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Principles of Best Practice with Diverse College Students UC Irvine Student Affairs October, 2008.

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Presentation on theme: "Principles of Best Practice with Diverse College Students UC Irvine Student Affairs October, 2008."— Presentation transcript:

1 Principles of Best Practice with Diverse College Students UC Irvine Student Affairs October, 2008

2 Main Points Questioning assumptions and norms Questioning assumptions and norms Theory and research about key outcomes: Theory and research about key outcomes: –Student academic success –Sense of belonging –Preparation for a diverse workplace/society Implications for Student Affairs work

3 The Challenge: Educating Students in the Context of Inequality Rationale Demographic shifts: 60% of Americans will be from a distinct racial/ethnic group, CA is diverse Demographic shifts: 60% of Americans will be from a distinct racial/ethnic group, CA is diverse Student body diversity promotes learning outcomes, better prepares students for diverse workplace and society, and better prepares them as professionals (Sandra Day O’Connor, 2003) Student body diversity promotes learning outcomes, better prepares students for diverse workplace and society, and better prepares them as professionals (Sandra Day O’Connor, 2003) Economic benefits: Equalizing B.A. degree attainments across groups will generate billions in tax revenues and maintains high skill jobs Economic benefits: Equalizing B.A. degree attainments across groups will generate billions in tax revenues and maintains high skill jobs

4 Maximizing The Benefits of Diversity for Student Learning and Development Changing minds, changing assumptions: Diversity is an asset, inequality is the problem/Students are ready to learn Changing minds, changing assumptions: Diversity is an asset, inequality is the problem/Students are ready to learn Concept of “inclusive excellence,” focusing on student success (AAC&U) Concept of “inclusive excellence,” focusing on student success (AAC&U) Attention to multiple forms of a diverse learning environment, including representation, perceptions of the climate, and interactions across groups Attention to multiple forms of a diverse learning environment, including representation, perceptions of the climate, and interactions across groups

5 Transition and Adjustment to College First Year Findings

6 Theories of Transition “Rite of Passage” – Leaving prior relationships behind to form new ones (Tinto/Van Ganepp) “Rite of Passage” – Leaving prior relationships behind to form new ones (Tinto/Van Ganepp) Vectors of Student Development-Achieving Autonomy / Interdependence Vectors of Student Development-Achieving Autonomy / Interdependence (Chickering & Reisser) Social and academic integration, engagement Social and academic integration, engagement Period of disequilibrium- familiar habits and routines, automaticity are not viable—yields stress but also a tremendous learning opportunity (Ruble, Piaget) Period of disequilibrium- familiar habits and routines, automaticity are not viable—yields stress but also a tremendous learning opportunity (Ruble, Piaget)

7 Academic Adjustment: Challenges 97% of freshmen expected to make at least a B average, but 77% actually reported they did so (only about 17% reported making A’s) 97% of freshmen expected to make at least a B average, but 77% actually reported they did so (only about 17% reported making A’s) About 40% reported they were completely successful adjusting to the demands of college— 6% were unsuccessful About 40% reported they were completely successful adjusting to the demands of college— 6% were unsuccessful Students thought they were unsuccessful managing their time 15%, getting to know faculty 21%, developing effective study skills 11% Students thought they were unsuccessful managing their time 15%, getting to know faculty 21%, developing effective study skills 11%

8 Fewer Students Studying 6+ Hours a Week as High School Seniors

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10 Transition Conceptual Model Student Background Pre-college Academic Achievement Financial Concerns Family as External Push or Pull Factor College EntrySocial and Academic First Year Experiences First Year Outcomes Campus Structures that Link the Social and Academic Systems (specific programs, memberships, courses, advising) Peer Environment Quality of cross-racial friendships Racial Climate Competitive Climate Academic Development and Performance Psychological Sense of Integration: Success in Managing the Academic Sense of belonging at the institution Hurtado, Chang, Saenz, Espinosa, & Cabrera, (2007).

