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Abstract

Many believe that the presence of role models positively influences the behavior and success of students. We test one aspect of this contention by focusing upon the impact that Black, Asian, Hispanic, White and women role models have upon graduation rates at 176 four-year, public colleges. We find only limited evidence in favor of role model hypotheses as they relate to individual institutional graduation rates. A 1% increase in full-time Black faculty on a campus is associated with a .59% increase in the graduation rate of Black students on that campus, but we do not find strong results for any other student group. This suggests that we should be less sweeping and more evidence-based in our approaches to questions involving campus diversity.
1 23
Journal of Economics and Finance
ISSN 1055-0925
J Econ Finan
DOI 10.1007/s12197-018-9450-1
The effects of role models on college
graduation rates
James V.Koch & Ziniya Zahedi
1 23
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The effects of role models on college graduation rates
James V. Koch
1
&Ziniya Zahedi
1
#Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018
Abstract
Many believe that the presence of role models positively influences the behavior and
success of students. We test one aspect of this contention by focusing upon the impact
that Black, Asian, Hispanic, White and women role models have upon graduation rates
at 176 four-year, public colleges. We find only limited evidence in favor of role model
hypotheses as they relate to individual institutional graduation rates. A 1% increase in
full-time Black faculty on a campus is associated with a .59% increase in the graduation
rate of Black students on that campus, but we do not find strong results for any other
student group. This suggests that we should be less sweeping and more evidence-based
in our approaches to questions involving campus diversity.
Keywords Graduationrates .Role model hypotheses.Influence of role modelson success.
Universities
JEL Classification I23
1 Introduction
Many individuals believe that the presence of faculty role models not only influences
the academic majors college students choose, but also stimulates their academic
performance (Bayer and Rouse 2016). Decades ago, Verdugo (1995)offeredasuccinct
version of the role model hypothesis through the lens of Hispanic students: BBy role
models is meant having Hispanics on campus who are in positions of status and power
within and outside the institution. The belief is that if Hispanic students are able to see
Hispanics in these kinds of positions, it will not only motivate them to remain in school
Journal of Economics and Finance
https://doi.org/10.1007/s12197-018-9450-1
*James V. Koch
jkoch@odu.edu
Ziniya Zahedi
zzahe001@odu.edu
1
Old Dominion University, Norfolk, VA 23529, USA
Author's personal copy
and achieve academically, but it will also provide them with a group that is a natural
sounding board for the many problems facing Hispanic students.^
Ehrenberg (1995) organized a symposium that focused substantially on role models
and concluded that the evidence in favor of these propositions was mixed. Boulware
(2011) arrived at a similar conclusion: Bthe small body of studies on this topic contains
methodological and conceptual inconsistencies and have not produced any consistent
results or conclusions.^
We offer fresh evidence on the influence of role models in higher education. However, in
contrast to previous studies that have concentrated on the choices of individual students in
specific academic majors, we adopt an alternative approach and focus upon institutional
graduation rates. We address both racial/ethnic characteristics and gender.
Our focus on institutions rather than individual students allows us to sidestep some
of the methodological problems that have plagued previous work, most prominent
among them the self-selection biases that have corroded the ability of researchers to
discern role model effects. To wit, most students have some capacity to choose the
specific courses they will take and the professors who teach those courses. Further, they
can drop courses. This has clouded results reported in most prior studies.
By no means do we provide the last word on the empirical validity of role model
hypotheses. Nevertheless, our work pushes the ball down the field because we focus on
the six-year graduation rates of specific racial groups (and women) and consider the
possibility influences of faculty, student and citizen role models on those graduation rates.
Our empirical work is based upon a diverse sample of 176 four-year public
institutions of higher education. We examine the six-year graduation rate of undergrad-
uate students at each institution and seek to determine if the presence or absence of role
models at each has an impact upon its graduation rates. The results are thought-
provoking. Where Black
1
students are concerned, a 1.0% increase in the percentage
of Black faculty on the typical campus evokes a .59% increase in that institutions
graduation rate of Black students. However, we find no evidence to support a role
model/support effect for the relative presence of Black students on a campus, or for the
Black citizenry within that state. We present comparable evidence for Asian, Hispanic,
White and female students. In general, we uncover only mixed evidence of the
existence of role model effects.
