Special Education, Counseling, and Student Affairs Faculty Research and Publications

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  • ItemOpen Access
    Pedagogical Considerations between Teaching Fitness and in Higher Education
    (Kentucky SHAPE, 2023-11-01) Rubin, Lisa M.; Stokowski, Sarah
    The purpose of this essay is to explore synergy between the pedagogy of teaching group fitness classes and that of teaching in higher education (i.e., undergraduate and graduate courses). The authors are both faculty and group fitness instructors. Through a brief review of literature, personal experiences as group fitness instructors, and perspectives of other faculty who teach fitness, the essay sought to explore pedagogical considerations between teaching fitness and teaching in higher education. Instructional differences, similarities, and overlaps were considered. In addition, teaching training and pandemic pivoting were also explored. The authors concluded with a call for more scholarly discourse on teaching in group fitness and higher education.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Exploring the Influence of Student-Athlete Advisory Committee Participation on Leadership and Post-Graduate Career Development
    (2022-01-01) Heim, P.; Stokowski, S.; Springer, Daniel S.; Rubin, Lisa M.; Miller, M.T.
    The Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) is comprised of student-athletes that provide insight on their experiences, influencing policies that affect rules and regulations at the institutional, conference, and national level(s). SAAC participation allows student-athletes to transfer the skills learned on the playing field into a professional setting. These skills are a foundational component for athletes’ character and moral development. Despite the proliferation of SAACs across the NCAA membership institutions, there is a dearth of empirical studies examining these committees and the outcomes they achieve. The purpose of this study is to explore the influence of SAAC participation on post-graduate career development. Using a phenomenological approach to research, semi-structured interviews and observations were conducted with eight former SAAC student-athletes to discover the impacts of their SAAC experience. Throughout the data, two major themes appeared, career preparation and future leadership preparation. Ultimately, the participants indicated that participating in SAAC translated into various leadership skills, helping this population prepare for post-graduation endeavors, and explore their self-concept beyond the athletic realm.
  • ItemOpen Access
    A Q factor analysis approach to understanding female college students’ attitudes toward multiple STEM disciplines
    (2017-07-01) Yang, Yang; Barth, Joan M
    Research on gender disparities in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) has paid little attention to the fact that not all STEM disciplines experience the same degree of gender imbalance. Previous research has primarily examined a single STEM discipline or combined STEM disciplines in their analyses. This study addressed some of the limitations of previous research using an innovative statistical approach, Q factor analysis (QFA). QFA is used to explore multifaceted human perceptions, behaviors, and experiences. It enables researchers to categorize people based on their pattern of responses and opinions on a certain topic, in contrast to the more commonly used R factor analysis that categorizes variables. QFA was applied to a sample of 98 female undergraduate students who were enrolled in introductory STEM courses. Participants competed a survey that assessed their attitudes, experiences and beliefs about math, science, and computers. Questions tapped into constructs typically used in social cognitive models of academic and career choices. Two typologies emerged from the analyses. The math-computer group had favorable attitudes and beliefs toward math and computers and less interest in science; whereas the science group had more favorable attitudes and beliefs towards science. Participants? major choice and self-reported academic support aligned with the two groups in ways that were consistent with the groups? interests. The study demonstrates the potential for QFA to be applied with various types of data on a wide range of topics and to address questions that are not easily answered using traditional statistical approaches.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Examining the Effectiveness of Scholars Assisting Scholars Program Among Undergraduate Engineering Students
    (2018-06-23) Yang, Lydia Yang; Grauer, Bette
    Retaining engineering students is a critical issue in engineering education, especially in the first two years of college when the attrition rate in engineering has been stubbornly high. Peer tutoring and supplemental instruction are widely used techniques in order to help freshmen and juniors succeed in challenging courses in universities. Peer tutoring has shown to improve academic outcomes such as achieving higher GPAs, higher retention rates, and improving student connectedness. In this study, we are focusing on the effectiveness of a peer tutoring and supplemental instruction program implemented in a college of engineering at a large land grant research institution.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Examining Students’ Epistemological Views of Engineering among First Year Engineering Students
    (2019-06-15) Yang, Yang
    This is a complete research paper. The research interest in engineering epistemology is growing as more engineering education researchers consider that students’ beliefs about the nature of engineering is essential to how they learn, which influences their professional preparation [1]. Epistemology refers to how individuals view the nature of knowledge and knowing in a particular domain, in this case, engineering [2].
