Connecting in Class? College Class Size and Inequality in Academic Social Capital

​Beattie, I.R., and M. Thiele. 2016. “Connecting in Class? College Class Size and Inequality in Academic Social Capital.” The Journal of Higher Education, 87, 332–362.


Summary

Irenee R. Beattie and Megan Thiele ask an important question: Does class size affect the academic interactions of students of color and first-generation students? They posit that larger classes hinder student interactions focused on academic and career matters with professors and peers. Beattie and Thiele view such interactions as forms of academic social capital. Social capital constitutes a resource that individuals acquire through their interactions and relationships with other individuals within one’s social network.

Beattie and Thiele examine three types of interactions with professors and peers that foster student success: interactions regarding course material and/or assignments, interactions about future careers, and discussions of ideas from readings or classes. Grades, satisfaction, and confidence increase with peer and faculty member interactions regarding course material and assignments (Anaya and Cole 2001; Kuh 1995). Post-college career success may result because of interactions with faculty members and peers regarding future careers. Discussions of ideas resulting from readings or classes with faculty members and peers may enhance student learning and critical thinking (Arum and Roksa 2011; Kuh 1995). These types of interactions or forms of social capital constitute hallmarks of the educational experience at CIC member institutions. The types of student success that may result from such forms of social capital also mirror the desired outcomes of attending CIC member colleges and universities.

The three types of interactions with professors and peers were measured using items from a survey titled “Social Interactions and Academic Opportunities (SIAO) Survey.” The survey was administered online in spring 2011 to a random sample of 403 undergraduate students at a public research university. The analytical sample consisted of 346 survey respondents who attended classes during the fall 2010 semester. On such important student characteristics as race/ethnicity and first-generation status, this sample was representative of the student population at the university where this research took place.


Discussion of the Findings

Beattie and Thiele used a series of logistic regression analyses to determine the influence of class size on the types of academic interactions or forms of social capital previously described above. The authors controlled for various factors that also might account for such student academic interactions above and beyond the influence of class size.

Class size negatively affects student interactions with faculty concerning course material or assignments regardless of their race-ethnicity or first-generation status. Nevertheless, the findings suggest students of color and first-generation college students experience inequalities in social capital. These inequalities may occur in academic interactions such as discussing ideas from class and career plans with faculty or peers. More specifically, class size negatively affects academic interactions of first-generation college students in the form of discussing ideas from class with professors. For African American students, class size also negatively influences discussions with faculty about career plans. For interactions with peers concerning career plans, class size negatively affects such interactions for Latino students.


Implications for Action by Campus Leaders

Although the pattern of findings of this study was derived from a sample of students in a public research university, the results, nevertheless, hold implications for CIC member institutions. Because of enduring patterns of social inequality experienced by first-generation students and students of color, they enter college with lower levels of self-esteem and academic self-confidence needed to engage in academic interactions with faculty members and student peers. Put differently, pre-existing inequalities in social capital of the classroom prevail regardless of institutional size or type.

Thus, the inequalities in how class size affects students of color and first-generation status signals a policy alarm for CIC member institutions. CIC colleges and universities should consider establishing an upper limit on class size. Given that Beattie and Thiele found that the likelihood of discussing class material and assignments with faculty substantially decreases as class size rises from 60 to 150 students, CIC institutions should consider a policy of setting an upper limit of 60 students for most classes offered at the college.

Increasing class size presents a tantalizing opportunity to decrease instructional costs. But increasing class size leads to a decrease in the types of academic interactions engaged in by students, which in turn, hinders their achievement of desired outcomes by attending a CIC college or university such as course learning and increased critical thinking abilities. CIC member colleges and universities experiencing enrollment and revenue declines need to be mindful of the hidden consequences of increasing class size for students in general and for first-generation and students of color in particular.


Literature Readers May Wish to Consult

There are two categories of literature that readers may wish to consult to further their understanding of class size related both to students of color and to first-generation students. One category includes the references cited in this article review and the other category includes a reference that provides readers with an understanding of the effects of class size.


