HERI Summer Institutes

Posted by Lesley McBain on March 25th, 2015 in News, News Homepage | No Comments »

Does combining networking, learning, and summer fun in Los Angeles sound like a good way to spend part of your summer? If so, HERI will again be offering four institutes throughout June, July, and August. These workshops provide opportunities for researchers and practitioners to connect on issues related to diversity research, retention and persistence, using CIRP data on campus, and innovation in undergraduate STEM education. All four institutes will be held at UCLA’s Westwood campus.

The Diversity Research Institute (DRI) will be held on June 16-17, 2015. Last year’s guest speaker Professor Adrianna Kezar will again join Professor Sylvia Hurtado for an intensive, hands-on and expert-led program. Attendees will gain knowledge and confidence to make diversity-related institutional improvements on their campuses.

The Retention & Persistence Institute (RPI) will be held on July 6-7, 2015. CIRP Director Kevin Eagan will lead this institute, focusing on HERI’s recent “Completing College: Assessing Graduation Rates at Four-Year Institutions” report and the latest data on retention from other leading scholars in the field. Participants will learn how to reframe retention discussions on their campuses as well as learn more about HERI’s retention calculator, an innovative tool that accurately predicts an institution’s graduation rate.

The CIRP Summer Institute (CSI) will be held on July 27-29, 2015. At the CIRP Summer Institute, led by CIRP Director Kevin Eagan, CIRP Assistant Director Ellen Stolzenberg, and CIRP Senior Data Manager Maria Suchard, participants not only find out about CIRP’s latest research findings on issues ranging from retention to campus climate and diversity but also receive in-depth training on:

  • The conceptual framework of the CIRP surveys
  • The interpretation and analysis of institutional data
  • Potential uses for the data on campuses

The STEM Summer Institute (SSI) will be held on August 11-12, 2015 and features research from a 10-year study at HERI focused on undergraduate student pathways into and through STEM programs. This intensive two-day workshop will equip participants with skills, knowledge, and insight helpful in identifying, assessing, and addressing campus-specific needs regarding STEM education.

In addition to these exciting programs, participants will have access to all that the beautiful, diverse city of Los Angeles has to offer. We hope you will consider joining us this summer to learn and network.

1972: High School Habits: Alcohol, Sports, and Artistic Experiences of Incoming College Students

Posted by Abbie Bates on March 10th, 2015 in News, News Homepage, Surveys | Comments Off

(Image is open access) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roosevelt_Stadium

In 1972, equal participation became the focus in higher education.  Not only were more people realizing that a college education was increasingly important, but there was a new interest in ensuring that women had equal access to the benefits of a college education as well.

This year saw the passage of Title IX, a landmark law that sought to increase equal protections for women within education. Title IX was part of the Education Amendments of 1972, which included laws and regulations for higher education, vocational education, elementary, and secondary education.  Title IX made it illegal to exclude, deny benefits from, or discriminate against any individual on the basis of gender.

As women’s perspectives became central to the narrative of the college experience, the CIRP Freshman Survey examined a range of activities men and women participated in during their last year in high school.

Specifically, a new set of questions asked students whether specific topics applied to them in high school:

  • During the past year I: played a musical instrument
  • During the past year I: visited an art gallery or museum
  • While in high school I: was a member of a scholastic honor society
  • While in high school I: won a varsity letter in basketball or football
  • While in high school I: won a varsity letter in another sport
  • While in high school I: edited the high school paper, year-book, or literary magazine
  • During the past year I: drank beer

In general, college freshmen were engaging in a wide variety of experiences and accomplishments that shaped their lives prior to entering college.  For example, 33.2% of the respondents indicated that they had played a musical instrument in the past year and 54.4% had visited an art gallery or museum. Gender differences particularly stand out within this bank of questions.   For instance, 32.5% of women indicated that they were members of a scholastic honor society, compared to only 20.9% of men.  This same pattern holds for editing the high school paper, year-book, or literary magazine, with 18.2% of women responding that they had participated in one or more of these activities, compared to only 9.9% of men.

However, when it comes to athletics, we see the opposite trend holds true.  36.9% of male freshmen indicated that they had won a varsity letter in a sport other than basketball or football, compared to only 13.9% of females.  The contrast is even more apparent when looking only at basketball or football, with 26% of males stating that they had won a varsity letter in these sports, as opposed to only 4.5% of females.

