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 Summary 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, 1995) Issues of retention and persistence for minority students are viewed similar to those of majority students (Rendon, Jalomo, & Nora, 2000) 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 Development ◦ Still in dualistic position were there are definite right and wrong answers (Boivin, Fountain, & Baylis, 2000) 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 second-year ◦ 11 African American/Black ◦ 1 Hispanic/Latino Focus groups, individual interviews, and observations 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 Determination Motivation Strong study habits Prayer Involvement 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 correctly.” (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: ◦ ◦ ◦ ◦ Familial Aspirational Social Navigational First-year peer mentoring groups Incorporate structured reflection into curricular and co-curricular initiatives or programs Utilize strengths-based approaches in programming More longitudinal studies on college student experiences 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 institution? 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