often examined through analyzing individual student characteristics, behaviors, and attitudes. This study used network analysis to elucidate the process of residential community development. Specifically, it examined academic and social integration by comparing peer networks generated through a theme-based residential learning community with a random-assignment residence hall floor. Results suggested that learning communities may create an environment where first-year students form academic and social ties more quickly, although these levels were not sustained into the second semester.
The findings from Learning Community Transitions in the First Year: A Case Study of Academic and Social Network Change article can be found in the Journal of The First-Year Experience & Students in Transition.
Jennifer Keup, Director of the National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience and Students in Transition, led the Paul P. Fidler Research Grant selection process. Keup expects Smith’s research to have a national impact in benefiting the understanding the impact of social networks on the academic success of students.
“Rachel’s research examines a very important and yet critically under-examined area in the field of higher education," Keup said. “The results of her study that included surveys, interviews, and observation should provide important new information about the impact of social networks on the success of the students we work with each day in our various educational settings.”
- Mary Bornheimer of McKendree University for her study, "Transitioning From Soldiers to Students: The Nature and Effectiveness of Veteran Student Transition Programs"
- Shannon Tinney of Loyola College in Maryland for her study, "In and Out of the Sophomore Year: Understanding the Role of Sophomore Programs in Students’ Transitions"
- Mary Bornheimer of McKendree University for her study, "Transitioning From Soldiers to Students: The Nature and Effectiveness of Veteran Student Transition Programs"
Maryellen T. Mills
Symmetry Education Services
Tools of Engagement: Success Course Influence on Student Engagement
Improving student outcomes requires better tools for assessing program effectiveness. Student success courses are offered on most college campuses. However, extant research is overwhelmingly summative, of mixed rigor, and focused on four-year colleges, providing limited support for improving practice in community colleges. This study examined relationships between participation in an extended orientation student success course and engagement as measured by the Community College Survey of Student Engagement. Findings showed (a) modest but positive course influence on use of support services, faculty interaction, and active and collaborative learning; (b) limited understanding of the influence of success courses on students indicated by weak alignment between course goals and engagement outcomes; and (c) connections between course instructional attributes and engagement gains.
The findings from Tools of Engagement: Success Course Influence on Student Engagement can be found in the Journal of The First-Year Experience & Students in Transition.
Jennifer Keup, Director of the National Resource Center, led the Paul P. Fidler Research Grant selection process. Keup expects Mills’ research to have a national impact on student success initiatives.
“Maryellen’s research examines a critically under-examined area in the field of higher education,” Keup said. “The results of her study should provide important new information on the impact of student success courses in community colleges and the diversity of the community college experience.”
- Dr. Ani Yazedjian and Dr. Michelle Toews of Texas State University–San Marcos for her study, "What's Love Got to Do With It?: Examining the Influence of Romantic Relationships on the Success of College Students"
- Dr. Reynol Junco of Lockhaven University of Pennsylvania for his study, "Examining Whether Facebook Can Enhance First-Year and Transfer Student Engagement"
Seton Hall University
Navigating College Life: The Role of Peer Networks in First-Year College Adaptation Experience of Minority Immigrant Students
Many immigrants regard college education as a primary means for socioeconomic advancement and assimilation into U.S. society. However, despite their growing numbers in American higher education, little consideration has been given to how immigrant students negotiate acculturative stress, social integration, cultural values, and academic engagement to navigate toward success in college. Given that the transition to college is a critical period marked by a host of complex challenges in psychological, academic, social, and cultural adjustment, the present study examines minority immigrant students’ college adaptation experiences, with particular attention to the academic domain, and explores the role of campus peer networks during the first-year college transition process. Data were collected through in-depth interviews with 49 ethnic minority immigrant students from a large public midwestern university. The study participants tended to rely on peer networks of the same ethnicity rather than institutional agents when seeking assistance in adapting to the college environment. Ethnic peer network membership on campus played a positive role in helping minority immigrant students adjust academically to college and persist through the first to second year.
