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The Influence of Validating Advising Practices on Intention to Persist for Women and Underrepresented Minority Students in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics

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There has been an ever-increasing demand in the United States to produce educated science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) professionals. Because more women and minority students have begun their higher educational preparation at community colleges, these institutions have been uniquely

There has been an ever-increasing demand in the United States to produce educated science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) professionals. Because more women and minority students have begun their higher educational preparation at community colleges, these institutions have been uniquely positioned to support these students and increase the number of STEM graduates. Nevertheless, to attain this commendable goal, community college staff and faculty members will need to redouble their efforts to provide active and sustained programs and interventions to support and assure student persistence in STEM fields.

To address the problem of practice, the researcher engaged in a variety of validating practices to influence women and minority students’ intent to persist in a STEM degree. Thirteen, first-year women and minority students participated in the study. Validation theory (Rendón, 1994) provided a framework to inform the intervention and forms of validation. The validating practices included two advising visits and intentional email communications to students in their first semester at community college.

A mixed methods approach was employed to examine two objectives: (a) the types of validation students experienced in their first semester and (b) the influence of validating advising practices on intention to persist in STEM. The Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB; Ajzen, n.d.) guided study efforts in relation to the second objective. Data gathered included survey data, interviews, email communications, and researcher journal entries. Results suggested students experienced academic and interpersonal validation by in-class and out-of-class validating agents. Although not all experiences were validating, students were validated to a greater extent by their academic advisor. Because of validating advising practices, students in this study developed confidence in their ability to be capable college students. Students also felt motivated and expressed intentions to persist toward a STEM degree.

The discussion focuses on explaining outcomes of the four research questions by connecting to the extant literature. In addition, limitations of the study are presented. Finally, implications for practice, implications for future research, and lessons learned are also shared.

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Date Created
2020

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Examining the Implementation of Appreciative Advising and its Relationship to Community College Students’ Intent to Persist

Description

More than half of the students who start this year at a community college will not return to the same institution the following year. This persistent problem negatively impacts students, institutions, and society at-large. However, institutions that experience greater success

More than half of the students who start this year at a community college will not return to the same institution the following year. This persistent problem negatively impacts students, institutions, and society at-large. However, institutions that experience greater success in retaining students place academic advising initiatives at the core of their retention efforts. The Appreciative Advising Model (AAM) may be uniquely suited to promoting student persistence because the AAM engages a student in long-term planning, showing how their current and future academic efforts can be aligned to achieve their goals. Employing the AAM, advisors use open-ended questions to uncover a students’ dreams, and then co-construct, with the student, a set of systematic goals uniquely tailored to help the student reach their dreams. As part of this study, the AAM was implemented as an innovation at a community college advising center. Guided by a framework that includes theories of social constructivism, positive psychology, and appreciative inquiry, this qualitative action research study employed semi-structured interviews and focus groups with students and advisors to explore their perceptions and experiences related to the AAM as a potential tool to enhance community college
retention. The goal of this study was to chronicle the implementation of a new advising model for a community college—the AAM—study the perceptions and experiences related to the new model, and to assess the model’s influence on a student’s likelihood of persisting at their community college. This work increases the understanding of the AAM
in a community college setting and results may have implications for community colleges, advising centers, and retention efforts.

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Date Created
2021

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Perceptions of Supervisory Behaviors Among Student Affairs Professionals at a Community College

Description

In student affairs departments in higher education institutions, supervisors are responsible for meeting the changing needs of both students and employees while staying attuned to the evolving college environment. A student affairs supervisor’s effectiveness relies heavily on social skills, particularly

In student affairs departments in higher education institutions, supervisors are responsible for meeting the changing needs of both students and employees while staying attuned to the evolving college environment. A student affairs supervisor’s effectiveness relies heavily on social skills, particularly on the ability to communicate through an institution’s ever-changing environment. Effective communication at the management level can continually improve the institution’s ability to meet students shifting needs in educational spaces. A key component of effective communication among student affairs supervisors is offering employees feedback and coaching. Nevertheless, many student affairs supervisors are underprepared to provide feedback and coaching to their employees, especially when it includes difficult conversations. Guided by social constructivism, this survey method study is built on research related to synergistic supervision and performance management to explore the perceived practices, experiences, and needs of student affairs supervisors at Central Community College. The purpose of this study was to examine how student affairs supervisors utilize best practices, including frequent communication of feedback and coaching, goal setting, and employee development outlined in performance management and synergistic supervision theories. This study’s findings add to the current research body on student affairs supervisors' limited training and preparation within the community college context.

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Date Created
2021