Publications and presentations

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The Center for Postsecondary Research's staff actively conducts and presents scholarly research on students, faculty, and institutional quality. Please visit the NSSE website or our blog, NSSE Sightings for our latest research.

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Now showing 1 - 20 of 715
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    Complex Identities: Writing and Using Identity Demographic Questions
    (2024-05) BrckaLorenz, Allison
    Examining educational quality and student or staff experiences within an institution means we must look at subgroups in the data we collect. Some defining characteristics of the respondent experience can be relatively easy to capture in a survey question, but others, particularly questions about identity, can be a challenge. Often the goals of good survey practice contrast with the variable and complex nature of identity. This session will first focus on how to balance the competing needs of creating clear, concise, and easily answerable questions on aspects of identity that are sensitive, complex, and not easily defined. We will also examine strategies for using and sharing the data and results gathered from complex identity questions. We will look at a variety of examples and scenarios, and participants should prepare to share and discuss their specific population challenges as well as any advice for working with complex identity demographics.
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    Beyond The Classroom: Student Perceptions of Faculty Support for Mental Health and Well-Being
    (2024-03) Russell, Alethia; Chamis, Ella; Kinzie, Jillian
    The 2023 National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) included a new MHWB topical module that invited undergraduates to respond to an open-ended prompt to describe one way their institution supported their MHWB. We used thematic analysis to examine more than 13,000 responses to this open-ended prompt. Findings revealed that students perceived faculty serve in three distinct roles that supplement and, in some cases, supplant institution support for MHWB. Our paper session further details those findings.
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    Promoting Campuswide Use of NSSE Data: Fostering Student Engagement, Social Identity, and a Sense of Belonging
    (NSSE, Center for Postsecondary Research, 2024-03-10) Kinzie, J.,; Russell, A.,; Wenger, K.
    Students’ sense of belonging and social identities matter to engagement. In 2023, the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) revised items with a critical eye toward inclusion by expanding social identity questions so students see themselves in response options and to make the survey more relevant for today’s students. This interactive session features an overview and discussion of recent NSSE results for social identities and belonging and introduces two resources for inclusive and campuswide data sharing and use in student affairs.
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    A Multi-Institutional Examination of Mind and Body Well-being for First-Generation
    (2024-04) Yuhas, Bridget; Copeland, Olivia; Feldman, Steven; BrckaLorenz, Allison
    First-generation students (FGs) often face unique challenges in navigating collegiate experiences which can impact their well-being. In this study, we examine undergraduate FGs’ mind and body well-being using data from two large-scale multi-institutional data sets. Specifically, we examine relationships between stressors and supports and assess the extent that FGs know how to get help at their institution for a variety of well-being issues. Results imply that FGs generally feel less institutional support for their well-being, that inverse relationships exist for mind and body stressors and institutional supports, and that results for knowing how to get help are mixed. Implications point to continued disaggregation to better understand FGs experiences and recognizing the importance of social capital to FGs success.
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    Connecting College Student Civic Engagement and Cultural Center Involvement
    (2024-04) Copeland, Olivia; Feldman, Steven; BrckaLorenz, Allison
    In this study, we explore the relationship between cultural center involvement and college students’ civic engagement outcomes. We utilize data from a large-scale, multi-institutional data set to run a series of regression analyses. Findings indicate that participating in the activities of a cultural center positively correlates with higher levels of civic engagement skills and abilities as well as frequency of civic engagement. We also used effect coding in our models to explore sub-group differences within gender, sexual, and racial identity categories. Disaggregating by identity, our results indicate some disparities among students prior to considering their cultural center involvement. These findings present a significant counter to the widespread attack on diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts, evidencing the continued relevance and positive influence of cultural centers on all students.
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    Connecting College Student Civic Engagement and Cultural Center Involvement
    (2024-03) Copeland, Oliva M., Feldman, Steven, BrckaLorenz, Allison
    In this study, we explore the relationship between cultural center involvement and college students’ civic engagement outcomes. We utilize data from a large-scale, multi-institutional data set to run a series of regression analyses. Findings indicate that participating in the activities of a cultural center positively correlates with higher levels of civic engagement skills and abilities as well as frequency of civic engagement. We also used effect coding in our models to explore sub-group differences within gender, sexual, and racial identity categories. Disaggregating by identity, our results indicate some disparities among students prior to considering their cultural center involvement. These findings present a significant counter to the widespread attack on diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts, evidencing the continued relevance and positive influence of cultural centers on all students.
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    Investigating the Campus Pride Index’s Relationship to Perceived Student Support
    (2024-03) Copeland, Olivia M., Feldman, Steven, BrckaLorenz, Allison
    The Campus Pride Index (CPI) is often used as a litmus test for assessing the level of LGBTQ+ inclusion and support within higher education institutions. However, little research has explicitly examined the relationship between CPI rating and LGBTQ+ students’ perceptions of supportiveness. To explore this, we analyzed 118,244 student responses about their institution’s support for diverse sexual orientations and gender identities. Results indicate that at top-rated CPI institutions, LGBQ+ students had lower perceptions of support than their peers. We discuss the implications of these results, focusing on how institutions may uncritically utilize CPI as the ceiling for LGBTQ+ support rather than a minimum, with ideas for how student affairs practitioners can utilize CPI while also going beyond CPI’s metrics.