The findings from Navigating College Life: The Role of Peer Networks in First-Year College Adaptation Experience of Minority Immigrant Students article can be found in the Journal of The First-Year Experience & Students in Transition.
- Dr. Heath Boice-Pardee and Dr. Nicole Boulais of Rochester Institute of Technology for their study, "Revealing the Sophomore Transition: A Mixed-Method Analysis of Student Development"
- Dr. Brian Bourke of the University of Alabama for his study, "African American Students in Predominantly White Universities: Persistence Beyond the First Year"
- Dr. Pamela Steinke, Chun-Ju Wan, and Michelle Crossley of North Carolina State University for their study, "How Personality and Social Factors Impact Undergraduate Success in the First Two Years"
- Peter Swerdzewski and Dr. Sara Finney of James Madison University for their study, "A Longitudinal Analysis of Student Worry During the First Two Years of College."
- Dr. Paul Turman of the South Dakota Board of Regents for his study, "Engaging Adult Learners: A Longitudinal and Spatial Analysis of Non-Traditional Student Transition."
The Electronic Tether: Parental Regulation, Self-Regulation, and the Role of Technology in College Transitions
One of the primary psychosocial tasks of the period of emerging adulthood is to become an autonomous, self-governing, self-regulating individual. Increased use of email and cellphones, however, means that students enrolling in college directly out of high school are often electronically tethered to their parents, yet little is known about the influence of the frequency and content of this contact on student development during the transition to college and to adulthood. Using a web-based format for data collection, this study involved surveying students (n = 407) and their parents (n = 73) during the first two years of college. Most students communicate frequently and are satisfied with their level of communication. Those who are in the highest frequency of communication and whose parents are continuing to regulate their behavior and academics are the least autonomous and least satisfied with the college experience and their relationship with parents.
The findings from The Electronic Tether: Parental Regulation, Self-Regulation, and the Role of Technology in College Transitions article can be found in the Journal of The First-Year Experience & Students in Transition.
- Heath Boice-Pardee of Rochester Institute of Technology for his study, "The Sophomore Transition: A Quantitative and Qualitative Analysis of Student Development"
- Peter Mather of Ohio University for his study, "An Investigation of the Experience of Traditional-Age Students Moving From On-campus to Off-campus Living"
- Crystal Park of the University of Connecticut for her study, "A Stress and Coping Model of Adjustment to the First Year of Graduate School"
- Susan Sy of California State University Fullerton for her study, "The Influence of Family Obligations on Latina Students' College Adjustment"
Christine and Michael Kirk-Kuwaye
University of Hawaii at Manoa
A Study of Engagement Patterns of Lateral and Vertical Transfer Students During Their First Semester at a Public Research University
Transfer students are a growing population for four-year institutions and are even the majority on many campuses. While much research has been done and many transition practices, such as transfer orientation, have been used at four-year institutions, the focus has been on two- to four-year institution or community college transfers, which account for less than half of the transfer students at four-year institutions. This study, using a qualitative research design, will examine lateral transfer students, those students who transfer from one four-year institution to another. Patterns of engagement in the campus community will be examined and compared to those of community college transfer students. The study results will inform current orientation practice and may test current student development theory.
The findings from A Study of Engagement Patterns of Lateral and Vertical Transfer Students During Their First Semester at a Public Research University article can be found in the Journal of The First-Year Experience & Students in Transition.
- Melissa Ousley of the University of Arizona for her study, "Millennials and Diversity: Unraveling the Tapestry"
- Jason Johnson and Jeffrey Grigg of the University of Wisconsin–Madison for their study, "Student Self-Representation in Web-Based Social Networks: University Freshmen and thefacebook.com"
- Joel V. McGee of Texas A&M University for his study, "A Mixed Methods Approach to Understanding Factors Which Influence Academic Help-Seeking Among Freshmen and Transfer Students"
- Patrick C. Burns of Valdosta State University for his study, "Closing the Gap: Expectations, Importance, and Satisfaction in Academic Advising"