Cultivating Community The Second-Year for

Dr. Dena Kniess & Dr. Tony Cawthon
ACPA Conference
March 31, 2014
Background of the Study
Purpose of the Study
Research Questions
Review of the Literature
Theoretical Framework
Gaps in literature for second to third year
retention (Nora, Barlow, & Crisp, 2005)
Difference in persistence rates for minority
students from second to third year (Smith,
Issues of retention and persistence for
minority students are viewed similar to those
of majority students (Rendon, Jalomo, & Nora,
The purpose of this study was to build upon
the existing base of research pertaining to the
second-year experience in college.
The goal of the study was to better understand
the experiences of underrepresented college
students in their second-year of college and to
discover ways to improve their in- and out-ofclass learning experiences.
Primary research question
◦ What are the experiences of underrepresented
college students during their second- year at a
college or university?
Secondary research questions
◦ How do underrepresented students experience the
in-classroom and out-of classroom environments
during their second-year?
◦ What relationships are important for
underrepresented students during their secondyear?
Second-Year Student Needs
Student Development Theory
Second-Year Student Development
Identity Development Theories
◦ African American Identity Development
◦ Latino/a Identity Development
Career and major decisions (Gardner, 2000)
◦ Students have not had an opportunity to take
classes in major (Graunke & Woosley, 2005)
Mentoring relationships
◦ Fewest encounters with faculty outside the
classroom (Gardner, 2000)
Intellectual engagement
◦ Reduced motivation or “sophomore slump”
(Anderson & Schreiner, 2000)
Chickering’s Psychosocial Identity
Development Theory
◦ Struggle with developing competence, moving
through autonomy toward interdependence,
establishing identity, and developing purpose
Perry’s Theory of Intellectual and Ethical
◦ Still in dualistic position were there are definite
right and wrong answers (Boivin, Fountain, & Baylis,
Large, residential, public, four-year research
institution in the Southeast
14,000 undergraduate students
2,700 undergraduate students in secondyear of study
Conducted during Spring semester 2011
Three undergraduate African American
students in their junior year
Two themes emerged from data
◦ Academic adjustment
◦ Relationships
Significance of pilot study
◦ Yosso’s (2005) Cultural Capital
Conducted during 2012-2013 academic year
Twelve undergraduate students in their
◦ 11 African American/Black
◦ 1 Hispanic/Latino
Focus groups, individual interviews, and
Five themes emerged from coded focus
groups, interviews:
Family matters
Finding my community
The power of commitments
Quest for balance
Strategizing second-year student success
Family member, teachers, or coach influenced
choice of institution
“I decided to go to Southeast … it was actually
because my biology teacher from my high school,
actually recommended that I come here because I was
so in love with biology and science and she thought
that this school was the best one …”
(Tiffani, 19, Biological Sciences major)
First-year at institution was mainly finding
friends, faculty, and other support systems
“My first year here, it was really good. It was a lot of
stress, too. Just trying to find friends and everything. It
was kind of just a huge shock to be around so many
people because the high school I went to had about
200 people … And so, I really struggled to find
friends early on, but I got involved with CRU campus
ministry and, I found my best friends through that, so
that’s a blessing.”
(Stefano, 19, Philosophy with Religious Studies major)
Nine (9) out of twelve (12) participants
indicated they considered leaving the
institution after their first year
“As far as organizations are concerned that made me want to
stick around, Southeast Black Student Union was the main one,
because I realized that in me leaving Southeast and going to
another school, I would not only be giving up on Southeast, but
I would be … I felt I would be giving up on the people that I
had met here, like, more specifically like the Black
community, and then other incoming, like, Black students.”
(Brian, 19, Communication Studies major)
All twelve (12) participants indicated that
their second-year was “better” or “going
better” than the first year, but struggled to
find balance
“Yeah, there’s a lot of pressure and it’s always pushed in
your face that you need to be well-rounded, so you try to
get in a little bit of everything, but a little bit of
everything ends up being so much.”
(Sophie, 20, Environmental Engineering major)
Common words used were:
Hard work
Strong study habits
Time management
A support system
Learning from mistakes
“You have to have your own self-motivation. You have to be
organized, responsible, and … prayer, or course. But there’s
something else I was going to say, but I forgot. But … yeah,
you just have to realize your own potential and utilize it
(Sophie, 20, Environmental Engineering major)
“… an aspect of being a successful student is being forwardthinking because a lot of students get stuck in thinking of
‘the now’ … but if you can just remember and imagine that
everything is leading for a greater purpose, you will be a
successful student.”
(Brian, 19, Communication Studies major)
Four of six forms of Yosso’s (2005) cultural
capital were present:
First-year peer mentoring groups
Incorporate structured reflection into
curricular and co-curricular initiatives or
Utilize strengths-based approaches in
More longitudinal studies on college student
Intersectional approaches to understanding
second-year experience
Incorporating Environmental Theory (Strange
& Banning, 2001)
Get into groups of 4-5 with individuals
around you
Talk about the second-year experience at
your institution:
◦ How would your student population describe their
second year?
◦ Do you think it would be similar or different for
underrepresented groups?
◦ What support structures are in place to help
students through their second-year at your
Dr. Dena Kniess
Assistant Professor, College Student Affairs Program
Eastern Illinois University
[email protected]
Dr. Tony Cawthon
Professor, Leadership, Counselor Education,
and Human Development
Eugene T. Moore School of Education
Clemson University
[email protected]
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