References Cited in This Review

Anaya, G., and D.G. Cole. 2001. “Latina/o Student Achievement: Exploring the Influence of Student-Faculty Interactions on College Grades.” Journal of College Student Development, 42(1), 3–14.

Arum R., and J. Roksa. 2011. Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

Kuh, G. 1995. “The Other Curriculum: Out-of-Class Experiences Associated with Student Learning and Personal Development.” The Journal of Higher Education, 66(2), 123–155.


Reference for Understanding

Pascarella, E.T., and E.T. Terenzini. 2005. How College Affects Students: Volume 2: A Third Decade of Research. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. Especially pp. 94–95.

Settling in: The Role of Individual and Departmental Tactics in the Development of New Faculty Networks

​Fleming, S.S., A.W. Goldman, S.J. Correll, and C.J. Taylor. 2016. “Settling in: The Role of Individual and Departmental Tactics in the Development of New Faculty Networks.” The Journal of Higher Education, 87(4), 544–572.

Summary

Faculty members new to a college or university adjust to its organization through the process of organizational socialization. More specifically, organizational socialization entails the acquisition of attitudes, behaviors, and knowledge needed to participate as a member of the organization (Feldman 1976; Van Maanen and Schein 1979). Increased job satisfaction (Ashforth and Saks 1996) and greater levels of role performance (Lee, Mitchell, Sablynski, Burton and Holtom 2004) or productivity (Dess and Shaw, 2001) constitute positive effects of successful organizational socialization in contrast to employee turnover as a consequence of ineffective organizational socialization (Fisher 1986). As a result effective organizational socialization stands as an important matter for campus leaders especially for those colleges and universities that are able to hire new faculty members.

The development of newcomer social networks plays an important role in the process of organizational socialization (Carpenter, Li, and Jiang 2012). Susan S. Fleming, Alyssa W. Goldman, Shelley J. Correll, and Catherine J. Taylor conducted a qualitative inquiry to ascertain how newcomer social networks develop. They interviewed 34 new untenured, tenure-track faculty members at a large highly competitive research university. These in-depth, structured interviews included questions about the social connections used to gather information, advice, influences, and research collaborations. Other questions centered on the social connections used for friendship and emotional support. Interview questions also explored the intentional and unintentional strategies new faculty members used to make the needed social contacts.

Discussion of the Findings

Fleming et al. identified common categories and themes from the analysis of the interviews. They found seven factors that influence the formation of networks and the degree to which new faculty members perceived themselves to be integrated into their academic departments. These factors are: department culture and department chair, mentoring, research collaboration, degree of interdisciplinarity of the participant’s field, physical location of the participant’s office, degree of involvement in department committee work, and the breadth of the participant’s peer network. The researchers arrayed these seven factors into individual and departmental dimensions. Through their analyses of these seven factors the authors discerned the importance of organizational factors to networking as a key finding of this study. To elaborate, they identified the characteristics of academic departments that enhanced the networking and integration of new faculty members into the department. The researchers labeled such departments as “Enhancing Departments.”

Characteristics of enhancing departments include a supportive and welcoming department culture and chairperson, an effective mentoring program, active assistance to faculty members seeking collaboration with other faculty members, the assignment of new faculty members to important committees, placement of new faculty offices that prevent the isolation of new faculty members and encourages interaction between junior and senior faculty members, and the presence of other pre-tenure faculty peers.

Implications for Campus Leaders

These characteristics of enhancing departments provide presidents and chief academic officers at CIC colleges and universities with organizational tactics to foster the organizational socialization of faculty members new to their college or university. Put differently, these characteristics as organizational tactics offer clear-cut recommendations for action by chief academic officers. In conjunction with department chairs, chief academic officers should take the following actions:

  • Assign a mentor to each new faculty member. Informal mentoring as well as formal mentoring should be fostered.
  • Assign new faculty members to key institutional or departmental committees. Such an assignment entails a trade-off between the benefits of committee membership and the time that committee work takes away from new faculty member’s teaching and research.
  • When possible, new faculty members should be assigned to offices that encourage interactions between new faculty, senior faculty, and pre-tenure peers.


