Exploring Engaging Opportunities for Professional Development with First-Generation College Students
Professional development opportunities are important for college students to help them advance personally and professionally. It is often difficult for first-generation college students to be aware of these opportunities due to the additional pressures and expectations for this demographic of students. The purpose of this study is to explore the professional development that first-generation college students receive. Using interviews with current first-generation undergraduate students, results showed that first-generation college students were not as aware of professional development opportunities as their non-first-generation peers. Implications from this study can inform practices to assist first-generation college students with intentional professional development opportunities aimed at building their cultural capital and helping prepare them for their post-collegiate experience.
The Impact of Self-Image on Academic Achievement Amongst Black College Students
Scholars use components of one’s self concept such as self-esteem, self-image, and self-confidence to better understand college student’s academic achievement. Many factors impact the way a Black undergraduate student views themselves such as their high school experience, college environment, and relationships. The purpose of this qualitative study is to explore the way a Black undergraduate student’s concept of themselves, with an emphasis on self-image, impacts their academic success at predominantly White institutions (PWI). Participants in this study were Black undergraduate students who attend PWI’s. Findings consisted of Black undergraduate students needing to feel a sense of confidence regarding their appearance to perform well in their academic courses. The findings of this study provide insight into how to better support Black undergraduate students’ self-image and academic achievement.
Building Stress Resilience in Undergraduates: An Examination of Self-Affirmation and Stress Resilience in Students
While a student’s time in higher education is expected to be a little overwhelming at times undergraduate students are facing stress and anxiety at alarming rates. The purpose of this qualitative study is to investigate how a simple daily practice of self-affirmation could potentially influence shifts in undergraduate college students’ social and mental well-being. Over a six-week time span, eight students practiced self-affirmation practices and completed bi-weekly virtual reflections regarding the current state of their stress and stress management. Results show students experiencing better overall resilience when stress occurs. The intent of this study is to advance knowledge regarding how to best promote holistic well-being in the lives of undergraduate students.
Exploring Academic, Financial, and Behavioral Barriers First-Year Students Face
First-year students are some of the most vulnerable college-aged students. Existing research highlights that first-year students will likely encounter academic, financial, and behavior barriers. This study explores the barriers first-year students face at the University of Dayton. Data for this study emerges from a sample of 55 University of Dayton first-year students who completed an online survey. The results demonstrate evidence that some of the students are experiencing more academic anxieties than anything else. Student affairs practitioners can use this study's findings to inform working with and supporting first-year students.
Implementation Factors of the Social Emotional Learning Language Arts (SELLA) Curriculum: Impact on Teachers’ Social-Emotional Competence
Maddie Ann Gronotte
In recent years, evidence supporting a whole-child approach to education—one that considers not only academic proficiency but also development of social-emotional competence (SEC) as important outcomes of education for students—has mounted. As the benefits of supporting student SEL skills have become more widely known, recognition of the value of supporting teachers’ SEC has surfaced, too. Research indicates a range of positive classroom implications for teachers’ having high SEC, including more effective management of student behaviors and higher quality implementation of evidence-based practices. Existing research demonstrates that schools can support teachers’ SEC directly through SEL-focused professional development opportunities, but it is unclear if teachers’ delivery of student-centered SEL programming indirectly results in similar improvements in SEC. Using a program evaluation with a comparison group design, the present study examined the impact of classroom delivery of the Social Emotional Learning Language Arts curriculum on teachers’ SEC and whether factors such as implementation quality and perceptions of the curriculum predicted SEC levels. Results of a survey of (n = 64) K-6 teachers revealed no significant relationship between SELLA implementation and self-reported SEC level, and neither perceptions of the curriculum nor implementation quality significantly predicted teacher SEC. Nonetheless, the findings of this study contribute to an emerging research base exploring practical, effective, and efficient ways that schools can support teacher SEC. Implications for practice and suggestions for future research are discussed.
Institutional Prestige and Sports Publicity: The Effects of Sports Publicity on U.S. Higher Education Institutions’ Prestige
Colleges invest millions of dollars in sports programs; however, I would like to explore if the investment in these programs goes beyond sports revenue. The U.S News & World Report (USNWR) college ranking is based on a multidimensional methodology utilizing a weighted combination of nine broad indicators. Student retention, acceptance rate, and number of applicants are USNWR indicators which continue to fluctuate every year, but what if we took a closer look at external factors that could be affecting college ranking. Students attend a specific institution for a multitude of reasons, but USNWR college ranks play an important role as students select their preferred institutions. The purpose of this study is to explore the relationship between the quality of an institution’s sports program and institutional prestige. More specifically, we aim to find if there is a correlation between sports publicity and institutional prestige, and if a national championship win affects the USNWR college rankings. This quantitative study includes national championship winning institutions as a sports publicity indicator and seeks to determine the impact on a successful sports program and college ranking. Insights from this study can be used to inform higher education institutions as they evaluate the advantages of investing in a sports program and assist administrators in predicting an increase or decrease in factors that affect college rank.