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    Assessing College Student Mental Health and Well-Being: Implications for Campus Support and Promising Practice
    (2024-01) Kinzie, Jillian; BrckaLorenz, Allison; Chambers, Tony; Huber, Susan; Yuhas, Bridget
    Concern about college students’ mental health and the need for institutions to provide more support are on the rise. This session will draw from three research projects—Student Well-Being Institutional Support Survey (SWISS), National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) Mental Health & Well-Being module, and the Center for Healthy Minds and Human Flourishing course—to combine assessments and expand understanding of student mental health, perceptions of support, and effective interventions. We will highlight the most current and important findings about college student mental health and well-being, discuss implications for colleges and universities and considerations for equity, and exchange ideas about campus interventions that show the most promise.
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    Examining campus support systems for LGBQ+ college students' mental health and well-being
    (2023-11) Feldman, Steven; BrckaLorenz, Allison
    In this study, we explore LGBQ+ college students’ experiences related to mental health and wellbeing, using the Proud & Thriving Framework. Our research utilizes a large scale, multi-institutional, quantitative and qualitative data set that includes a variety of institutional types and geographic locations across the United States. We use a series of OLS regression analyses and descriptive analyses to explore LGBQ+ students’ difficulties, support networks, knowledge about institution-provided supports, and student-suggested ways that their institution has supported their mental health and well-being. We find that large portions of LGBQ+ students do not know how to get help with various difficulties and that students within the LGBQ+ community had differing relationships with risks and supports depending on their specific LGBQ+ identity such as asexual students struggling less with workload-related issues and pansexual students struggling more with health-related issues than their LGBQ+ peers. We conclude with suggestions for campus staff, faculty, and higher education researchers on tangible ways that they can work to improve campus environments and experiences for LGBQ+ college students.
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    Beyond Demographics: Incorporating Equitable and Inclusive Language about Student Identities in Surveys
    (2023-10) Miller, Angela; BrckaLorenz, Allison; Kilgo, Cindy Ann; Priddie, Christen; Wenger, Kevin; Zhu, Yihan
    A new workgroup within the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) focuses on Equity in Survey Design, Administration, Analysis, and Reporting (ESDAR). The workgroup has made changes to survey items for the 2023 administration. These revisions were aimed at more inclusive and equitable language, particularly related to items asking about student identities such as gender identity, sexual orientation, race/ethnicity, first-generation status, and Greek life participation. Attendees will learn about the rationale behind these revisions, and be asked to reflect on whether their own institutional assessments use equitable and inclusive language.
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    Training, Engagement, and Gains
    (Indiana University National Survey of Student Engagement, 2023) NSSE
    Tables showing differences in Engagement Indicators and gains by training (no training compared to formal or informal)
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    Gains and Feedback
    (Indiana University National Survey of Student Engagement, 2023) NSSE
    Tables showing the differences in gains between feedback/no feedback groups
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    Gains and Feedback
    (Indiana University National Survey of Student Engagement, 2023) NSSE
    A table showing the difference in gains by feedback/no feedback tutoring groups.
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    Peer Tutoring & Encountering Difficulty item set
    (Indiana University National Survey of Student Engagement, 2022) NSSE, 2022
    Peer Tutoring & Encountering Difficulty were items appended to the NSSE 2022 core survey.
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    Measuring students’ socioeconomic status using different frameworks and analyses
    (2023-06) Hu, Tien-Ling; BrckaLorenz, Allison
    Different from the traditional measures of SES using proxies for economic capital such as low-income status and federal financial aid that do not include all the theoretical considerations of SES, this session compiles several SES and cultural capital-related frameworks, survey items, and data analyses and present several alternative ways to measure SES in the field of higher education. Audiences in this session will learn about several SES measures and data analyses. In addition to the presentation, an interactive discussion will be demonstrated to create a mutual learning environment between presenters and audiences. The session provides researchers with alternative ways to study student success for the low-income student population in higher education.
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    Building on Tradition: Approaches to More Inclusive Data Analysis
    (2023-05) BrckaLorenz, Allison; Hu, Tien-Ling
    Institutional research and assessment depends heavily on our ability to characterize the students we study into categories and on our inclination to generalize the results. Although this work is necessary for understanding student experiences, it does present challenges for critical and inclusive approaches to data analysis. In this session, we will discuss common issues and solutions associated with inclusive data analysis by investigating a series of data analysis examples that feature small sample sizes for marginalized students. We will discuss traditional variable-centered versus person-centered methodological approaches, strategies for creating groups to use in comparative analyses, challenges in quantitatively capturing aspects of identity, and tips for communicating the results, validity, and data quality of such analyses to broad audiences.
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    First Year Seminars' Influence on Student Engagement and Belonging
    (NSSE and the Center for Postsecondary Research, 2023-02-05) Kinzie, Jillian; Wenger, Kevin
    First-Year seminars (FYS) have been vigorously studied and found to positively influence persistence, engagement, and student success. This session will explore new research from the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) to understand the relationship between seminars and student engagement, intent to return, and sense of belonging, and how results vary by a range of student identities. Even more, new results from NSSE 2022 distinguish the influence of a success skills-based course from an academic first-year seminar. Join us to explore this evidence and discuss what it suggests for efforts to enhance engagement and equity in first-year student success.
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    Sense of Belonging in the First Year of College
    (2023-02-04) Wenger, Kevin; Cole, James
    Abstract: Studies have demonstrated the important role of sense of belonging to first-year persistence and overall academic success. Using data from the Beginning College Survey of Student Engagement (BCSSE) and the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE), this session will examine entering first-year student expected academic expectations, beliefs, and prior experiences that influence sense of belonging for students near the end of their first-year of college. Results will focus in interventions that can increase social sense of belonging, as well as ways to identify students that may benefit from efforts to increase sense of belonging on their campus.