Literature Readers May Wish to Consult

There are two categories of literature that readers may wish to consult to further their understanding of new faculty and organizational socialization. One category includes some of the references cited in this article review and the other category includes references that provide readers with an understanding of organizational socialization.

References Cited in This Review

Ashforth, B.E., and A.M. Saks. 1996. “Socialization Tactics: Longitudinal Effects on Newcomer Adjustment.” Academic of Management Journal, 39(1), 149–178.

Carpenter, M.A., M. Li, and H. Jiang. 2012. “Social Network Research in Organizational Contexts: A Systematic Review of Methodological Issues and Choices.” Journal of Management, 38(4), 1328–1361.

Dess, G.G. and J.D. Shaw. 2001. “Voluntary Turnover, Social Capital, and Organizational Performance.” Academy of Management Review, 26(3), 446-456.

Feldman, D.C. 1976. “A practical program for employee socialization.” Organizational Dynamics, 5(2), 64–89.

Fisher, C.D. 1986. “Organizational socialization: An Integrative Review.” In K.M. Rowland and G.R. Ferris (Eds.) Research in Personnel and Human Resources Management, 4, 101–145, Greenwich, CT: JAI Press.

Lee, T.W., T.R. Mitchell, C.J. Sablynski, J.P. Burton and B.C. Holtom. 2004. “The Effects of Job Embededness on Organizational Citizenship, Job Performance, Volitional Absences, and Voluntary Turnover.” Academy of Management Journal, 47 (5), 711–722.

References for Understanding

Tierney, W.G., and E.M. Bensimon. 1996. Promotion and Tenure: Community and Socialization in Academe. Albany, NY: SUNY Press.

Van Maanen, J., and E.H. Schein. 1979. Towards a Theory of Organizational Socialization.” In B.M. Staw (Ed.) Research in Organizational Behavior, 1, 209–264, Greenwich, CT: JAI Press.

How Many Credit Hours Should an Undergraduate Take?

​Attewell, P., and D. Monaghan. 2016. “How Many Credit Hours Should an Undergraduate Take?” Research in Higher Education, 57, 682–713.


Summary

Paul Attewell and David Monaghan attend to an important public and institutional policy question pertinent to low college completion rates and the increased time to earn a degree. What mechanisms exist to boost college completion rates and reduce the time to earn a degree? Attewell and Monaghan point to increasing the number of credit hours taken in the first semester of college from 12 to 15 credit hours as one such mechanism.

The notion of increasing the number of credit hours taken in the first semester of college from 12 to 15 hours stems from Adelman’s academic momentum concept (Adelman 1999, 2004, 2006). The concept emphasizes the timely accumulation of credits during the first year of college.

Attewell and Monaghan empirically test the academic momentum concept by determining whether students who take 15 hours during their first semester are more likely to graduate within six years of their initial enrollment than are students who take 12 credit hours during their first semester of college.


Discussion of the Findings

Attewell and Monaghan used the statistical procedure of propensity score matching (PSM) to approximate a randomized control group design of randomly assigning subjects to treatment and to control groups (Rosenbaum 2002). In this study, students taking 12 credit hours rather than 15 credit hours during the first semester of college formed the treatment group. PSM creates treatment and control groups with similar characteristics based on their likelihood of taking either 12 or 15 credit hours. Put differently, PSM accounts for student selection bias toward taking 12 as contrasted with taking 15 credit hours.

The Beginning Postsecondary Students Longitudinal Study (BPS) was the data source for this study. The BPS is a longitudinal study that includes a nationally representative sample of first-year students who entered college during the 2003–2004 academic year and were surveyed in 2009. This timeline permits measuring college graduation within six years of enrollment. Attewell and Monaghan constructed an analytical sample of 6,730 students.

The multivariate models tested by Attewell and Monaghan indicate that students taking 12 credit hours during the first semester in contrast with those students taking 15 credit hours are less likely to earn their degrees within six years of their initial enrollment. Stated differently, taking 15 credit hours rather than 12 credit hours boosts a student’s chance of completing college within six years.