Meaning-Making in Virtual Community Engagement Programming
Research shows that community engagement programming has a deep impact on students and community partners. However, the Covid-19 pandemic has deeply altered the ways in which community engagement is done. Programming was forced into a virtual space, and has yet to fully return to pre-pandemic models. This study explores how undergraduate students at the University of Dayton describe their participation in and the impact of virtual community engagement programming for partners. The research questions asked in this study are twofold; How do students at the University of Dayton who participated in virtual community engagement program articulate and describe their experience? And, how do students articulate what they learned from participating in virtual community engagement programming? Through interviews with students, this qualitative study aims to better understand the student experience and articulation of impact, as well as how students make meaning from virtual engagement. It is critical that practitioners understand how students are making sense of virtual programming in order to determine what will remain from this virtual world, what needs changing, and how we can better walk with students throughout the process.
Navigating Burnout in Student Affairs Graduate Students
Meg L. Austin
As graduate students begin to enter the higher education and student affairs field, they are socialized to navigate their work successfully, which often includes over-involvement and over-commitment (Allen et al., 2020). Previous studies on student affairs burnout found that intense workloads, low salaries, conflicts between work and personal life, lack of advancement, and lack of continued passion contributed to burnout (Marshall et al., 2016; Mullen et al., 2018; Naifeh, 2019). Although there is a plethora of research on burnout and stress in student affairs professionals, research around student affairs graduate students is mostly absent. The purpose of this study is to discover how current full-time student affairs graduate students who hold assistantships navigate burnout, what factors cause burnout for graduate students, as well as the impacts of burnout before they obtain a full-time student affairs job. Data has been collected through qualitative research, interviewing 11 current full-time student affairs graduate students with graduate assistantships. Data shows that graduate students experience burnout due to lack of personal-professional boundaries, low-pay, and lack of support or recognition. These results can help the student affairs field positively impact retention rates, transform the culture of the profession, and better support graduate students.
Professional Development in Summer Camp Employment
Many college students seek out internships and employment over the summer to grow professionally and personally. Students who choose to work as summer camp counselors are gaining transferable skills and are in environments where they can develop (Tessman et al., 2012). There are nearly 14,000 camps across the United States and majority of the camp counselors working at these camps are college students (Schelbe et. al 2018). With this seasonal work being such a demand and a common summer job for college students, it is important to consider the role that a supervisor plays in the development of their counselors. The purpose of this study is to identify what experiences are being provided by summer camps to aid student development and how supervisors are incorporating professional development throughout the summer. Data for this qualitative study emerges from 10 camp supervisors across the United States and Canada. The data collected has shown college students who spend their summers working at camps have a deep understanding of who they are, what strengths they have and how to apply skills learned to other jobs and environments. Supervisors concluded that summer camp jobs offer students an opportunity to grow in leadership, communication, decision making and critical thinking. The findings of this study not only can inform camp supervisors of the professional development opportunities provided to college students at varying camps, but also can inform higher education professionals of a field that provides students with a meaningful and impactful summer experience.
The Graduate School Navigation: The Experiences of First-Generation Black Women in Master’s Program
We hear that Black women are considered to be amongst the most educated individuals in society and are pursuing higher education at an increasingly high rate. Although, there is minimal information of their experiences. In this study, I explore the experiences of first-generation Black women who have pursued and are currently enrolled in a Master’s program. In particular this study addresses how first-generation Black Women navigate their Master’s programs and the challenges or stressors those students faced. Data for this study emerges from interviews with first-generation Black women who completed or are enrolled in a Master’s program. It is important to note that the majority of these first-generation Black women participants are enrolled in a predominantly White campus. So many of the participants are the only Black or person of color within their program, and may feel reluctant to present as their authentic selves. Also, since the participants are the first to receive both of their bachelor’s and Master’s degree family and financial support is not as prevalent as fellow students on the pursuit. For future research, it would be beneficial for higher education institutions to build better systems of financial and personal support for Black women
The Role of Transfer Partnership Programs: Supporting the Social Integration of Transfer Students
Julia D. Thompson
Despite an increase in institutional partnerships among two-year and four-year institutions, few studies have focused on the role four-year institutions play through formal partnership programs in supporting transfer student success. The purpose of this qualitative research study was to understand how a transfer partnership program, like the UD Sinclair Academy, positively shapes the social integration of students who have transitioned from a two-year to a four-year institution. Data was collected through interviews with nine students who had participated in the Academy and were either still enrolled at the University of Dayton or had graduated. Findings revealed themes in how students experienced the benefits of the Academy and faced challenges in fully engaging as a student through this program. These findings can be used to create a more inclusive experience for students enrolled in community college partnership programs to ensure they are supported, prepared, and engaged.
