Grant Spotlight: Mapping community networks of student success

Research News

The NASPA Foundation Channing Briggs Small Research Grant was awarded to a team in the School of Education. 

Collegiate academic majors provide pathways for students to connect with each other, faculty and staff. But, students who enter college exploring potential majors may have less access to the benefits that flow from social networks that form around undergraduate majors. Learning communities offering first-year seminars are often implemented to help new students explore their interests and connect with others on campus. 

The team uses social network analysis to map the interaction patterns of students in a learning community centered onmajor exploration to see how evolving social and academic network structures within the community relate to eventual major declaration and student success. They also highlight practical uses of network analysis for educators who support student engagement on campus.

Team members: School of Education assistant professors, Rachel Smith and Michael Brown; Clayton Johnson, College of Human Sciences associate director of student services and School of Education doctoral student in higher education; and Jennifer Tipton, School of Education doctoral student in higher education.