Program Research and Scholarly Contributions
In addition to assessing the effectiveness of the UNIV 101 program to promote continuous improvement and sustainability, it is also a principal goal of the program to contribute to UNC’s scholarly mission as well as to the literature in areas related to student persistence, motivation and learning, instructional practice, and others. As a result, a program of research has been designed to help fulfill this goal.
- Study on student persistence and academic success applying a rigorous research methodology using propensity score matching that can be utilized in contexts where randomization is not feasible and dependence between subjects is a concern. This study aims to extend propensity score matching to the next level so that hierarchical modeling techniques can be used to help minimize error due to the likelihood of dependence between nested students.
- Research project on the role of self-determination, a motivation construct, in the first year experience and college outcomes. It is likely that self-determination may help explain the outcomes associated with first year programs.
- Quantitative program evaluation research on the UNIV 101 program in order to determine its potential relationships to student persistence and academic success at this university.
- Empirical evaluation on the effectiveness of the Summer Bridge Program for student athletes. Summer 2012 will be the first implementation of this program and will include three courses for a total of 6 credits.
Recently Completed Projects
- Study investigating the role of cognitive factors (e.g., motivation, academic self-efficacy) in predicting student persistence and academic success. We determined that these cognitive factors have additional predictive utility beyond indicators of past academic performance (e.g., GPA, SAT/ACT scores).
- Investigation of the relationships between self-determination and participation in University 101 with student first-semester achievement. University 101 has been designed to promote self-determination by creating environments that foster autonomy, competence, and relatedness.
- Presentation on first year seminar program development hosted by a national conference on the first year experience. Research focused on identifying and assessing learning outcomes that are traced from university-level requirements to specific course learning activities. Clearly defined learning objectives and how they are assessed serve as powerful tools to promote interest for university-wide stakeholders, including students.
- Measurement study evaluating an adapted self-determination assessment scale for use with first-year college students, focusing on its factor structure and psychometrics. The CFA results supported a 13-item model that demonstrated adequate fit to the data. Additionally, preliminary construct validity evidence for this measure was provided by a strong positive relationship between the adapted scale and satisfaction with life in college.