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News & Press: Association News

2018/2019 Catalyst Grant Winners

Sunday, May 6, 2018   (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.

Perceptions of Sense of Belonging in Transfer Students
Kimberly Holmes, Ms. Adrienne D Thompson and Isaac Agbeshie-Noye George Mason University
This study will explore the varying ways in which transfer students develop a sense of belonging. By exploring transfer student sense of belonging after the first semester, the findings of the study will provide rich data to better assess learning outcomes associated for transitional program targeted towards transfer students. In addition, we hope that by segmenting our samples based on their semester of admission, we will deepen knowledge around how this timing could affect a student's ability to successfully transition to a new campus environment.

The HBCU Enrollment Resurgence: Investigating the College Decision Making Process and Campus Experience of Black Students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities
Robert T Palmer - Howard University and Dr. Janelle L Williams the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia and a Visiting Scholar at the Penn Center for Minority Serving Institutions
Anecdotal and some empirical evidence has appeared in popular higher education periodicals discussing an uptick in the enrollment of Black students attending HBCUs. The purpose of this study is to understand the critical factors responsible for the enrollment resurgence, in addition to the factors undergirding student enrollment in HBCUs in a contemporary context, which can help to retain current students and attract future students.

Intelligence Mindset and First-Year Student Success
Ryan Korstange and Tom Brinthaupt - Middle Tennessee University
Student success research demonstrates the value of a growth mindset with respect to one’s intelligence. This exploratory research will address the stability of mindset beliefs during the transition to and first year of college. Pilot research on our campus showed that the majority (nearly 75%) of entering students reported a growth intelligence mindset (i.e., that their intelligence is something that can be changed and improved). We believe incoming college students may be parroting what they have heard in secondary education about how they should view their own intelligence, with the result that their self-reported mindsets inaccurately reflect their actual beliefs once they have begun college. Our primary research question is how the stability of mindset beliefs relates to first-year student success.

Thriving in College: A Study of Black Student Success at the University of South Florida
Dr. Kali Morgan and Dr. Tonisha Lane - the University of South Florida
The University of South Florida (USF) is a unique research site for this study, as six-year graduation rates for Black students are nearly equal that of their White peers, a statistic standing in stark contrast to national graduation rates.  As such, understanding the factors and experiences that support Black students’ success at USF may be critical to other institutions seeking to facilitate educational equity. Thus, the purpose of this study is to better understand the experiences of Black students at USF through a sense of belonging framework.


An Exploration of Student Success Outcomes for GRIT: UWF Summer Bridge Program
Peyton Lipscomb and Dr. Joshua Schutts - University of West Florida
The purpose of this study is to explore the effectiveness of the GRIT summer bridge program (SBP) at improving student success outcomes. More specifically, we seek to determine if GRIT program participants earn higher first fall term GPAs and make satisfactory academic progress (retention to second fall semester with cumulative GPA of at least 2.0) at a higher rate than previous students of similar demographic profiles.


Assessing the Efficacy of a Transition and Support Program with Underrepresented and First-Generation Students
Dr. Michele Smith - Missouri State University

The purpose of this study is to assess a new transitional program at Missouri State University for students with historically lower persistence and graduation rates. These are underrepresented, first-generation students, and with a composite ACT of 18-23. Our research question investigates whether participation in a year-long transitional program improves student GPA and persistence to second year compared to similar students not enrolled in a transitional program.

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