Implications for Action by Campus Leaders

CIC colleges and universities concerned with their four-year and six-year graduation rates should consider establishing a 15 credit hours per semester policy, especially during the first semester, as the minimum course load. Degree requirements of CIC member institutions should stipulate that a minimum 15 credit hour course load is expected each semester until graduation. Those students wishing to take 12 credit hours would need to request a waiver of this requirement with a cogent rationale.

Chief academic officers at CIC institutions would need to embrace a 15 credit hour policy and steer it through appropriate faculty governance bodies and standing committees to assure faculty acceptance of this policy.


Literature Readers May Wish to Consult

There are two categories of literature that readers may wish to consult to further their understanding of course credit hour policies. One category includes the reference cited in this article review and the other category includes a reference that provides readers with an understanding of the effects of credit hour course loads on students.

References Cited in This Review

Adelman, C. 1999. Answers to the Tool Box. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education.

Adelman, C. 2004. Principal Indicators of Student Academic Histories in Postsecondary Education, 1972–2000. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education.

Adelman, C. 2006. The Toolbox Revisited: Paths to Degree Completion from High School Through College. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education.

Rosenbaum, P.R. 2002. Observational Studies. New York, NY: Springer.

Reference for Understanding

Complete College America. 2013. The Power of 15 Credits: Enrollment Intensity and Postsecondary Student Achievement. Washington, DC: Complete College America.

Bounded Aspirations: Rural, African American High School Students and College Access

​Means, D.R., A.B. Clayton, J.G. Conzelmann, P. Baynes, and P.D. Umbach. 2016. “Bounded Aspirations: Rural, African American High School Students and College Access.” The Review of Higher Education, 39(4), 543–569.


Summary

Darris R. Means, Ashley B. Clayton, Johnathan G. Conzelmann, Patti Baynes, and Paul D. Umbach assert that few studies have focused on the college choice process for rural African American high school students despite the fact that more than half of the school districts in the United States are considered rural and about one quarter of all public high school students are enrolled in a rural school (National Center for Educational Statistics 2013, p.1). To address this gap in knowledge of the college choice process, Means et al.’s study seeks to identify common themes regarding the college choice process for rural, African American high school students.

To identify common themes, the authors conducted interviews with 26 African American high school juniors (17 female and nine males) enrolled in a rural public high school, representing approximately 42 percent of their class. To gain further verification for the themes identified, the authors also interviewed 11 school staff members including the principal, the school counselor, and six teachers.

Semi-structured interviews were conducted with each of the 26 students. The interview protocol included such questions as: What do you think attending college would be like? What might help you pursue higher education? What might prevent you from pursuing a college education?


Discussion of the Findings

Through their qualitative analysis, Means et al. identified three common themes: (1) the tensions of staying or going: college and career aspirations and rurality, (2) “pushed and encouraged” without a roadmap, and (3) financial aid and academic barriers to higher education. Each of these themes is described below.

The Tensions of Staying or Going: College and Career Aspirations and Rurality. The rural environment influences student views about the career and higher education opportunities available to them. The researchers identify two points of tension that emerge. One point centers on the limited career opportunities available in rural communities to college graduates; the other pertains to the students’ feelings regarding leaving home to attend college. The tensions of staying or going encompassed such issues as the desire to stay close to home and to take care of their families. Students might decide to go away to college but not outside of their state due to these tensions.

“Pushed and Encouraged” without a Roadmap. Despite their misgivings about going to college, students report having support from significant others such as family members, their school counselor, and their teachers. They had access to information about college-going, but the lack of a college-going culture at the school prevented them from acquiring such a roadmap. The goal of most of the students was to graduate from high school. As a consequence, school counselors had to give hands-on support to students to equip them with information. Although students report being “pushed and encouraged,” they nevertheless lacked a roadmap to reach higher education. Put differently, these students have not used the various sources of information on college-going to formulate a detailed plan for enrolling and then succeeding in college.