  • ItemOpen Access
    Engineering Students’ Views on the Effectiveness of Peer Tutors in Scholars Assisting Scholars Program
    (2020-06-01) Yang, Yang; Grauer, Bette; Thornburg, Jennifer; Betz, Amy
    In engineering education, retaining engineering students in the first two years of college is a critical issue when the attrition rate has been persistently high. Peer tutoring and supplemental instruction are widely used methods to help first year students and sophomores succeed in challenging courses in universities. Research has shown that peer tutoring improves academic outcomes such as achieving higher GPAs, higher retention rates, and improving student connectedness. In an earlier study we examined whether and to what degree a peer tutoring and supplemental instruction program called Scholars Assisting Scholars, SAS, implemented in a college of engineering facilitated student academic performance in a specific Calculus course. In this follow-up study, we focused on the impact of the peer tutoring and supplemental instruction program on students who utilized the peer tutoring program across a wide range of core courses.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Examining Incoming Credit Differences Between First-Year and Transfer Students
    (2018-12-01) Yang, Yang; Briggs, Kelly; Avalos, Sandra; Anderson, Christina M.
    In this study, the difference in the number of initial credits between incoming transfer and first-year students entering a land grant university in a professional education program was examined (N = 488). A multivariate analysis of variance revealed that transfer students transferred significantly more total credits and more credits that counted toward degree programs than did first-year students. Undergraduates who had graduated from small high schools transferred more credits and more credits that counted than did those from large high schools. However, first-year students transferred a significantly higher percentage of total credits that counted toward the degree programs than did transfer students. Implications for advisors, institutions, and policy makers are discussed.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Examining the effectiveness of the Engineering Launch program for first-year engineering students
    (2022-08-23) Yang, Yang; Betz, Amy; Spencer, Craig
    Motivation and Background: This COMPLETE EVIDENCE-BASED PRACTICE PAPER examines whether participating in the Engineering Launch program at a large Midwestern land- grant university influences the academic readiness of engineering students before they enter Calculus I course. Many students enrolled in Calculus I are not prepared for it. The remedial program Engineering Launch aims to improve students’ math preparation in Trigonometry, Algebra I, Geometry, and Algebra II, and bridge the perceived gaps in math preparation to get students ready for Calculus I. Many universities around the country have implemented similar remedial programs. There are two common approaches. One is a workshop-style course which typically requires weekly class time in addition to regular lectures [1]. The other is to offer a bridge course before the semester starts, with duration from one-week long [2] to several weeks [3, 4] These programs have shown positive results by increasing student pass rates in Calculus. The Engineering Launch program takes the second approach by offering a summer bridge course prior to the fall semester. This course is offered as a zero-credit hour course, which consists of a three-week online component and several in-person events the week before classes start. The course combines both synchronous and asynchronous math instruction. All instruction and module content is provided and delivered by a seasoned Calculus I instructor, who has over 15 years of experience teaching courses in calculus sequence. The course also includes one-on-one tutoring from a GTA in the Department of Mathematics. Learning about the usefulness of the Engineering Launch program can inform researchers, instructors, and administrators how to improve the readiness of first year engineering students in Calculus I and make it an effective approach in helping engineering students succeed academically.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Using Leaves as a Model for Teaching Watershed Concepts in Natural Resources Science and Engineering Programs
    (1905-07-09) Anandhi, Aavudai; Yang, Yang; Hubenthal, Michael
    Core Ideas Watershed is an important concept in science and engineering of natural resources. Introducing watershed concept using a leaf that students see every day is novel. Using leaf analogy, watershed concept can be taught universally. This article examines the effects of using leaves, something most students see every day and have some familiarity with, as an analogy for the concept of watersheds in an undergraduate water resources engineering course. The ultimate goal of the leaf/watershed analogy and associated instruction is to increase students’ understanding of hydrology principles, which in turn may facilitate better watershed management through increased public awareness, increased adoption of appropriate best management practices, and improved policy decisions. The assessment was performed with junior and senior undergraduate students enrolled in a Water Resource Engineering course. The assessment results showed that overall, students benefitted from the leaf analogy as a tool for learning watersheds. However, this effect varied depending on students’ learning style preferences.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Enhancing Financial Literacy among College Athletes
    (2021) Rubin, Lisa M.; Joseph, Mindy; Lutter, Sonya; Roberts, Daron K.; Jones, Julian J.