Finally, for this freshman class, nearly half of the women came from the top quarter of their graduating class (49.8%), significantly higher than the 38.1% of the men who did so.  These differences between men and women reveal different patterns of experiences that shape the lives of students prior to college.  While women tend to have more scholastic and academic experiences (e.g., honor society, editor, top of their class), men tend to participate in athletics at much higher rates (e.g. varsity letters).  The recent passage of Title IX would begin to play a role in how these experiences shifted (or didn’t) in the years to come.


Did you know…

67.4% of all entering freshmen agreed somewhat or strongly that parents should be discouraged from having large families.


1971: Flower Power: Understanding the Relationship between Students and their Parents

Posted by Abbie Bates on March 10th, 2015 in News, News Homepage, Surveys | Comments Off

(Image is open access) https://openclipart.org/detail/46357/family-by-greggrossmeier

In 1971, many of the same social issues that influenced the late 1960s continued to impact American society. In addition, we see the emergence of the digital age with the invention of the first Microprocessor and the creation of the pocket calculator. This was also the beginning of internet chat rooms and the invention of the email, though common use was still years away.  The lowering of the voting age to 18 was officially ratified into law as the 26th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

As young people gained this new right to vote at 18 and as new technology was emerging, we start to see a growing divide between young Americans and their parents.  Disillusioned by a prolonged war in Vietnam and a growing mistrust of the government and its power over American citizens, young adults were beginning to distance themselves from their parents’ generation. In order to capture this burgeoning shift by young men and women, the CIRP Freshman Survey included a number of different questions related to how students interacted with their parents.

One question in particular, only included this year, directly sought students’ opinions on the emerging generation gap by asking students the extent to which they agreed with the following statement:

  • The generation gap between me and my parents is so great that we can barely communicate.

Nearly one in five (18.6%) incoming students indicated that they agreed “somewhat” or “strongly” with this statement.  While certainly not the majority opinion, it clearly shows the generation gap.

Despite this belief in the growing generation gap, many freshmen still relied on their parents for future planning and funding for college.  For example, the following question asked students the frequency with which they engaged in certain activities:

Indicate which activities you did during the past year: Discussed my future with my parents.

Of the respondents, 38.7% of all freshmen “frequently” discussed their future with their parents. However, there are significant differences between the opinions and behaviors of men and women.  For example, women (46.1%) were more likely to frequently discuss their future with their parents than men were (32.4%).

Additionally, one question asked about the funding sources for students’ education:

For each item below, indicate its importance as a source of financing your education.

In response to this question, 54.5% relied on their parents as a “major” source of financial support for their education. Only 48.9% of men relied on their parents to pay for college, compared to 61.2% of women.  Adding a layer of complexity to the perceived generation gap, these findings reveal a continued reliance on parents for support and funding, especially for women.

Did you know…

51.6% of all entering freshmen rated themselves as better than average in comparison to the average student their age in terms of cheerfulness.

36.3% of all entering freshmen rated themselves as better than average in comparison to the average student their age in terms of stubbornness.

1970: Students' Changing Views on the Role of the Federal Government

Posted by Abbie Bates on March 10th, 2015 in News, News Homepage, Surveys | Comments Off

(Image is open access) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pay-for-Performance_(Federal_Government)

In many ways, 1970 was very much a continuation of the unrest and social activism that was characteristic of the 1960s. However, this year also marked the beginning of a “New Right” that sought to renounce the social movements and freedoms of the previous decade. This new conservative backlash favored a return to traditional family roles and a federal government that stayed out of the concerns of the American people.  The “New Right” believed that the government coddled poor people and Black people too much, all on the taxpayer’s dime.  This new group sought to reign in the interference of the government and return to traditional values of individualism and independence.

Additionally, 1970 saw the occurrence of major events that would shape national policy for years to come.  For example, the environmental movement continued to gain momentum, with the first Earth Day and the establishment of the Environmental Protection Agency.  The women’s rights movement continued to fight for political and social equality for women, which included addressing issues such as marriage and divorce, the wage gap, and family planning.  In addition, after complications, the Apollo 13 mission to the moon was abandoned, which slowed the space race for the United States.  1970 was also the year that President Nixon signed an extension of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 to lower the national voting age to 18.

Finally, both higher education and the general public were shaken by the Kent State Massacre in May of 1970, in which the Ohio National Guard shot and killed unarmed students on campus who were protesting the Cambodian Campaign, a military incursion launched by the United States in Eastern Cambodia. All of these events not only shaped national policy, but they impacted the values and beliefs of students who were entering college for the first time.  In order to capture the attitudes and beliefs about the role of government in various national issues, a bank of questions, only used in 1969 and 1970, was added to the CIRP Freshmen Survey.