Financial Aid and Academic Barriers to Higher Education. The students interviewed discussed two primary barriers to higher education. One barrier pertained to their concerns about the cost of going to college. The authors noted that students were misinformed to the point of overestimating college costs. A lack of knowledge about financial aid was evident in that some students did not link receiving financial aid with the completion of the FAFSA form. Students also reported concerns about their academic preparation, citing a lack of academically rigorous courses. Their high school did not offer any advanced preparation courses such as advance placement (AP) classes.


Implications for Action by Campus Leaders

The above three themes pertaining to the college-going process for rural African American high school students point out constraints to the enrollment of African American students especially from rural high schools for CIC member colleges and universities. Because of such constraints, CIC institutions should set realistic goals for their enrollment of rural African American students.

In addition to goal setting, these three themes suggest programs that CIC member institutions might develop to assist rural African American high school students in their college-going process. For example, the authors recommend offering summer bridge programs for such students. The availability of summer bridge programs may alleviate some of the tensions of going away to college that rural African American students report. Presidents and chief academic officers also should encourage and financially support the admissions offices of their institutions to conduct college-going workshops at rural high schools enrolling African American students. These college-going workshops would provide information on the college application process as well as financial aid and the importance of completing the FAFSA form. Because of the importance of family support for going to college that rural African American students describe, family members might also be encouraged to attend such workshops.


Literature Readers May Wish to Consult

The following references are recommended for readers who want to learn more about the college choice process of African American high school students.

Bergerson, A.A. 2009. College Choice and Access to College: Moving Policy Research and Practice to the 21st Century. ASHE Higher Education Report, 35(4). San Franciso, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Byrum, S., L.L. Meece, and M.J. Irvin. 2012. “Rural-Nonrural Disparities in Postsecondary Educational Attainment Revisited.” American Educational Research Journal, 49, 412–437.

Freeman, K. 2005. African Americans and College Choice: The Influence of Family and School. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press.

Trademark Trends and Brand Activity in Higher Education

​Rooksby, J.H., and C.S. Collins. “Trademark Trends and Brand Activity in Higher Education.” The Review of Higher Education, 40(1), 33–61.

Summary

Jacob H. Rooksby and Christopher S. Collins view slogan trademarks of colleges and universities as a form of intellectual property. They contend that the brand of an institution represents its efforts to embody the identity and aspirations of the focal college or university. Put differently, according to Rooksby and Collins, brand connotes reputation, quality, and values. Trademarks and slogans function as instruments to create memorable identities for an institution. Brand manifests itself in the form of trademarks.

Rooksby and Collins use three different sources to gather information on institutional trademarks. For example, trademarks registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office constituted one of the three databases.

Discussion of the Findings

One of the datasets used by Rooksby and Collins includes 1,105 trademarked slogans of colleges and universities. The authors note that 94 percent of these trademarks were registered between 2000 and the end of 2012. Table 1 of the article displays examples of 41 of these slogan trademarks owned by particular colleges and universities. Of these 41 colleges and universities, six hold membership in CIC.

These CIC member colleges and universities and their corresponding slogan trademark are as follows:

  • Buena Vista University―Iowa’s Accessibly Scaled, Eye-Opening University
  • Carlow University―Values, Scholarship, Vision
  • Drake University―Building a Winning Legacy
  • Furman University—Bridges to a Brighter Future
  • Guilford College—Become More
  • Hastings College—Pursue Your Passion

Rooksby and Collins arrange slogan trademarks into three categories. The first category includes slogan trademarks that convey the notion that colleges and universities are part of the real world. Examples of such slogan trademarks of this category include “Real World Thinking,” “Knowledge That Works,” and “Creating Value for the World.” A second category of slogan trademarks connotes the private benefits to the individual of attending the focal college or university. The slogan trademarks of Drake University (“Building a Winning Legacy”), Guilford College (“Become More”), and Hastings College (“Pursue Your Passion”) constitute examples of private-benefit type slogan trademarks. The third category conveys the notion that a given college or university contributes to the greater public good. According to the authors, “In the Nation’s Service and in the Service of All Nations,” the slogan trademark of Princeton University, fits this category.