    College students, including athletes, have limited exposure to financial education prior to enrolling in college (Britt et al., 2015). Athletes juggling two full-time roles as athlete and college student have limited time for financial education and the opportunity to work. Some athletes receive athletic scholarships and some do not, but either way, many athletes must seek additional funding and student loans to pay for college. Huston’s (2010) model demonstrated connections between financial literacy, behaviors, and education to serve as a framework for our study. The purpose of this study was to determine college athletes’ subjective and objective financial literacy, how they applied this knowledge, and their preferred mode(s) of financial education to pilot financial literacy education geared specifically for athletes based on their preferences. Data was collected from two institutions in the same Power 5 conference: monthly spending logs, focus groups, interviews, a financial knowledge survey, and pre- and post-tests flanking a financial literacy module in first-year experience courses and summer bridge. A Money 101 course was piloted over eight weeks, and peer financial counseling was offered. As athletes might gain access to their name, image, and likeness (NIL) for potential income in the near future, financial education is paramount.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Reflections on the Undergraduate Research Experience of Three Former NCAA Division I Athletes
    (2020) Rubin, Lisa M.; Lombardi, Alyssa A.; Felice, Kennedy; Donato, Michael A.; rubin
    Undergraduate research (UR) opportunities are important for college students to engage in areas of interest, gain valuable skills, and contribute to their learning outside of the classroom (Mahatmya et al., 2017). There have been a few studies on college athletes engaged in high impact practices (HIPs) like study abroad programs (Navarro et al., 2020), first-year seminars (Grafnetterova et al., 2020), and learning communities (Mamerow & Navarro, 2014). However, little has been studied on athletes’ engagement in UR (also a HIP). While athletes may not be a large percentage of an institution’s student population, they are more visible in the campus community. College athletes face time constraints, balancing two full-time roles of student and athlete, often with limited time remaining to devote to extracurricular activities (Ishaq & Bass, 2019; Rubin & Moses, 2017). They also endure negative stereotypes, seen as outsiders by the student body and faculty, isolating themselves from campus involvement (Rubin & Moses, 2017; Simons et al., 2020). These stereotypes include the idea of the “dumb jock,” in which athletes are incapable of handling collegelevel work and require additional support to pass classes (Simons et al., 2007). Many campuses offer academic support in facilities designated specifically for athletes, beyond the typically weekday work hours (Rubin & Moses, 2017). Besides attending classes on campus, athletes spend most of their time in athletic facilities for meals, workouts, tutoring, and practices. In classes, they are more likely to sit with other athletes who understand their schedule and lifestyle (Rubin & Moses, 2017). Their rigid schedules might prohibit them from exploring student organizations or UR. Because of this, engaging athletes in UR is not as easy or obvious for faculty as it may be with other students. Yet, Gaston-Gayles and Hu (2009) discovered that athletes who engage in educationally purposeful activities, including faculty interaction and collaborative learning, improve in cognitive and academic outcomes. Since athletes’ college experience may differ significantly from that of other students, it is important to learn from former athletes’ participation in UR.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Primary-Role Academic Advising Professional Socialization/Identity
    (2020) McGill, Craig M.; Puroway, Drew; Duslak, Mark; cmcgill