11 Predicting Successful Management of the Academic Environment Positive Expects contact with professors Ability to manage time Interaction with TA (URMs) Social self-concept (URMs) Academic advising by a junior/senior peer Academic advising by a junior/senior peer Working with academic advisor to select courses Hrs/wk studying or homework Relevance of coursework College GPA Negative Concern about financing college Interfering family responsibilities Climate: hostile racially or competitive Academic advising by another freshman peer (URMs)

12 Social Adjustment: Too Much or Too Little? 60% were completely successful in developing close friendships with other students; 58% participated in student clubs 60% were completely successful in developing close friendships with other students; 58% participated in student clubs Increase in drinking in first year: 62% drank wine or liquor, 55% drank beer frequently or occasionally –26% report 6+ hrs/week partying Increase in drinking in first year: 62% drank wine or liquor, 55% drank beer frequently or occasionally –26% report 6+ hrs/week partying 48% felt lonely or homesick frequently or occasionally, 35% felt isolated from campus life 48% felt lonely or homesick frequently or occasionally, 35% felt isolated from campus life

13 Personal/Emotional Adjustment and Renegotiation of Relationships Freshmen survey reflects an all time high of parental involvement in college decisions Freshmen survey reflects an all time high of parental involvement in college decisions Family support to succeed is important, but interfering family responsibilities detract from academic adjustment and sense of belonging in college Family support to succeed is important, but interfering family responsibilities detract from academic adjustment and sense of belonging in college 39% frequently felt overwhelmed by all they had to do, 31% reported occasional difficulty with roommates, 13% reported depression 39% frequently felt overwhelmed by all they had to do, 31% reported occasional difficulty with roommates, 13% reported depression

14 Sense of Belonging/Attachment to the Institution Social cohesion – students have other choices if they don’t feel a sense of attachment to the institution Social cohesion – students have other choices if they don’t feel a sense of attachment to the institution Research suggests connecting the academic and social systems to engage students Research suggests connecting the academic and social systems to engage students Finding a niche that connects students to the larger campus environment Finding a niche that connects students to the larger campus environment

15 Predictors of Sense of Belonging in the First Year Positive Academic advising by a peer (junior/senior +) Academic support program for URMs Cross racial interactions Change in ability to conduct research Successful management of the academic environment Social self-concept Family support to succeed Negative Interfering family responsibilities Perceptions of a hostile racial climate Concern about financing college Competition

16 Implications of Research Findings Facilitate methods of support and challenge—disequilibrium is uncomfortable but a necessary part of growth and development Facilitate methods of support and challenge—disequilibrium is uncomfortable but a necessary part of growth and development Validating students’ competencies and ability to overcome challenges Validating students’ competencies and ability to overcome challenges Racial dynamics within the institution can undermine college adjustment Racial dynamics within the institution can undermine college adjustment

17 Undergraduate Outcomes for a Multicultural Society Pluralistic Orientation – Thinking and interacting skills for a diverse workforce and society Pluralistic Orientation – Thinking and interacting skills for a diverse workforce and society Complex Thinking – Sociohistorical attributions, multiplicity, contextual knowing Complex Thinking – Sociohistorical attributions, multiplicity, contextual knowing Perspective-taking – Ability to see the world from someone else’s perspective Perspective-taking – Ability to see the world from someone else’s perspective

18 Informal Peer Interactions and Campus-facilitated Interactions Campus Practice Knowledge about diverse groups (curricula) Knowledge about diverse groups (curricula) Diversity co-curricular activities Diversity co-curricular activities Intergroup dialogue Intergroup dialogue Community service Community service Quality of informal peer interactions Outcome Complex thinking Pluralistic orientation Perspective-taking All outcomes

19 Implications of Rethinking Assumptions Student Affairs Can Shape the Climate for Learning: Creating new expectations/facilitating transition Creating new expectations/facilitating transition Acknowledge multiple demands on student time Acknowledge multiple demands on student time Eliminating hierarchy/increase collaboration Eliminating hierarchy/increase collaboration Intentional facilitation of intergroup relations Intentional facilitation of intergroup relations Harnessing the power of the peer group Harnessing the power of the peer group

20 CIRP Research Reports First Generation, Black, Asian, & Latina/o Students—Trends and College Studies Advancing in Higher Education: A Portrait of Latina/o College Freshmen at Four Year Institutions, Sylvia Hurtado, Victor B. Saenz, Jose Luis Santos, Nolan L. Cabrera

21 Resources Higher Education Research Institute—reports on freshmen and research on students and faculty: Science students: Research in Higher Education, Journal of Higher Education, Journal of College Student Development


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