2 Brief literature review
Until the mid-1990s, virtually all analyses of possible role model effects focused on K-
12 education.
2
Elementary education teachers traditionally have been considered influ-
ential role models for young students. Spurred on by work centered at the School of
Industrial Relations at Cornell University, researchers in the mid-1990s extended the
coverage of the role model hypothesis to college undergraduates by examining the
impact of the gender of college faculty members on studentschoice of their major, the
courses they opted to take, whether they completed a course, the grade they received, if
1
We use the term Black because one of our major data sources, the Chronicle of Higher Education,usesthe
term Black rather than African-American to describe student and faculty in its data sets.
2
See Jones and Dindia (2004) for a summary of this evidence.
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they subsequently took additional courses in this discipline, and subsequent labor
market outcomes (Canes and Rosen 1995; Rothstein 1995;Solnick1995; Dynan and
Rouse 1997; Robst et al. 1998; Robb and Robb 1999: Jensen and Owen 2000;
Ashworth and Evans 2010; Rask and Bailey 2002; Butler and Christensen 2003;
Bettinger and Long 2004,2005; Sonnert et al. 2007; Hoffman and Oreopoulos 2009;
Carrell and West 2010; Carrell et al. 2010).
The racial identities of faculty seldom were considered. Nor did these studies allow
for the possibility that that fellow students might serve as role and support models as
well as faculty. Boulware (2011) summarized these studies by observing that despite
their contributions, the fundamental questions concerning role models remained unre-
solved. For every study that concluded there was some type of role model effect at work
in higher education, there was another that asserted that such an effect was insignificant.
A promising methodological alternative to the previous studies has arisen, however,
that relies upon the use of randomized trials and natural experiments to generate
evidence. Carrell et al. (2010) utilized data from the United States Air Force Academy,
where the custom is to assign students randomly to professors. This allowed Carrell
et al. to bypass most self-selection effects.
3
They found female students earned higher
grades and were more likely to pursue STEM-oriented majors if they had been taught
by female faculty. Fairlie et al. (2014) arrived at a similar conclusion concerning
minority students at a community college. Kofoed and McGovney (2018)examined
randomly assigned mentors at the United States Military Academy and found small, but
significant evidence that those being mentored subsequently were more likely to choose
the military specialty of their mentors.
Porter and Serra (2017) randomly selected beginning economic class sections at
Southern Methodist University and then introduced into those class sections carefully
chosen female role models who were highly knowledgeable and presumably charis-
matic. They found that female students so exposed were more likely to pursue
economics as a major, though male students were not. Left unexamined was the
question of how the same students would have responded to highly knowledgeable,
charismatic male role models.
The randomized trials and natural experiments just cited do not provide evidence
concerning graduation rates. Still, they represent promising ways for researchers to
avoid the self-selection biases and specification problems that are present when indi-
vidual student data are used.
3 Model, data, and empirical results
Assume that for financial and other reasons that institutions wish to maximize their
graduation rates. Plausibly, they might do so by: (1) admitting students with superior
academic qualifications; (2) admitting students who do not face financial problems that
might deter their studies; (3) reducing the net price, after grants, that students must pay
in order to attend; (4) obtaining more general fund tax support from their states so that
3
The random assignment of students to classes eliminates the possibility of students self-selecting particular
class sections and specific instructors; however, this does not prevent students from dropping a course. It may
be, however, that the dropping courses at a military academy occurs less often than on conventional campuses.
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they have the potential to provide a more resource rich education; and, (5) expending a
higher proportion of their funds on student services designed to coax students to
become more connected to their home campus.
4
Among additional factors that influ-
ence graduation rates, but which institutions have little or no influence over in a typical
six-year time frame, are their missions and locations.
The 176 four-year public institutions in our sample represent a diverse sample
consisting of 71 flagships, 67 regional state colleges and universities, and 38 urban
institutions that are neither flagships nor regionals.