During the next few years, to what extent do you think the Federal Government should be involved in each of the following national issues? (Response options: Eliminate any existing programs or remain uninvolved, Decrease involvement from current levels, Maintain current level of involvement, Increase involvement from current level, Initiate new crash program)

  • Control of environmental pollution
  • Use of tax incentives to control the birth rate
  • Protection of the consumer from faulty goods and services
  • Compensatory education for the disadvantaged
  • Special benefits for veterans
  • Control of firearms
  • Elimination of poverty
  • Crime prevention
  • School desegregation
  • Compensatory financial aid for the disadvantaged
  • Provision of birth control information, pills or devices to the general population
  • Military involvement in Southeast Asia
  • Development of antiballistic missile (ABM) capability
  • Control of TV and newspaper news reporting
  • Space program

Interesting findings emerged both overall and by gender.  For example, 92.9% of respondents indicated that they believed the Federal Government should increase involvement or initiate new crash programs to control environmental pollution. In contrast, only 16.5% supported this role for the Federal Government for military involvement in Southeast Asia.  The overwhelming support for the environment contrasted with waning support for American military presence in Southeast Asia reveals a shift in the national priorities, as seen through the perspectives of this group of students.

In terms of gender differences, 42.5% of men believed that the Federal Government should increase their involvement or initiate new programs to control firearms, compared to the 54.6% of women who supported this level of involvement.  Similarly, 30.5% of men supported increased or new federal support for the development of antiballistic missile (ABM) capability contrasted with only 15.9% of women.  Finally, 38.7% of men thought that the Federal Government should increase or initiate involvement in the space program.  On the other hand, only 22.6% of freshmen women supported this idea.

While there were varying opinions on the role of the Federal Government for many of these issues, it is clear that the events in 1970 coupled with the movement of the “New Right” influenced the beliefs of these students as they began their college careers.


Did you know…

21.4% of all entering freshmen indicated that in the past year, they frequently cursed or swore.



1969: Students' Increasing Support of the Second Wave of Feminism

Posted by Abbie Bates on March 10th, 2015 in News, News Homepage, Surveys | Comments Off

(Image is open access) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Betty_Friedan

The second wave of feminism had spread across the United States in the late 1960s. By 1969, the women’s liberation movement had gained momentum as well as the attention of the rest of the country. Feminists and women’s rights activists were working for change in multiple arenas across the nation, from education and working conditions to marital concerns and family planning.

Students were in the middle of the passion and intensity of the national campaign. Two items on the 1969 CIRP Freshman Survey gauged students’ convictions about women’s rights issues:

This bank of questions asked about the extent to which students agree with the following statements. Mark one in each row:
• Divorce laws should be liberalized
• Under some conditions, abortions should be legalized

Of the respondents, 41.6% indicated that they “somewhat” or “strongly” agreed that divorce laws should be liberalized. It is interesting to note that more men than women held this belief about marriage (46.5% of men, 35.2% of women).

Furthermore, 76.2% of all freshman respondents indicated that they “somewhat” or “strongly” agreed that under some conditions, abortions should be legalized. Again, more men (77.9%) than women (74.1%) held this belief about abortion. These perspectives occurred in the aftermath of the Abortion Speak-Outs conducted by the radical feminist group, Redstockings. These political demonstrations highlighted the fact that women’s voices were not included in the debate over abortion. Despite the representation of only women involved in the broader political movement to increase women’s rights, men were more likely to support legalized abortions in certain cases than women.
While these two questions only appeared on the Survey in 1969 and 1970, their inclusion reflects an important movement that was occurring on the political and social stage at the time.

Did you know…
23.1% of all entering freshmen indicated that the federal government should increase or initiate involvement to eliminate violence from T.V.

1968: Tragedy and War: Students' Increasing Activism and Demonstrations

Posted by Abbie Bates on March 3rd, 2015 in News, News Homepage, Surveys | Comments Off

(Image is open access) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Draft-card_burning

1968 was a momentous year full of triumphs and tragedies, including social unrest and activism covering both international as well as domestic issues. The Tet Offensive in January was one of the bloodiest battles for Americans during the Vietnam War and it motivated more American citizens back home to further withdraw their support of the war. Additionally, the Civil Rights Movement and the progress that it was making on the homefront suffered shocking setbacks with the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy.

