Local researcher awarded Fidler grant by NRC
The National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience and Students in Transition named Syracuse University’s Rachel Smith the recipient of the 2009 – 10 Paul P. Fidler Research Grant.
The center, based at the University of South Carolina, will recognize Smith, a doctoral student in education, at its 16th National Conference on Students in Transition, Nov. 6 – 8 in Salt Lake City.
The grant encourages and enables scholarly research on issues related to college-student transitions and includes a stipend of $5,000 and travel to the 17th and 18th National Conference on Students in Transition to be held respectively in November 2010 and 2011.
Research completed as a result of the Fidler grant will be featured in the Journal of The First-Year Experience and Students in Transition. Smith’s study is titled “Connected in Learning: A Mixed Methods study of First-Year Students’ Academic and Social Networks.” To understand how first-year students develop relationships critical to their academic success and social adjustment, Smith will compare a themed learning community with a traditional residence-hall floor using surveys, interviews and observation.
In its fifth year, the Paul P. Fidler Research Grant has become a well-respected and highly competitive grant program, said Jennifer Keup, the center’s director.
This year’s crop of proposals came from researchers and practitioners throughout the country and internationally. Smith’s research promises to shed light on an area that has received little attention in higher education, she said.
“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 include surveys, interviews and observation should provide important, new information about the impact of social networks on the success of the students we work with in our various educational settings.”
Three additional research projects were selected as finalists for this year’s award:
- Mary Bornheimer of McKendree University, “Transitioning From Soldiers to Students: the Nature and Effectiveness of Veteran Student Transition Program”;
- Meghan E. Wilson of the University of Pennsylvania, “I’m a Freshman…Again: The First-Year Experience for Participants in a Comprehensive Dual Enrollment Program”; and
- Shannon Tinney of Loyola College (Md.), “In and Out of the Sophomore Year: Understanding the Role of Sophomore Programs in Students’ Transitions.”
For more information on The National Resource center for The First-Year Experience and Students in Transition, as well as information on the Paul P. Fidler Research Grant, a list of past recipients and information on the 2010 – 11 application process, visit: http://sc.edu/fye/.