Acknowledging the Past and the Present: Reckoning with Racism in Predominantly White Fraternities and Sororities
Predominantly White fraternities and sororities enjoy the past and present spoils of leadership, community, and scholarship while also holding onto past and present histories of racism and exclusion. As these organizations compile and explore such instances of racism, attention can be paid to their current constituents and their understanding and meaning-making of histories and contemporary instances of racism. This project seeks to address the following questions: (1) To what extent do current members of predominantly White fraternities and sororities’ understand racist pasts and presents, and how does that affect the meaning of their involvement? (2) How would they integrate such information into member education? I used qualitative research interviews with current members of predominantly White fraternities and sororities at various institutions. The results articulate meaning-making of the participating members and allow members to think critically about racism with regards to the fraternity/sorority community. This study has implications for better involving general membership in difficult conversations and acknowledging these organizations’ pasts to inform future work.
A Different World: National Climate and its Effects on Black Students Attending Predominantly White Institutions (PWI)
Many studies have examined the experiences of Black students at Predominantly White Institutions (PWI). However, few explore the impact of the national political and racial climate on the experiences of Black students at PWIs. This research study addresses the following questions: (1) How does the national climate affect the campus climate for Black students at a PWI? (2) How do Black students’ perceptions of police brutality shape their perceptions of campus climate? (3) How are Black students using engagement as a response to campus climate? In this phenomenological study, the researcher conducted interviews with Black undergraduate students from a private Midwest university. Results show that the cocurricular experiences of Black students and their perceptions of police are shaped by national events. This study has implications for the improvement of support and resources for Black students at Predominantly White Institutions.
An Examination of Preservice and Early Career Teachers’ Perspectives on Preparation for Classroom Management
Joseph Earl Clements
Growing concern regarding the rising teacher attrition rates exists within the field of education. Research suggests the cause of this increasing phenomenon correlates to teachers’ competency revolving around classroom management instruction received within preservice teacher education programs. In an attempt to pinpoint the issue, this project sought to address the following questions: (1) To what extent are college and university teacher preparation programs providing students with the necessary tools to manage a classroom effectively? (2) Prior to entering the career field, what do preservice teachers require from their teaching preparation programs to possess classroom management competencies? Using a qualitative methods approach, the researcher performed interviews with five preservice teachers and five Early Career Teachers (ECTs). Results display that both preservice teachers and ECTs could benefit from explicit instruction in classroom management approaches, trauma-informed care, and intentional relationship building rooted in the social-emotional learning (SEL) approach. This study provides implications that can be used to reconfigure preservice teacher education program curriculums that better prepare students to transition into the workforce more smoothly, which may slow the rise of the teacher attrition rate.
Don’t Tell Me How To Relax: Navigating Burnout Among Female Student Affairs Professionals
Michele Margaret McDonald
Student affairs professionals (SAP) report incredibly high levels of burnout, with women burning out at disproportionately higher rates than men. Although there is an abundance of research about what causes work stress and burnout among women in the field, there has been less analysis on how female SAPs are dealing with stress to prevent burnout, as well as if they believe their coping strategies are helping or not. This study seeks to answer the following questions: (1) How are female SAPs navigating burnout in their professional lives? (2) How effective do female SAPs consider their stress-reducing and coping strategies to be? Using a constructivist phenomenological approach, I interviewed 11 female SAPs who have worked in the field for more than five years from a variety of institutional types, functional areas, and position levels. Data analysis shows that several of the most effective coping strategies include setting boundaries, exercise, and having a supportive supervisor; however, COVID has impacted many female SAPs’ ability to manage their stress and burnout. This study has implications for both current and future female SAPs to find effective and healthy ways to navigate burnout and work stress.