Implications for Action by Campus Leaders

CIC colleges and universities considering or actively engaged in institutional positioning and branding should give serious consideration to the formulation of slogan trademarks that convey the current or aspirational identity of their college or university. Slogan trademarks that connote benefit to the individual would seem particularly relevant to CIC member colleges and universities. Changes to the general education component of the curriculum may provide an opportunity for the creation of a slogan trademark that symbolizes the goals of the curricular revision.

Literature Readers May Wish to Consult

The following reference will provide readers with an overview of marketing and advertising processes of college and universities.

Anctil, E.J. 2008. Selling Higher Education: Marketing and Advertising America’s Colleges and Universities. ASHE Higher Education Report, 34(2). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

The Impact of Diversity Courses on College Students’ Moral Development

​Parker, E.T., C.L. Barnhardt, E.T. Pascarella, and J.A. McCowin. 2016. “The Impact of Diversity Courses on College Students’ Moral Development.” The Journal of College Student Development, 37(4), 395–410.

Summary

The creation of inclusive and affirming campus environments constitutes an important issue confronting college and universities in general and independent colleges and universities in particular. The values of equity and inclusion stand as instrumental to the formation of an inclusive and affirming campus environment that improves the campus racial climate. The requirement of diversity courses as a part of the general education component of the undergraduate college curriculum constitutes an approach to improving campus racial climates.

In addition to reducing racial bias (Chang 2002), research demonstrates that taking a diversity course leads to an array of other positive outcomes such as cognitive and academic development (Nelson Laird, 2005), civic engagement (Bowman 2011), social justice, and action (Bowman 2010, 2011; Gurin, Dey, Hurtado, and Gurin 2002). Eugene T. Parker III, Cassie L. Barnhardt, Ernest T. Pascarella, and Jarvis A. McCowin report that taking a diversity course also may enhance the moral development of students, as the content of diversity courses can increase the capacity of students to make moral judgments on matters of human dignity, especially regarding racial differences. To elaborate, taking a diversity course produces a state of cognitive disequilibrium in students as issues emerge through encountering the content of the course and interacting with other students taking the course. Such encounters with course content result in opportunities for students to engage in moral reasoning, which in turn leads to an increase in their moral development. Accordingly, this article empirically addresses the question of whether taking a diversity course positively affects the moral development of students over a four-year period.

To empirically address the question of whether taking a diversity course positively affects the moral development of students, Parker et al. constructed a longitudinal sample comprised of 998 fourth-year, full-time undergraduate students who took the Defining Issues Test-2 (DIT-2) in the summer or early fall of 2006 as entering first-year students and again in the spring of 2010. These 998 students are enrolled in one of 17 four-year colleges and universities that participated in the Wabash National Study of Liberal Arts Education. These 17 institutions included 11 liberal arts colleges, three research universities, and three regional universities.

The DIT-2 assesses the degree to which students respond to moral dilemmas using higher-order post-conventional moral reasoning (Rest, Thomas, Narvaez, and Bebeau 1997). Given the above formulations of Parker et al. regarding the state of cognitive disequilibrium produced in students as they confront moral dilemmas involving equity and inclusion, their choice of the DIT-2 constitutes a very suitable measure of moral development.

Parker et al. measured student participation in a diversity course in several ways: a global measure and three specific measures. The global measure consisted of whether a student enrolled in one of the following types of diversity courses: diverse cultures and perspectives, women or gender studies, and issues of equality and/or social justice. The three specific measures correspond to these specific types of diversity courses and assess whether a student enrolled in a focal one.

Discussion of the Findings

The authors used ordinary least squares regression to determine if taking diversity courses positively affects student moral development. In their execution of this regression procedure, Parker et al. controlled for various factors that also might affect moral development in addition to taking diversity courses. They also controlled for the summer/early fall DIT-2 score of the 998 students that comprised the longitudinal sample used in this regression. The authors conducted two regression procedures: one with the global measure of taking a diversity course and the other with three separate measures of the specific types of diversity courses.