    The following reflection protocol was developed by Craig M. McGill, Drew Puroway and Mark Duslak for the purpose of exploring our socialization to the emerging profession of academic advising. Collaborative autoethnography (CAE) is a research method in which a group of individuals draw upon their own lives and experiences to explore an issue. In CAE, therefore, the researchers are also the participants.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Faculty Beliefs about the Nature of Intelligence
    (2019-02-21) Rubin, Lisa M.; Dringenberg, Emily A.; Lane, Jessica J.; Wefald, Andrew J.; rubin
    Educators shape the learning experiences of students in the classroom. Their views on intelligence influence the beliefs students have about their own abilities to learn. Astin (2016) cautioned, "The faculty culture regards smartness in an almost reverential fashion" (p. 4). Research on academic mindsets has focused mainly on secondary education (e.g., Dweck, 2016; Yeager & Dweck, 2012). There is a gap in the literature about educator views about intelligence in higher education. The purpose of this study was to measure the beliefs that faculty from various academic disciplines hold about the nature of their own intelligence and the intelligence of their students. Faculty at one land grant institution participated in an eight-term Mindset survey. Position was the only statistically significant demographic factor.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Burnout Among Student-Athlete Services Professionals
    (2018-03-22) Rubin, Lisa M.; Moreno-Pardo, Maria D.; rubin
    Literature on job burnout in athletics is limited to coaches, trainers, athletes, and administrators. Among student-services professionals, studies have focused on those in student support services, student affairs and mid-level administration. The purpose of this study was to explore factors why student-athlete services professionals burn out and consider leaving the profession. Themes from the literature on burnout include work overload, work environment/autonomy, evaluation/supervision, social support, and values/motivation/expectations. Burnout also serves as the theoretical framework for this study based on these six themes. The researchers sought volunteers from the N4A membership willing to be interviewed about burnout in the student-athletes services profession. We conducted interviews in Fall 2016 with 38 professionals in the field including directors, assistant/associate directors, advisors, learning specialists, and student-athlete development professionals with varying levels of experience in the field, which inform athletic administrators of the factors which lead to burnout and high turnover. The goal is to share this information as a mode of preventing burnout among talented student-athletes services professionals and their leaving the profession.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Who Are Athletic Advisors? State of the Profession
    (2017-01-01) Rubin, Lisa M.; rubin; Rubin, Lisa M.
    The field of athletic advising has existed since the 1970s. In the early 1990s, the National Collegiate Athletic Association mandated that higher education institutions provide academic support for student-athletes. Few researchers have identified those serving as athletic advisors, so the literature features little data on advisor demographics, training, education, and work responsibilities. Therefore, the background and experiences of 277 members of the National Association of Academic Advisors for Athletics, who responded to a survey, were explored. Specifically, athletic advisor educational and training background, burnout levels, meaning of the profession as participants describe it, advice for prospective advisors, and the knowledge they wish they had gained before entering the field are addressed. Dramaturgy was utilized as a framework for analyzing this research.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Athletic Subculture within Student-Athlete Academic Centers
    Rubin, Lisa M.; Moses, Ron A.; rubin; rmoses; Rubin, Lisa M.; Moses, Ron A.
