Faculty members from each of LSC five colleges are participating in the AtD Student Engagement Research Fellow program, which presents an opportunity to explore how the Community College Student Survey of Engagement (CCSSE) survey data can be utilized to make decisions about classroom activities and student engagement. LSC-North Harris AtD implementation team leaders, Joyce Boatright, Bob Miller and Rebecca Richter report that several LSC-North Harris faculty members are participants. Research fellows include Bartlett Hall, Lashun Griffin, Dorothy Reade, Rami Shafiee, Wei Li, Jackie Davis-Gilmore and Bryan Barrows. These faculty members are discovering meaningful ways to collaborate with other faculty in designing an action research project this fall and applying the project in the classroom in Spring 2010. The faculty members will also share their projects in a System-wide capstone event in the spring. LSC-North Harris faculty participants are developing the following projects.
Beyond the classroom: Student-faculty engagement centered on biology curriculum (Investigator: Bartlett Hall)
Background: When asked in the CCSSE survey if there is “discussion of ideas from readings or classes with instructors outside of class,” a higher number of LSC-North Harris students submitted “Never” responses. The fact that more students are claiming there is “never discussion of ideas from readings or classes with instructors outside of class” indicates that the Biology Learning Center (BLC) could address this issue by providing students with opportunities to meet with their professor outside of class.
A biology professor will participate in biology study groups in the BLC during Spring 2010 so that students and professor have a platform for the discussion of ideas from readings and/or classes outside of class. Sessions will include such topics as lab exercises, lecture prep sheets, review of lecture material, question and answer periods with access to molecular models, animations worksheets, etc. These sessions will be primarily tutor led with four visits from the professor the week before major exams in the course.
At the end of the course, the CCSSE will be administered to all students in the course.
Mentoring for Engagement (Investigators: Lashun Griffin and Dorothy Reade)
Background: Students in Math 0308 and English 1301 classes have the opportunity to ask for a mentor to guide them through the course. These courses in math and English have been selected because they are crucial to student success and show a high number of at-risk students.
Professors Griffin and Reade plan to investigate the degree of success the LSC-North Harris Mentoring Program had during Fall 2009 and Spring 2010.
Learning Community of Macroeconomics and English Composition and Rhetoric (Investigators: Rami Shafiee and Wei Li)
Hypothesis: Student engagement and retention will be improved as a result of the learning community. It is anticipated that because of the setup of the class, which is a learning community, students will participate in lecture, research, discussion more actively and will be less likely to drop out.
Class setup: There are 16 students enrolled in both Econ 2301 and English 1301, and 20 students are enrolled in Econ 2301 only. All of the students belong to one of the four study groups (smaller learning communities within the larger learning community) by their own choice. Each group focuses on one region or one country along with the United States to make comparative studies of the countries’ economy and/or economic policies. All essay assignments and the final research project, including a presentation, will be graded by both the economic professor and the English professor.
Research design and methods: Both qualitative data and quantitative data will be collected to “measure” student engagement and retention.
Speech Communication Classes as Primary Initiators and Motivators for FTIC Students (Investigators: Jackie Davis-Gilmore and Bryan Barrows)
The researchers will examine speech communication classes as primary initiators and motivators for first year students in college. The approach is to assess the reasonableness of adopting a paradigm shift in the way colleges integrate college students into the overall college experience.
The hope is to test the basic idea that students perform better in core classes after being exposed to speech communication courses and should therefore be enrolled in such classes first in the college experience. A qualitative approach to the process of improving student success in core courses such as English, History, etc. will be provided.