Posted: March 17, 2014
The recipient of the 2013-2014 Barbara K. Townsend Dissertation of the Year is Robin LaSota, Ph.D. for her dissertation titled, “Factors and Practices that Influence Students’ Upward Transfer to Bachelor’s Degree Programs.” Dr. LaSota is currently a Post-doctoral Research Associate with the Office of Community College Research and Leadership at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
About the Dissertation:
Dr. LaSota’s dissertation featured an explanatory, sequential mixed-methods research design (Creswell and Plano-Clark, 2011) to assess factors influencing community college students’ transfer probability to baccalaureate-granting institutions and to present promising practices in colleges and states directed at improving upward transfer, particularly for low-income and first-generation college students.
First, the dissertation featured a multi-level random-effects model analyses to better understand how factors such as students’ academic and social integration, community college characteristics and expenditures, and state transfer policy components influence community college students’ upward transfer probability over a recent six-year period (utilizing the Beginning Postsecondary Study 2003-2009). Second, comparative case studies of six community colleges (or primarily associate’s degree granting institutions) in three states (Florida, Georgia, and Washington) reported about how community colleges and state policy leaders currently engage in experimentation and innovation in seeking to improve students’ upward transfer, and how they use data to inform decision-making on this issue. The case studies considered ways in which community college and state policy leaders make decisions regarding improving students’ transfer prospects, the types of promising initiatives being implemented, and what is being learned from them.
The case study design used above-average compared to average performers to illustrate field implementation dynamics that may influence student transfer outcomes, and provide deeper examination of issues affecting community college students as they are making the decision to transfer to a four-year institution, with the goal of improving policies and practices.
About the Barbara K. Townsend Dissertation of the Year Award:
In honor of the life and career of Barbara K. Townsend, the National Institute for the Study of Transfer Students (NISTS) has established the annual Barbara K. Townsend Dissertation of the Year Award for dissertation research related to transfer students. This year’s award marked the 5th annual presentation.
NISTS encourages the development and dissemination of knowledge that informs the academic and practitioner communities on transfer. Criteria for the annual Barbara K. Townsend Dissertation of the Year Award highlight the significance of the dissertation topic to the advancement of our knowledge about and/or effective service to transfer students. To this end, the Institute invites faculty to nominate exceptional dissertations each year, regardless of methods or academic discipline.
Posted on March 17, 2014 in the category News.