Given this tumultuous context within which students were living, it was important to gauge their activism surrounding these issues. Specifically, the following questions, only asked in 1968, were asked to assess the level of student activism during their last year in high school:

Below is a general list of things that students sometimes do. Indicate which of these things you did during the past year in school.
• Participated in a demonstration against the war in Vietnam
• Participated in a demonstration against racial discrimination
• Participated in a demonstration against some administrative policy of my school

Even though these social and political issues were unfolding as these students were finishing high school, few of them actually participated in demonstrations. Only 4.6% of all freshmen indicated that they had “frequently” or “occasionally” participated in a demonstration against the war in Vietnam. Similarly, only 7% responded that they had done so in response to racial discrimination. However, significantly more students participated in demonstrations in a more local context against some administrative policy at their schools (16.1%). While men and women participated in demonstrations against broader issues at similar rates (Vietnam: 4.9% of men, 4.2% of women; racial discrimination: 7% of men, 7.1% of women), more men played an active role in demonstrating against local issues, such as the administrative policies of their school (17.5% of men, 14.3% of women). While the events of 1968 were significant, students were not yet actively participating in these movements.

Did you know…
49.8% of all entering freshmen indicated that they “frequently” or “occasionally” arranged a date for another student during their last year in high school.

New Research Examines Racial Identity Salience among College Students

Posted by Kevin Eagan on February 26th, 2015 in News, News Homepage, Research, Surveys | Comments Off

This blog was written by Dr. Adriana Ruiz Alvarado.

Even in the wake of escalating racial tensions in Ferguson, Missouri, and across the nation, many still contend that we are living in a postracial era. Continuous racial incidents on college campuses, however, demonstrate that race is still very salient for many students. The salience of a social identity (e.g. race, gender, sexual orientation) refers to the frequency with which individuals think about their group membership. Because there is variability both between and within racial groups, it is important to explicitly show how racial identity salience is related to multiple dimensions of the climate for diverse campuses.

In Thinking about race: The salience of racial identity at two- and four-year colleges and the climate for diversity, Hurtado, Ruiz Alvarado, and Guillermo-Wann employ multiple regression analysis to examine differences in the salience of racial identity across racial groups and identify precollege socialization and college experiences associated with a heightened salience of racial identity for students. The study uses data from the pilot administration of the Diverse Learning Environments (DLE) survey, collected between December 2009 and May 2010. The sample includes 4,981 students from 14 two- and four-year institutions.

Results demonstrate that although there is a great deal of variability within each racial group, it is clear that specific groups who are often targets or face severe underrepresentation on campus spend more time thinking about their race than their White peers regardless of institution type. Moreover, Asian American and Multiracial students report relatively higher levels of discrimination and bias than other groups, demonstrating the importance of disaggregating data to understand how different racial groups experience the climate. In terms of college experiences, two new CIRP factors on the DLE reveal the importance of being exposed to issues of diversity and identity in and outside the classroom. Curriculum of Inclusion and Co-Curricular Diversity Activities are both positively associated with a heightened salience of racial identity for students at two- and four-year institutions, highlighting opportunities for faculty and staff to facilitate students’ identity development.

Understanding the salience of students’ various identities is an important first step in helping them work through different conflicts that may arise on campus. The DLE is now part of CIRP’s collection of student survey instruments, and items asking about the salience of nine different social identity groups are included in the Intergroup Relations module for institutions wishing to examine salience on their own campus. Registration is currently open, and the DLE can be administered until June 27, 2015.

1967: Love and Marriage: College Students' Views on Dating and Marriage

Posted by Abbie Bates on February 24th, 2015 in News, News Homepage, Surveys | Comments Off

The 1967 CIRP Freshman Survey featured items on dating patterns and expectations of marriage.

One question, only asked in 1967, inquired about students’ dating behavior while in high school. This emphasis on romantic relationships reflects the pop culture of the 1960s with the emergence of free love and the sexual liberation movement.
While attending high school, did you:
• Date one steady girlfriend (boyfriend)
• Have a series of steady girlfriends (boyfriends)
• Date a few different girls (boys) but none steadily
• Pretty much played the field
• Seldom or never date

Among these response choices, the highest percentage of freshmen indicated that they “date[d] a few different girls (boys) but none steadily” (23.6%) and the lowest percentage reported that they “seldom or never date[d]” (16.1%). However, it is important to note that responses to this question were relatively evenly distributed among the five options. Furthermore, there was virtually no difference between females and males in terms of the how they answered this question.

