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NODA 2015 Catalyst Grant Recipients

Thursday, June 11, 2015   (0 Comments)
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The OTR Catalyst Grant is designed to catalyze new research that will advance both knowledge and best practices in orientation, transition, and retention. Prospective research studies, pilot studies, exploratory research projects (qualitative and quantitative), as well as assessment-based best practices (as defined by Upcraft and Schuh, 2002) that may be generalized were considered for this award. Congratulations to the 2015 recipients! You can find their information below.

Timothy Bono, Washington University in St. Louis

Executive Summary: Although the freshman transition has received much attention in the student development literature, many questions remain about its reverberations through the later years of college, especially for students from underrepresented minority backgrounds. By examining the academic performance and psychological well-being of upperclassmen who completed weekly web-based diaries during their first semester of college, this mixed methods research aims to provide greater insight into the consequences of the freshman transition, and its relationship to progress and adjustment through the remaining years. Results should benefit educators interested in the impact of the freshman transition on important educational outcomes beyond the first year, especially for students from underrepresented backgrounds.

Stephanie Foote, Kennesaw State University

Executive Summary: The purpose of this research is to determine the extent to which participation in a transfer student seminar influences students’ perceptions of development in academic and career exploration, planning, and engagement. Transfer student seminar instructors at the three institutions in this pilot study: Kennesaw State University (KSU), University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW), and the University of Tennessee - Knoxville (UTK) will use a common student survey and rubric to evaluate student perceptions before and after participation in each of the seminars. Because there is a paucity of research on outcomes associated with transfer student seminars, this pilot study would fill an important gap in the existing research.

Casandra Harper, University of Missouri

Executive Summary: The purpose of this intrinsic case study (Stake, 2005) is to understand the peer-mentorship orientation program among parents and families within one institutional context. We seek to understand the ways in which this program offers sources of support and adjustment for participants, which by extension also serves their first-year students.

Cara D. Appel-Silbaugh, Georgia Institute of Technology

Executive Summary: The purpose of this study is to understand the culture of orientation leaders at a large, public, research institution. Specifically, the Research Team is interested in how this culture is understood by underrepresented students in the population. As will be clarified further in this proposal, taking part in orientation as a student leader is a significant and meaningful experience for student development and learning. However, at the research site there is an identifiable gap in the participation of underrepresented students. To better understand the culture of these student leaders and better engage underrepresented students this study will be guided by the following research question: How do community members describe and define the culture of orientation leaders?

Victoria Svoboda, University of Wisconsin – La Crosse

Executive Summary: The purpose of this research project is to explore student experiences of the common retention practice of "early alert” interventions with students of color at predominately White campuses. Multicultural student services (MSS) staff often use mi

dterm grades or faculty notices to identify "at-risk” students. They may outreach to students through phone calls, texts, emails, or letters to help connect them to campus resources. At some campuses, this "early alert” practice is done for all students, and at others, it is done just for those groups of students who are deemed "at risk” (students on probation, students of color at predominantly White institutions, low-income students, etc.). This project aims to identify how undergraduate students of color experience those interventions.


Mary Utter, University of Pittsburgh

Executive Summary: The transfer function is a critical component of higher education and has garnered more attention by scholars and policymakers as the number of students transferring institutions has increased (Adelman, 2006). As this population grows, there are questions that the higher education community must consider such as: what is the role of the sending and receiving institution in facilitating successful transfer and promoting student success, how do the experiences of transfer students vary from native students and what programs and services are needed to support this population. Current research on transfer student success has centered predominantly on the vertical (two to four-year) transfer student experience and has not given consideration for the diversity within the transfer population, which may influence the student experience. This current research, examines transfer student social integration by exploring how type of transfer and previous collegiate experience influences student’s perception of successful social integration. Doing so will help to explore how vertical and lateral (four-to-four year) transfer student populations are unique in their social integration experiences. The findings will be influential to our understanding of how institutions can support student success for these populations.


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