Research and Evaluation
Study of Integrated Living Learning Programs (SILLP)
A project of Dr. Matthew J. Mayhew, PhD, the Study of Integrated Living Learning Programs (SILLP) assesses the influence of living learning programs (LLPs) on the academic, intellectual, and social development of college students.
Stemming from decades of research proving that undergraduate learning and development occurs as substantively outside of the classroom as it does within, LLPs integrate academic programming and faculty engagement as components of the residence hall experience. Since the early 2000’s, LLPs have burgeoned on college campuses as institutions of higher education endeavor to make the transition between academic and social spaces more seamless.
Drawing from the knowledge of seasoned residential life and housing professionals and scholars of student learning and development, the SILLP is based on the information gathered from an empirically validated measure of college student experiences with living learning programs. Designed as an assessment tool, it explores the relationships between institutional structures, forms of engagement, and student academic, intellectual, and social development. Its status as a national study allows for national and peer-level benchmarking.
Interfaith Diversity and Experiences Longitudinal Survey (IDEALS)
A project of Dr. Matthew J. Mayhew, PhD, in collaboration with Dr. Alyssa N. Rockenbach, PhD (NC State University), and the Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC), the Interfaith Diversity Experiences and Attitudes Longitudinal Survey (IDEALS) builds on decades of combined experience in exploring the role of religion and spirituality in college students’ lives. IDEALS is designed to examine the experiences and structures that foster constructive dialogue and the development of meaningful relationships across this important form of difference.
For U.S. college students, issues of worldview difference are pervasive. In a context where international students (who tend to be more spiritually diverse) constitute an increasing peer group, and politicians and media outlets present conflicting messages about faith’s role in society, the challenge of navigating issues of religious and spiritual diversity is ever present. As our society and economies become increasingly interconnected, it is essential that colleges and universities develop students’ ability to understand and engage across religious, spiritual, and other forms of difference.
Participation in IDEALS is free. This four-year, longitudinal survey, will highlight the value of interfaith dialogue and meaningful relationship formation throughout the undergraduate experience. More information on IDEALS and participating may be found here. You may also contact Paulina Abaunza, Research Assistant.
Project Innovation Cultivation (InnC)
Under Dr. Matthew J. Mayhew, PhD, Project Innovation Cultivation (InnC) examines the influence of college on cultivating the knowledge, awareness, and skills students need to generate and execute contextually beneficial new ideas.
This work emerges from previous research led by Dr. Mayhew (2012, in press) that explored the relationships between collegiate experiences and students’ innovative entrepreneurial intentions. Across two studies, the results from this work demonstrate that taking courses with an emphasis on entrepreneurship, developing relationships with faculty, and having meaningful out-of-class experiences have an influence on innovation intentions– even after controlling for students’ personality traits and a host of other personal and academic characteristics.
The next phase of this research will explore innovation more broadly, considering students’ development along intrapersonal, interpersonal, and cognitive dimensions associated with innovation. This research will also study the extent to which campus climates for innovation might encourage students to engage in innovation activities during college (e.g., starting a new organization).
More details can be found here: projectinnc.org.
How College Affects Students: Findings from the 21st Century
Drs. Matthew J. Mayhew and Gregory C. Wolniak are co-authors on the much anticipated How College Affects Students: Findings from the 21st Century, the 3rd volume of Pascarella and Terenizini’s award-winning review of the research on the impacts of college on students.
American higher education is undergoing a period of introspection and skepticism about the outcomes of undergraduate education. The quality of the research evidence on college impact varies dramatically across studies, and even federal data on graduation rates has been repeatedly called into question. These facts have made it increasingly difficult for any single scholar, administrator, or policymaker to fully grasp the burgeoning and heterogeneous literature on college impact. The 3rd volume will contain an extensive synthesis of empirical studies from the 21st century to answer a broad research question: How does college affect undergraduate students?
The forthcoming 3rd volume is a collaborative effort among several leading higher education scholars, including: Ernest T. Pascarella, Patrick T. Terenzini, Matthew J. Mayhew, Alyssa Bryant Rockenbach, Nicholas A. Bowman, Tricia A. Seifert, and Gregory C. Wolniak.
The 2016 State of Our Nation's Youth
Lead by Dr. Gregory Wolniak as Principal Investigator, in collaboration with the Horatio Alger Association and Hart Research Associates, the State of Our Nation’s Youth is a public opinion study based on a quadrennial survey administered in the months leading up to the 2016 presidential election. The purpose of the study is to provide a snapshot of young people’s attitudes on issues such as the quality and cost of education, career aspirations, the economy, how they access news and interface with technology, as well as key political issues affecting the country. A share of the study participants are in the late stages of high school and not quite old enough to vote, so gathering nationally representative data on their attitudes towards important social issues adds an important layer to the national dialogue leading up to the presidential election.
Opinion based research of this type is intended to provide descriptive information that informs the public about the issues and attitudes shaping the country, without political bias or partisanship. In this vein, the State of Our Nation’s Youth study has been conducted for over a decade (the 2012 edition available online here). The 2016 State of Our Nation’s Youth study will provide important updates on past trends and new information that builds on previous editions.
An additional purpose of the State of Our Nation’s Youth study is to administer the survey to currently enrolled college students who are Horatio Alger Association scholarship recipients, to provide the Association with information on their scholars, relative to a nationally representative sample of survey respondents. The Horatio Alger Association Scholarship Program is one of the longest running and most generous need-based scholarship programs in the United States. Since 1984 the Association has awarded more than $110 million to approximately 20,000 college students.
Improving Transparency, Accuracy, and Accessibility of College Cost Information
With funding from the Spencer Foundation, Dr. Gregory Wolniak (Principal Investigator) is leading a collaborative effort to addresses the need to improve transparency, accuracy, and accessibility of information pertaining to college costs. In partnership with Drs. Casey George-Jackson (University of Louisville) and Glen Nelson (Arizona State University) as Co-PIs, the project will: 1) systematically document and publicly disseminate institutional Differential Tuition (DT) practices at all public, four-year colleges and universities; 2) examine the characteristics of institutions that utilize DT practices; and 3) explore the practice's effect on enrollments of underrepresented students.DT practices are the purposeful variation in undergraduate tuition by major area of study and/or enrollment year, which over the past 20 years have increasingly been adopted at public colleges and universities, adding complexity to accessing college cost information, and obscuring publicly available information on tuition and costs of attendance. While DT practices are becoming more prevalent, little is known about the magnitude of differentials being adopted, or the overall influence. Most concerning is the clear evidence that the availability of financial resources and access to information disproportionately affect college going behavior among underrepresented and low-income students. Therefore, the study will: illuminate the specific institutional practice of DT; provide evidence on the practice’s effects over time on the enrollment of students from varied backgrounds; and provide an important informational resource by improving the accuracy in pricing information for researchers, practitioners, and policymakers.