    Over 400,000 student-athletes participate in NCAA intercollegiate athletics programs. Due to their dual roles as student and athlete, they have a different college experience than the general student population. Specialized academic centers and resources for student-athletes are part of the reason they are separated and often isolated from the rest of campus. Teams have their own unique academic subculture that influences each student-athlete in his or her academic pursuits. The purpose of this study is to explore the athletic academic subculture among student-athletes at the Division I level and the role the athletic academic center and special resources play in cultivating a separate culture from the campus culture. Symbolic interactionism was the framework used as the lens to view the results of this study in the context of neoliberalism.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Understanding Female STEM Faculty Experiences of Subtle Gender Bias from Microaggressions Perspective
    (2016-06-26) Yang, Yang; Carroll, Doris W.; yyang001; dcarroll
    Research has repeatedly discussed the lack of women in many Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields. It has been suggested that the “chilly climate” - feeling unwelcomed or discriminated- pushes women away form STEM fields. This leads to many women leave STEM fields at multiple stages, thus the “leaking pipeline” explanation. The experiences of women who have stayed and are established in STEM fields are under examined. This study used microaggressions theory to understand STEM women’s experiences in academia. According to microaggressions theory, under represented groups, such as women in most male-dominant STEM disciplines, are likely to experience subtle bias and discrimination based on their identities. This study examined the degree to which women faculty in STEM disciplines experience subtle gender bias and whether such experiences differ based on their ranking, position track, age, and race/ethnicity. Participants included 57 women faculty in a broad range of STEM disciplines at ___ university. Both non tenure-track and tenure-track (including tenured) instructional and research faculty were included. The STEM disciplines chosen were so defined by the National Science Foundation (NSF, 2012). Subtle gender bias was measured by two instruments, which consisted of 29 items asking the extent to which participants agree with the statements regarding gender-based microaggressions events on a 7-point scale (1=Strongly disagree to 7=Strongly agree). The instrument included three aspects/factors of gendered microaggressions: (1) Sexual objectification (e.g., making a sexually inappropriate comment); (2) Silenced and marginalized (e.g., ignoring a woman’s opinions or comments in a workplace); (3) Assumptions of Inferiority (e.g., assuming women’s work would be inferior to men’s work). Participants were also asked about their position title, position track, age, and ethnicity. The scores on three aspects/factors of gendered microaggressions were calculated by averaging across items that loaded on each factor with the range of 1~7, with higher scores indicating experiencing sexual objectification. On Sexual objectification, the responses ranged from 1~6.75 (Mean = 2.83). 25% of the respondents agreed they experienced certain stereotypes of women and/or being objectified on their physical appearance (scored 4.01 or higher). On Silenced and marginalized, the responses ranged from 1~6.92 (Mean = 3.41). 59.6% agreed they have been ignored/invisible in a professional setting and/or been challenged regarding intelligence, authority (scored 4.01 or higher). Similarly, the responses ranged from 1.75~5.75 (Mean = 3.48) on Ascription of intelligence. 28.6% agreed they experienced being told women’s work would be inferior to men’s work and/or being told she is too assertive or sassy (scored 4.01 or higher). Furthermore, tenure-track respondents experienced more gendered microaggressions than non tenure-track respondents. Full professors experienced the most gendered microaggressions, followed by assistant professors, whereas instructors experienced the least. The oldest age groups experienced more gendered microaggressions than other ages. There is not much difference by ethnicity except one Native American respondent. This study provides a greater understanding of how women faculty perceive and encounter gender-based microagressions in various STEM fields. The results contribute to gender equity issues for the STEM disciplines where women are underrepresented and undervalued.