Experiences of Students with Learning Disabilities
Andrew John Sellers
Students with learning disabilities (LD) are required to self-identify at higher education institutions. This study sought to see how self-identification impacts the student’s perception of connection to their campus. Using a constructivist narrative approach, the researcher interview four students at a private midwestern institution whom had identified with the disability services office. The results of the study show that the LD student motivation for success overrode any perception of potential negative campus perception. This study provides implications in how students in learning disabilities perceive their campus connections.
Finding the Way: Identifying the Fine Line between Indoctrination and Education through the Sentiments of Students, Faculty, and Staff at Two Catholic Universities
When students are in the college search process, they look to many different resources to help them find the best fit, and for some, that includes prioritizing the campus’ faith traditions. For students who prioritize their Catholic faith, the seek to find a campus that fulfill that promise of cultivating the person to live life following the way of Christ and His teachings. Students, however, are not the only ones who become community members at Catholic institutions. Faculty and staff may also consider the faith identity of an institution when seeking employment to find what is best for themselves. In this research, students, faculty, and staff members across two institutions were interviewed in order to understand how the perceive the Catholic identity of their institutions. The findings from this study will contribute towards gaining a better understanding of Catholic identity at nominally Catholic higher education institutions. This study will likely encourage more discussion among various Catholic higher education actors.
First-Year Student Engagement in Campus Activities Programs During COVID-19
Jairad Strait Hydrick
Existing research highlights the relationship between student engagement and student success and persistence; however, this relationship is predicated on the ability of students to freely engage with one another, which has not been the case during the COVID-19 pandemic. Colleges and universities and their campus activities programs have transitioned to offering virtual, hybrid, and in-person programs that limit peer-to-peer and peer-to-staff interaction, so as mitigate health and safety risks. These restrictions contradict what has been long understood to be “best practice.” In response, this study sought to understand (1) how first-year students are engaging, or not engaging, with campus activities programs; (2) how COVID-19 impacted students’ decision to engage and not engage; and (3) the impact on desired student engagement outcomes. Using a survey design, first-year students at private, Catholic institution in the Midwest were surveyed regarding their attitudes and experiences with COVID-19, engagement with campus activities programs, and achievement of desired outcomes. Results demonstrate that while students continued to engage in various campus activities programs, and felt safe doing so, COVID-19 impacted students’ decision how to engage. Additionally, most participants felt disconnected from their peers, more concerned for their mental health, and a decreased sense of belonging. This study has implications for understanding the needs of the first-year students, who are most vulnerable to attrition, whose transition has been significantly disrupted by COVID-19, as well as emerging scholarship on engaging students across multiple modalities.
Motivation Behind Over Involvement at Small Private Institutions
Students are encouraged to pursue professional and social opportunities during their undergraduate career but some students have the tendency to over commit themselves to these opportunities. This research seeks to understand the motivation behind these students when it comes to these students’ over involvement by asking: 1.)What are the motivations behind over involvement in students at small private institutions? 2.) How would students define over involvement? Utilizing a phenomenological qualitative approach, the researcher conducted interviews with undergraduate students from two small private institutions. The results indicate that students' motivation behind over involvement varies between each student and that there is a similarity between the two small private institutions. Most of the students’ motivation is driven by external influences. This study can be further utilized to understand over involvement at other institution types as well as helping student affairs practitioners understand how to help students that they would consider over involved.
On Meaning-Making in Academic Advising: An Examination of Academic Advisors and Their Experience with Student Mental Health
Gretchen E. Theil
The study seeks to address academic advisors’ experiences with the college student mental health crisis. Specifically, it examines how both professional and faculty advisors react to students experiencing mental health concerns, the extent to which advisors receive mental health training, the influence of multicultural factors impacting students’ mental health, and the role of technology in academic advising. The researcher performed qualitative interviews with four faculty advisors and five professional advisors. Results show that both faculty and professional academic advisors must guide students with increased mental health concerns with no required mental health training, while navigating a multitude of multicultural factors, and utilizing numerous sources of technology, especially due to the current nature of the COVID-19 pandemic. These findings will be used to expand the knowledge-base of both universities and other academic advisors on the importance of their role in the student mental health crisis.
