April - Perception of professional development, student need insecurities, and fall course delivery

Dr. Wendy Kilgore |
April 30, 2021
  • Research
  • course delivery
  • covid-19
  • Financial Aid
  • Need analysis
  • Professional Development

Partnering with AACRAO on Research

We have several ways through which we can help support research. Sometimes we are able to directly partner with a graduate student by co-releasing a survey that aligns with AACRAO’s research focus. In these instances, AACRAO and the student both use the data for different end goals. If we cannot directly partner with a student, we can often post the call for participation in this blog and Connect if the focus of the research is appropriate for our audience. We also partner with other entities and institutions to conduct research. If you are interested in seeing how we may help you with your research, please complete the research inquiry form.

We also have a research grant, and the application is open for this year. I’d like to encourage you to apply if you are near to completing your master’s or doctoral program. Awardees will receive a $2,000 stipend to help complete their research. This month we also have a graduate student seeking participation in her dissertation survey focused on servant leadership; the details are below.  

Invitation to Participate in a Doctoral Dissertation

My name is Gissette Forte, and I am a graduate student in Edgewood College’s Ed.D. program. I am working on my dissertation, and I would appreciate it if you would participate in my survey. The main objective of this research is to investigate, understand, and test the impact or effect of perceived servant leadership in staff satisfaction, engagement, and staff turnover intention in higher education institutions. 

I hope that you will participate in this 15-minute survey on leadership perceptions in higher education. Participants should currently be employed in higher education institutions.   

Please use this link for the survey, which will be open until June 30th. If you have any questions feel free to contact me at gforte@edgewood.edu. 


AACRAO Research Update

On April 28th, we released the training needs report and hosted a webinar on the findings. Almost 1,000 people (details in the image below) participated in this research, and we found some interesting differences in perceived training needs. Managerial staff and senior leadership believe that front-line staff need different training from what front-line staff believe they need. If you want to learn more, please register for the webinar and/or download the report when it is released.

The May 60-Second Survey will be deployed on May 3rd. This survey focuses on your personal return to work plans and options provided to you by your institution. All members are invited to participate in this survey. In looking forward, the Registrar Career Profile Survey will deploy on June 22nd and will be open for a few weeks to accommodate the July 4th holiday week.

AACRAO was recently awarded a research grant from Lumina Foundation to continue our work on stranded credits and how that relates to debt and equity among college students. We have invited 15 institutions who participated in the stranded credits survey last year to be part of this research project. The project consists of an analysis of transcript and registration hold data, a convening to discuss the results and make recommendations for practice, and a follow-up survey to see if/how practices have changed. This project will run through the end of this year.


Current Higher Education Research and Related Topics

Many Students Experiencing Basic Needs Insecurity During the Pandemic 

The #realcollege 2021 project conducted a recent survey of nearly 200,000 students attending colleges and universities in 42 states. This survey has revealed information about basic needs insecurity during the times of Covid-19. The survey report can be found here

Key points include: 

  • 39% of students at two-year institutions were affected by food insecurity 

  • 48% of students were affected by housing insecurity

  • 13% lost a loved one to COVID-19

Culture Change Needed to Promote Diversity Equity and Inclusion

The American Council on education partnered with the University of Southern California to produce a paper on equity and leadership. The paper, entitled “Shared Equity Leadership: Making Equity Everyone's Work” examined interviews of campus leaders at eight institutions. This group included more than 60 campus leaders, all of whom practice shared leadership around equity issues. The paper provides key recommendations to help improve the outcomes of students of color, and improve diversity, equity, and inclusion.

FAFSA is a Barrier to many Students

A survey by the education consulting company EAB, found that 30 percent of both first-generation and low-income students have trouble completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The survey reached more than 15,000 high school students. 

Data points include:

  • Students, particularly first-generation and low-income students, do not understand the basics of financial aid.

  • These students stated that filling it out was difficult, at a rate of 10 to 15 percentage points higher than other students.

  • Students often fill out the FAFSA on their own or with limited help.

  • Those who most need financial support to attend college are the least likely to have support in filing the FAFSA.


Liberal Arts Students Desired in Workforce, but May Not be Well-prepared 

A report based on the AAC&U survey of employers highlights how employers value liberal arts education and the skills it brings. However, the employers had little trust in higher education to deliver the needed skills. 

Findings include:

  • Both breadth and depth of education matter to employers.

  • Active and applied experiential learning gives graduates an advantage in hiring.

  • Perceptions of the value of higher education vary widely by employer’s age and own educational background

Unofficial Racial and Economic Bias in Student Housing

A study published in the Journal of College Student Development examined housing at three universities. It found that certain residence halls were well known as “white dorms” and unwelcome to students of color and low-income students. While a residence hall experience is increasingly mandated for incoming freshman students, the authors reported that racialization of campus housing is occurring. 

Growth in Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs)

A new data set released by ¡Excelencia! in Education shows the continued growth in Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs). The rapid growth in these institutions is highlighted by 94% growth in the last 10 years. HSI institutions are those that count Hispanic students as at least 25% of their overall enrollment. The number of these institutions grew from 293 in 2010, to 569 in the 2019-2020 academic year.


Guided Pathways: Whole College Reform Needed for Student Success

New research on guided pathways from the Community College Research Center (CCRC) examines, and gives a solid overview, of guided pathways. This paper is rich in information on the topic. Below are a few key takeaways.

Colleges should:

  • Organize all recruiting, onboarding, and advising activities by field or “meta-major”

  • Create an onboarding process that allows students to explore interests and choose a program of study

  • Encourage every student to develop an individualized education plan by the end of their first term

  • Provide case management advising for all students within their field of study

Face-to-face Classes this Fall Desired by a Majority of College Students

Data (sign-up required) has been released on the effects of the pandemic on national COVID-19 policy from the educational consulting firm Maguire Associates. Survey findings were gathered from more than 19,000 prospective students and their families.

Some key findings in the data are:

  • Most would still choose to enroll in an institution even if it requires COVID-19 vaccination

  • 82% plan to live on campus this fall; however, only 50% of students from incomes of less than $100K plan to live on campus if a single room is more expensive

  • Most new college students would prefer to attend classes fully in person this fall semester. This feeling is shared by parents and guardians

  • Students rate their comfort with technology far lower than their parents do

  • Almost half of transfer students also want face-to-face instruction this fall

  • Non-white and international students prefer virtual learning more than students who identify as white

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