Our six-year graduation rate (SIXYRGRAD) for each institution is the percent of
first-time freshmen who entered an institution in 2008 and subsequently earned a
baccalaureate degree at the same institution by 2014. These graduation rates come
from the U.S. Department of Educations College Navigator (https://nces.ed.
gov/collegenavigator/?s=all).
To capture student qualifications and the rigors of the admissions process, we utilize
two variables: the percent of freshmen applicants who were admitted (PCTAD) as
reported by the College Navigator, and the Brookings Institutions SAT/ACT composite
mathematics scale (BROOKMATH).
5
Student financial circumstances are measured in
two ways: the College Navigators percent of undergraduates receiving a Pell Grant
(PCTPELL), and the St. Louis Federal Reserves(https://fred.stlouisfed.org)reporting
of real median household income in the state in which the institution is located
(REALMEDHHINC).
6
We consider the possible impact of the price of each institutions undergraduate
education upon graduation rates by utilizing the College Navigators average net price
paid annually by an in-state undergraduate student (REALNETPRICE). We take
account of possible effects of state support on the graduation rates of each institution
by means of a Delta Cost Study variable (https://deltacostproject.org/delta-cost-data)
recording each institutions general fund tax support per 100 full-time equivalent
students (REALSTATESUPPFTE). The extent of support services provided to students
may influence graduation rates and we seek to capture this possibility by means a Delta
Cost Study variable that measures the percent of each institutions education and
general budget spent on student services (STUDSERVPCTEG).
We utilize several role model variables based on the ethnic and gender composition
of the faculty, the student body, and the state in which the institution resides. The
percentages of full-time faculty at an institution that are Black, Asian, Hispanic, White,
or Female (FACPCTBLACK, FACPCTASIAN, FACPCTHISP, FACPCTWHITE,
FACEPCTFEMALE) were obtained from the Chronicle of Higher Education.
7
The
percentages of the student bodies of an institution that are Black, Asian, Hispanic,
White, or Female (STUDPCTBLACK, STUDPCTASIAN, STUDPCTHISP,
STUDPCTWHITE, STUDPCTFEMALE) come from the College Navigator. Finally,
4
A significant literature exists that suggests the degree of involvement of a student on a campus is positively
correlated with that students academic performance, persistence and graduation.
5
See S. Kulkarni and J. Rothwell, BBeyond College Rankings: AValue-Added Approach to Assessing Two-
and Four-Year Schools,^Brookings Foundation (April 29, 2015), www.brookings.edu/research/beyond-
college-rankings-a-value-added-approach-to-assessing-two-and-four-year-schools.
6
All financial variables are valued in terms of 2016 prices.
7
Race, Ethnicity, and Gender of Full-time Faculty at More Than 3700 Institutions.^Chronicle of Higher
Education, www.chronicle.com/interactives/faculty-diversity.
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the percentage of the states population that is Black, Asian, Hispanic, or White
(STATEPCTBLACK, STATEPCTASIAN, STATEPCTHISP, STATEPCTWHITE)
was obtained from the U.S. Census.
8
Finally, the institutional mission and location is captured by several dummy vari-
ables. We identify regional institutions (REGIONAL) by means of a 0,1 dummy
variable where 1 = regional. Urban institutions (URBAN) are similarly represented
with 1 = urban.
9
Flagship institutions are the excluded institutional category.
Our cross-sectional model in Eq. (1) seeks to explain the six-year graduation rate of
student group Bj^at institution Bi.^for each ethnicity or gender (j= Black, Asian,
Hispanic, White, or Female).
SIXYRGRADj
i¼β0þβ1REGIONALiþβ2URBANiþβ3PCTADMi
þβ4BROOKMATHiþβ5PCTPELLiþβ6REALMEDHHINCi
þβ7REALNETPRICEiþβ8REALSTATESUPPFTEiþβ9STUDSERVPCTEGi
þβ10FACPCT j
iþβ11STUDPCT j
iþβ12STATEPCT j
iþεi
ð1Þ
The hypothesized coefficients the βi's, are as follows: β1,β2,β5,β7< 0 and β3,β4,β6,
β8,β9,β10,β11,β12 > 0. The white noise error term is given by εi. Table 1presents the
results from the above cross-section model(s).