Pervasive Communal Trauma in Higher Education: The Effects of COVID-19 Trauma on U.S. Higher Education Professionals
The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted campus life in unprecedented ways. In response, higher education professionals have adapted, reframed, and provided support to students and colleagues while navigating the unknown world of the pandemic themselves. To better understand the effect COVID-19 may have on higher education professionals, this study introduces a conceptual form of connective trauma experience in the form of communal pervasive trauma. This research study examined (1) How does COVID-19 affect higher education professionals’ relationship with their work? (2) What effects does a pervasive communal traumatic experience, such as COVID-19, have on higher education professionals? Utilizing a phenomenological approach, nine mid- to senior-level higher education professionals across three different institutions in the Midwest, West, and Pacific and varying functional areas were interviewed. Results indicate an explorative developmental experience with one’s work across the pandemic, feelings of exhaustion from impossible expectations and limited resources, and personal disconnection and grief of sense of community and identity outside of work. This study provides implications for higher education and student affairs professionals in supporting their often overworked staff, notions of healing after tragedy, and how to continue functioning once the pandemic has ceased.
The Benefits and Burdens of Student Employment
Karen Jayne David
Forty-seven percent of full-time students and 87 percent of part-time students are looking for work to cover costs of their higher education. Students who are employed while taking classes face benefits and burdens associated with their work. This study focuses on student employees who work on-campus within campus recreation departments. The goals of this study were to identify a relationship between hours worked and academic success, how well respondents are prepared for their future employment, as well as gather self-reported benefits and burdens of working for campus recreation departments. This was a quantitative study that was conducted through a survey that was sent to campus recreation professionals across the country that they then distributed to their undergraduate student employees. Utilizing results from this study, higher education professionals who utilize student staffing will be better equipped to make their work environments more intentional and more likely to retain staff and to better prepare their staff for life after college.
The Effects of Parental Educational Attainment on Student Loan Debt
Megan J.F. Will
While the student loan crisis has been reviewed and studied from multiple perspectives, one area lacking in research is the effect a parent’s level of education has on the type of, amount of, and involvement in their child’s student loans. In order to address this issue, this study asked the following two questions: (1) Is there a relationship between the level of education parents complete and their degree of participation in completing their children’s financial aid and student loan applications? (2) Will a student whose parent(s) has some level of post-secondary educational attainment be less likely to take on private loans than a student whose parent(s) has no post-secondary educational attainment? To answer this question, an online survey was sent to 4,660 undergraduate students at a private four-year institution located in the Midwest who had student loan indicators on their bursar accounts. Data from respondents (n = 353) indicated that as their parent(s)’s level of education increased, their involvement in the student loan process, particularly in completing the FAFSA and in deciding how much money their child should borrow, increased. Survey results also indicated parents with higher levels of education were more likely to encourage their children to take on federal loans over private loans. By utilizing these findings, recruiters and financial aid officers can improve educational practices to help first-generation students and their parents better understand the student loan process and the implications of borrowing to pay for higher education.
The Impact of Metaperception on College Men's Students Development
Chickering and Reisser (1993) developed seven vectors to student development to explain a student’s progression from their first year in college to their final year. Studies show that women often enter college already having developed through all seven vectors of student development: developing competence, managing emotions, moving from autonomy toward interdependence, establishing mature interpersonal relationships, establishing identity, developing purpose and establishing integrity. Meanwhile men frequently do not develop through the first vector of student development in their final year of college. This study seeks to investigate why this problem with men exists in higher education by examining how much metaperception influences their development across the seven vectors. Metaperception is a person’s view of other people’s view of them. To investigate this phenomenon, five male undergraduate students from the University of Dayton were interviewed. The results pointed to common themes between the five men: they cannot open up to and/or be themselves around other men outside of their immediate circle, feel inadequate for not meeting the ideal masculine standards, and receive insults from others for not “correctly” performing masculinity. The participants also cited that familial influences contributed to the ways in which they perform masculinity. Results can give student affairs practitioners insight into how to mitigate the negative effects of metaperception on men.
The Resident Assistant Role and Future Employability
Undergraduate students experience learning in a number of ways both in and outside of the classroom, but research has failed to explore the specific employability skills gained by resident assistants through their role and the impact that these skills have on future employment. In response, this project sought to address the following questions: (1) What are the transferrable skills gained from being a resident assistant that are used in the workplace, (2) How have these transferrable skills aided in the advancement of previous RA’s careers? The researcher conducted interviews with five former resident assistants who have been graduated for at least five years. Results demonstrate several common employability skills gained through the resident assistant experience as well as specific instances where these skills are used to both gain and sustain employment. This study has implications for helping resident assistants understand how to best leverage their experience in order to secure gainful employment in the future.
This collection contains the capstone projects of students in the master's program in higher education and student affairs (formerly known as college student personnel and higher education administration).
Printing is not supported at the primary Gallery Thumbnail page. Please first navigate to a specific Image before printing.