Tom Green, Ph.D.
In our second issue of SEMQ in this volume, you may notice the change in layout and organization of the articles. This new layout allows readers to search for content and navigate to specific articles yet easily return to the issue’s main page. The new color scheme for each theme area is desired to make navigating to your preferred content easier and more visually-oriented than ever before. We hope you enjoy the new layout as much as you enjoy the strong content of the issue.
We continue our focus on women leaders of SEM with Dr. Monique Perry. Her “view from the top” offers insights into the ways in which strong SEM teams are built. She offers insights into leadership, some of which were observed through close work with her president and others that are clearly her own. These are not ethereal “paradigm shift” buzzwords but concrete, observable ways to define and manage the growth of high-performance SEM teams. Regardless of your years in the field, there are lessons to be learned from her successful career as a leader in our field.
The first of two retention articles in this issue examines the potential application of business concepts to retention research. Dr. Xi Shi combines established research in the field with business concepts such as “brand loyalty” to expand our thinking on how to approach the study of student departure. As so much has been written in this area with little strong change in student retention and completion results nationally, it is important to challenge our existing notions of what comprises retention theory and what we may be able to learn from other fields that could “move the needle” on student success.
The second retention article in this issue looks at opportunities to “partner” with students to improve outcomes. Drs. McDevitt and Allen-Stuck focus on academic systems and issues with retention, winnowing this from the myriad of possible factors contributing to student departure. While this study bases its outcomes on a case study at a private college, readers should not miss the broadly generalizable ways in which the authors present potential interventions and remedies applicable to almost any institutional type and setting.
A team of Detroit-based researches, led by Dr. Annmarie Cano, deliver a very solid research article on doctoral admissions. The team examines the impact of both student (applicant) and faculty characteristics in making admissions decisions. This is a fascinating study of how empathy plays a role in faculty admissions decisions, given the chance for them to be revealed from student application materials. Given that many graduate programs use objective criteria (GPA and standardized test scores) as “first-cut” parameters before reading further into an applicant’s materials, the authors pose that doing so reduces the chances of considering a more diverse class of students that faculty might otherwise admit, given more information. As holistic admissions are a hot topic today in SEM, this is a unique and strong contribution to how those factors play out in decentralized doctoral-level admissions processes.