The results of the first regression analysis showed that taking at least one diversity course (global measure) influenced the moral development of students in a statistically significant positive way. The second regression conducted indicated that taking a diversity course that stressed diverse cultures and perspectives as well as enrolling in a diversity course that focused on equality and social justice also positively influenced student moral development in a statistically significant manner. Taking a women or gender studies course, however, yielded little or no effect on student moral development.

Implications for Action by Campus Leaders

Parker et al. commented on their findings by asserting, “these findings emerge as particularly compelling—and suggest that diversity courses as an aspect of the undergraduate curriculum are likely to yield a profound positive influence on students’ moral development discernment by the end of college.” This assertion provides a springboard for action by campus leaders at CIC member institutions regarding implications for institutional practice.

Institutions either currently involved in or contemplating a revision of the general education component of their undergraduate curriculum should consider the outcomes of this study. If not currently required, a diversity course as part of the general education component should receive serious consideration to help achieve an inclusive and affirming campus environment and to prepare graduates for a multicultural world. This requirement could be stated in the form of a choice between two types of diversity courses: one focused on diverse cultures and perspectives (e.g. African American Studies or Latino Studies) and the other a course pertaining to equity and social justice.

Mechanisms for fostering the moral development of students stand as an important consideration for CIC member colleges and universities. The findings of Parker et al. point to diversity courses as such a mechanism.

Literature Readers May Wish to Consult

There are two categories of literature that readers may wish to consult to further their understanding of both diversity courses and moral development. One category includes references cited in this article review and the other category includes references that provide readers with an understanding of both diversity courses and moral development.

References Cited in This Review

Bowman, N. 2011. “Promoting Participation in a Diverse Democracy: A Meta-Analysis of College Diversity Experiences and Civic Engagement.” Review of Educational Research, 81, 29–68.

Bowman, N. 2010. “Disequilibrium and Resolution: The Nonlinear Effects of Diversity Courses on Well-being and Orientation Toward Diversity.” Review of Higher Education, 33, 543–568.

Chang, M. 2002. “The Impact of an Undergraduate Diversity Course Requirement on Students’ Racial Views and Attitudes.” The Journal of General Education, 51, 21–42.

Gurin, P., E. Dey, S. Hurtado, and G. Gurin. 2002. “Diversity and Higher Education: Theory and Impact on Educational Outcomes.” Harvard Educational Review, 72, 330–367.

Nelson Laird, T.F. 2005. “College Students’ Experiences with Diversity and Their Effects on Academic Self-Confidence, Social Agency, and Disposition toward Critical Thinking.” Research in Higher Education, 46(4), 365–387.

Rest, J., S. Thomas, D. Narvaez, and M. Bebeau. 1997. “Alchemy and Beyond: Indexing the Defining Issues Test.” Journal of Educational Psychology, 89, 498–507.

References for Understanding

Goodstein, L. 1994. “Achieving a Multicultural Curriculum Conceptual, Pedagogical, and Structural Issues.” The Journal of General Education, 43, 102–116.

Kohlberg, L., and R. Hersh. 1977. “Moral Development: A Review of the Theory.” Theory into Practice, 16, 53–59.

The Influence of Campus Climate on the Academic and Athletic Success of Student Athletes: Results from a Multi-Institutional National Study

​Rankin, S., D. Merson, J.C. Garvey, C.H. Sorgen, I. Menon, K. Loya, and L. Oseguera. 2016. “The Influence of Campus Climate on the Academic and Athletic Success of Student Athletes: Results from a Multi-Institutional National Study.” The Journal of Higher Education, 87, 701–730.

Summary

In the abstract to this article, Susan Rankin, Dan Merson, Jason C. Garvey, Carl H. Sorgen, India Menon, Karla Loya, and Leticia Oseguera state that student athletes experience college life in a unique way. Accordingly, this article reports the findings of the Student-Athletes Climate Study (SACS). This study focused on the influence of the characteristics of students and their perceptions of the campus climate on academic success, athletic success, and athletic identity. Of these three outcomes, the academic success of intercollegiate athletes holds particular significance for CIC member institutions because of the role intercollegiate athletics plays in the fabric of small and mid-sized colleges and universities. Likewise, faculty-student interactions, one of the seven dimensions of campus climate of interest to Rankin et al., looms as important to CIC member institutions because of the institutional emphasis placed on such interactions.