However, while the counterculture movement was challenging the conservative norms of the 1950s, there was still an interest in traditional notions of marriage. For many students, getting married during, or right out of, college was something that you just did. As the CIRP Freshman Survey tried to understand the values of incoming students, this inquiry on marriage was included in multiple years:

What is your best guess as to the chances that you will:
• Get married while in college
• Get married within a year after college

While few students expected to get married in college (7.6% of all freshmen), many more expected to tie the knot within a year after graduation, with 22.9% indicating that there was a “very good chance” of this happening. For women, this expectation was even higher, with 27.4% of females reporting that they expected to get married right after college, compared with 19.3% of men.

This emphasis on relationships on the survey in 1967 reveals the tension between conservative norms of the past and liberal notions of sexual freedom of the time. While only about 20% of all students had steady girl/boyfriends in high school, nearly 23% of them expected to marry just out of college. These issues reflect the changing values of the time and were captured through the experiences of freshmen in 1967.

Did you know…
17.3% of all entering freshmen indicated that they could competently identify at least 15 species of bird on sight.
33.2% of all entering freshmen indicated that they could competently name the starting players for a professional athletic team.
19.4% of all entering freshmen indicated that they could competently mix a dry martini.

1966: Inputs Matter: Dr. Alexander (Sandy) Astin Initiates the Freshman Survey

Posted by Abbie Bates on February 19th, 2015 in News, News Homepage | Comments Off

(Image is open access) http://pixabay.com/en/adult-education-leave-know-power-379219/

This year marks the 50th administration of the CIRP Freshman Survey. As we begin to administer the survey this spring and count down to the release of the 50th edition of The American Freshman, we will highlight some of the key findings and interesting survey nuggets for each of the Freshman Survey administrations. We will post these blogs weekly, so check back here regularly as we examine some of the more salient issues highlighted by the largest and longest running study of entering college students.

1966: Inputs Matter: Dr. Alexander (Sandy) Astin Initiates the Freshman Survey

The CIRP Freshman Survey was introduced in 1966 to better understand the students who were entering higher education institutions across the nation. The underlying premise was that, in order to understand the impact of college, it was first necessary to understand the “inputs” students were bringing with them. This still holds true for the Freshman Survey today and is a hallmark feature of the survey itself. However, some of the student “inputs” in 1966 look very different than the “inputs” of today. Some of the more unique items that were only asked in 1966 include:

Below is a general list of things that students sometimes do. Indicate which of these things you did during the past year in school.

• Acted in plays
• Participated on the speech or debate team
• Argued with other students
• Listened to New Orleans (Dixieland) jazz
• Drove a car
• Sang in a choir or glee club

In 1966, almost half of incoming students indicated that they listed to New Orleans (Dixieland) Jazz “frequently” or “occasionally” (47.6%) and a third of them acted in plays (32.9%) and/or sang in the choir or glee club (33.7%). While 12.5% of all students indicated that they had argued with other students “frequently” over the past year, men engaged in this behavior at higher rates than women (14.4% and 10.2% respectively).

These items reveal the types of activities and behaviors that were characteristic of entering freshmen in 1966. Since another goal of the Freshman Survey is to analyze trends over time, some of the items asked in 1966 have appeared on the survey every year since its inception:

Indicate the importance to you personally of:

• Helping others who are in difficulty
• Making a theoretical contribution to science (every year except 1973)
• Becoming accomplished in one of the performing arts (acting, dancing, etc.)
• Obtaining recognition from my colleagues for contributions to my special field
• Being very well-off financially

In 1966, 68.5% of all freshmen indicated that helping others who are in difficulty was “essential” or “very important” to them personally. However, more women (79.5%) indicated this was important than men (59.2%). Additionally, 43.8% of students indicated that it was “essential” or “very important” to be well-off financially, with more males (54.1%) than females (31.6%) marking this priority.

While the relative importance students place on these goals may have changed over time, the recurrence of these items represents the continuing relevance of these issues in the lives of students over the past 50 years.

Did you know…
• 37.7% of entering freshmen indicated that they “frequently” or “occasionally” gambled with cards or dice during their last year in high school.
• 60.3% of entering freshmen indicated that they “frequently” or “occasionally” made wisecracks in class during their last year in high school.
• 25% of entering freshmen indicated that they “frequently” typed a homework assignment during their last year in high school.
• 42.5% of entering freshmen indicated that they “frequently” or “occasionally” had a blind date during their last year in high school.

Annual FYE ‐ Feb 7-10, 2015 in Dallas, Texas

Posted by Silvio Vallejos on February 2nd, 2015 in Conferences | Comments Off

Annual First-Year Experience (FYE) Conference February 7-10, 2015 in Dallas, Texas.