  • ItemOpen Access
    The Effect of Financial Support on Academic Achievement and Retention of Female Engineering Students
    (2016-06-26) Yang, Yang; Grauer, Bette; yyang001; grauerb
    Engineering is one of the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) fields in which women are severely underrepresented. Among those who do enter engineering, women are more likely to drop out of the major than men. Financial difficulty is among the top factors influencing retention of underrepresented students in engineering. Previous studies have examined the usefulness of different types of financial support for racial and gender minority students such as stipend, internship, and scholarship. This study focused on another type of financial support – a loan repayment award – and its influence on undergraduate women’s academic achievement and completion in College of Engineering at ____ University. Specifically, a private foundation ____ provided an incentive award to undergraduate women by offering to pay off subsidized student loans upon completion of an engineering degree. We examined whether this financial incentive upon graduation influenced achievement measured by GPA (grade point average) and graduation rates among female engineering students. This quantitative study used a pretest-posttest quantitative design. Forty sophomore women engineering students, matched by first generation status and ethnicity, were randomly placed into the experimental group (selected to receive repayment of their student loans on completion of an engineering degree) and the control group (not selected to receive loan repayment upon completion of an engineering degree). Students in the experimental group were told that their subsidized loans incurred during their time at _______ University would be paid off after graduation with an engineering degree. Students in the control group were not told about the program. The baseline grade point average (GPA), final GPA, graduation status, and demographic information were collected from all participants. Multiple statistical methods were used including independent t-test, analysis of covariance, and chi-square test. We found that (1) while the experimental group and the control group as a whole were very similar in terms of their average baseline GPAs, participants in the control group who successfully graduated with an Engineering degree had statistically significantly higher baseline GPAs than those who did not graduate; by contrast participants in the experimental group who graduated with an Engineering degree had very heterogeneous baseline GPAs. (2) The results from analysis of covariance showed that among those who graduated with an Engineering degree, the final GPAs between the experimental group and the control group were not statistically different after controlling for the baseline GPAs. (3) The experimental group completion rate was statistically significant higher than the control group. We concluded that the loan repayment award not only had a positive influence on completion rates, but also influenced completion by a greater variety of students in terms of GPA’s. Students in the experimental group had a wider range of GPA’s and lower mean GPA than the control group, suggesting that loan repayment may improve persistence for engineering students with lower GPA’s.
  • ItemOpen Access
    A Brief Introduction to Q Methodology
    (2016-04-01) Yang, Yang; yyang002
    Q methodology is a method to systematically study subjective matters such as thoughts and beliefs on any given topic. Q methodology can be used for both theory building and theory testing. The purpose of this paper was to give a brief overview of Q methodology to readers with various backgrounds. This paper discussed several advantages of Q methodology that makes it attractive to researchers and practitioners who are interested in understanding different perspectives or behavioral patterns toward any given topic, its distinct position as a methodology, and how it fits into the qualitative—mixed—quantitative continuum. The paper further used two research studies as applications to demonstrate how to perform a Q methodological study, involving the following steps: development of the Q sort statements; selection of the P set (participants); Q sorting; and analysis and interpretation of Q sorts.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Gender differences in STEM undergraduates' vocational interests: People–thing orientation and goal affordances
    (2015-12-01) Yang, Yang; Barth, Joan M.; yyang001
    This study addressed why women have greater representation in some STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields compared to others by linking two theoretical approaches, people–thing orientation (PO, TO) and role congruity theory, which emphasizes occupation goal affordances associated with traditionally feminine and masculine roles. Vocational interest and goal affordance ratings (having a positive social impact, family, and occupation status) for occupations characterized as working with people or things were assessed in 1848 students (42% female; 81% white non-Hispanic) majoring in biology (gender balanced), non-biology STEM (male-dominated), and female-dominated health fields. Participant PO and TO interests were also collected. Results indicated that non-biology STEM majors showed lower PO and higher TO interests than biology and health majors. Non-biology STEM majors also endorsed PO and TO interests at similar levels, but the other two major groups indicated higher PO than TO. People Jobs were perceived to more likely afford goals related to family and positive social impact; whereas Thing Jobs were perceived to more likely afford status goals. Interest in People Jobs was similar for women in both STEM major groups. Female non-biology STEM majors were equally interested in People and Thing Jobs; whereas biology majors preferred People Jobs. PO, TO, and goal affordance ratings independently predicted interest in People and Thing Jobs, and gender accounted for very little additional variance. Taken together, the findings point to the importance of using both person–thing orientation and role congruity theory when explaining varied gender representations in different STEM fields.