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Paul P. Fidler Research Grant

 

National Resource Center announces 2008-2009 Fidler Grant Recipient

Columbia, SC - The National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience and Students in Transition named Rachel Smith, a doctoral candidate at Syracuse University, the recipient of the 2009 - 2010 Paul P. Fidler Research Grant. The center publicly acknowledged Smith during its 16th National Conference on Students in Transition held Nov. 6 - 8, 2009 in Salt Lake City, Utah.

The grant, designed to encourage and enable scholarly research on issues related to college student transitions, includes a financial stipend and travel to two national conferences. Completed research funded by the Paul P. Fidler Research Grant is featured in the Journal of The First-Year Experience and Students in Transition. Smith’s study is entitled Connected in Learning: A Mixed Methods Study of First-year Students’ Academic and Social Networks. The abstract appears below:

Networks of relationships connect college students with their peers in structures critical to learning, and yet researchers usually do not model them explicitly. This mixed methods case study draws on social network analysis to examine the specific academic and social relationships new students develop within communities that may influence their learning and involvement. This study compares a themed learning community with a traditional residence hall floor, using data from two social network surveys, 108 interviews, and participant observation. This research furthers understanding of how students construct peer relationships over time within administrator-created residential environments, which may influence educational outcomes. In its fifth year, the Paul P. Fidler Research Grant has become a well-respected and highly competitive grant program. The Center received proposals from researchers and practitioners throughout the United States as well as from several international institutions. The three other outstanding research projects selected as finalists were:

  • Mary Bornheimer of McKendree University for her studyentitled Transitioning From Soldiers to Students: The Nature and Effectiveness of Veteran Student Transition Programs

  • Shannon Tinney of Loyola College in Maryland for her study entitled In and Out of the Sophomore Year: Understanding the Role of Sophomore Programs in Students’ Transitions

  • Mary Bornheimer of McKendree University for her studyentitled Transitioning From Soldiers to Students: The Nature and Effectiveness of Veteran Student Transition Programs

Jennifer Keup, Director of the National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience and Students in Transition, led the Paul P. Fidler Research Grant selection process. Keup expects Smith’s research to have a national impact in benefiting the understanding the impact of social networks on the academic success of students.

“Rachel’s research examines a very important and yet critically under-examined area in the field of higher education," Keup said. “The results of her study that included surveys, interviews, and observation should provide important new information about the impact of social networks on the success of the students we work with each day in our various educational settings.”

Past recipients of the grant include:

  • 2008-2009 - Maryellen Mills of the University of Texas at Austin, Student Success Course Participation and Engagement among Part-time and Full-Time Community College Students

  • 2007-2008 - Dr. Eunyoung Kim of Seton Hall University, Acculturation Experiences and College Transitions of Minority Immigrant Students

  • 2006-2007 - Dr. Barbara Hofer of Middlebury College, The Electronic Tether: Parental Regulation, Self-Regulation, and the Role of Technology in College Transitions

  • 2005-2006 - Christine and Michael Kirk-Kuwaye of the University of Hawaii at Manoa, A Study of Engagement Patterns of Lateral and Vertical Transfer Students During their First Semester at a Public Research University
 
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