Rankin et al. invited all 1,281 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) member institutions to participate in SACS, and 164 of them chose to take part in the study. A total of 8,481 student athletes completed the survey instrument designed by SACS. All NCAA Divisions and all 23 NCAA championship sports are represented in this sample of student athletes, including 2,451 individuals who participate in Division III athletics. The authors weighted this sample by gender, race, class standing, and NCAA Division to make it more representative of the total population.

The academic success of student athletes was operationalized in this study as the student’s perception of their own academic and intellectual development since enrolling in their college or university. Such an indicator of academic success fits well with the educational goals of CIC member institutions.

Discussion of the Findings

Rankin et al. used structural equation modeling (SEM) to assess the influence of various student characteristics and seven measures of campus climate on each of the three outcome measures of academic success, athletic success, and athletic identity. Through their SEM analysis, the authors found a strong positive relationship between faculty-student interactions and the academic success of student athletes. Moreover, student athletes in Division III institutions experienced greater degrees of academic success as a consequence of their higher levels of interactions with faculty members. The authors also point out that in comparison to their white counterparts, student athletes of color tend to experience lower degrees of academic success. Moreover, female student athletes reported higher degrees of academic success than did male student athletes.

Implications for Action by Campus Leaders

The pattern of findings in this study provides presidents of CIC member institutions with an academically grounded justification for intercollegiate athletics especially at the Division III level. These findings could also apply to institutions that participate in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). For intercollegiate student athletes a clear pathway exists for the attainment of academic success in the form of academic and intellectual development. Frequent interactions with faculty members afford such a pathway. Both academic and intellectual development and frequent faculty-student interactions constitute standard pillars of an undergraduate education at CIC member colleges and universities. As a consequence, a schism between athletes and academics need not exist.

Presidents and chief academic officers should work with the directors of athletes, department chairs, and chief student affairs officers to develop policies and practices that encourage student athletes to have frequent interactions with faculty members. Put differently, collaboration between academics and athletics should occur in CIC institutions. Kuh et al. (2005) delineate some ways to encourage faculty and student interactions. These include discussions about career plans, ideas from readings or classes, grades, or assignments. Working with faculty members on research projects and on various committees and student life activities are additional ways for students and faculty to interact (Kuh et al. 2005). Chairpersons of academic departments and student affairs professionals should encourage such faculty-student interactions for athletes. Put differently, student athletes should be held to the same expectations for interactions with faculty members as students who do not participate in intercollegiate sports.

The athletic department and team coaches bear primary responsibility for the encouragement of faculty members to interact with student athletes. In particular, team coaches should encourage their players to interact with faculty members in general and with their faculty advisors in particular. If a player wishes to work on a research project with a faculty member, coaches should permit occasional late attendance at practice or team meetings. If meetings with faculty members to discuss career plans or ideas can only be scheduled during team practice times or team meetings, coaches should occasionally permit athletes to be late for practice or a team meeting. Some athletic departments explicitly include programs designed to foster the personal development of athletes. Such programs should consider requiring student athletes to interact frequently with faculty members, especially with their faculty academic advisors.

Literature Readers May Wish to Consult

There are two categories of literature that readers may wish to consult to further their understanding of both student athletes and faculty member interaction. One category includes the reference cited in this review and the other category includes a reference that provides readers with an understanding of the experiences of intercollegiate athletes in Division III.

Reference Cited in This Review

Kuh, G., J. Kinzie, J. Schuh, and E. Whitt. 2005. Student Success in College: Creating Conditions That Matter. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. Chapter 10 describes various approaches to encouraging faculty and student interactions.

Reference for Understanding

Bowen, W., and S. Levin. 2011. Reclaiming the Game: College Sports and Educational Values. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. The authors of this book focus on the admissions and academic experiences of recruited athletes, walk-on athletes, and other students.