Column A of Table 1reports the regression results in which the dependent variable
is the six-year institutional graduation rate for Black students. We utilize Whites(1980)
correction for heteroskedascity.
Two of the three Brole model^coefficients are statistically significant at the .05 level
(two-tailed tests). The coefficient on the FACPCTBLACK variable tells us that a 1 %
increase in the percent of full-time Black faculty on a campus generates a .59% increase
in the graduation rate of Black students on that campus.
10
This is notable support for
the role model hypothesis and suggests that the relative presence of Black faculty
makes a difference in the academic achievement and graduation of Black students.
On the other hand, the coefficient on STUDPCTBLACK not only is negative, but
also is statistically significant at the .05 level. A 1 % increase in the percent of Black
students on campus leads to a .36% decline in Black student graduation rates on that
campus. At first glance, this may seem a perverse result, but could be explained by
freely chosen student social relationships. As the number of students in a specific racial
group on a campus increases from zero, the students in that racial group may volun-
tarily segregate themselves socially and residentially (DeRuy 2016;Anonymous2017).
Such students may seek safe spaces where they need not worry about discrimination.
Or, they may prefer the company of friends who have similar tastes for food and music,
8
Data USA, United States Census, State Population Totals and Components of Change: 20102017,
https://www.census.gov/data/tables/2017/demo/popest/state-total.html. The percentage of the states
population that is female was not used in modeling female graduation rates.
9
The Office of Management and Budget of the United State Government defines metropolitan and micro-
politan statistical areas, https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/whitehouse.gov/files/omb/bulletins/2017/b-17-01.
pdf.
10
It is possible that the inclusion of part-time faculty would change our results. However, racial data on part-
time faculty are not widely available on an institutional basis.
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or perhaps wish to be near fellow students who provide support for their points of view.
Speaking broadly, they seek ease and comfort (Walton and Cohen 2011; Gannon 2018).
In the case of Black students, they often come to their chosen institution with
standardized test scores below the institutional average (Reeves and Halikias 2017).
Further, on average, Black students also emanate from households whose incomes are
below the average of their state and their campus and they are more likely to be Pell
Grant recipients. These are real environmental circumstances that exert downward
pressure on academic performances and plausibly diminish graduation rates if these
students self-segregate.
Table 1 Cross-section regression models
Column A Column B Column C Column D Column E
Black Asian Hispanic White Female
CONSTANT 90.51
(5.79)a
98.91
(6.73)a
93.10
(7.82)a
83.31
(5.10)a
113 .36
(7.63)a
FAC P CT 0.594
(2.79)b
0.083
(0.24)
0.223
(0.35)
0.155
(1.55)
0.151
(0.74)
STUDPCT 0.356
(2.63)b
0.237
(1.65)c
0.0011
(0.01)
0.052
(0.95)
0.301
(1.73)c
STATEPCT 0.154
(0.95)
0.047
(0.13)
0.0278
(0.22)
0.011
(0.14)
REALNETPRICE 0.000178
(0.44)
0.001
(2.60)b
0.00011
(0.35)
0.0003
(1.11)
0.00018
(0.60)
PCTPELL 0.003
(0.02)
0.07
(0.40)
0.103
(0.72)
0.99
(0.64)
0.013
(1.07)
REALMEDHHINC 0.00021
(1.38)
0.00024
(1.57)
0.0001
(1.03)
0.000005
(0.47)
0.000007
(0.65)
BROOKMATH 5.71
(2.23)b
3.72
(1.42)
4.82
(2.16)b
4.99
(2.44)b
4.94
(2.44)b
PCTADMIT 0.662
(8.28)a
0.459
(5.70)a
0.535
(8.17)a
0.524
(8.33)a
0.507
(8.44)a
STUDSERVPCTE&G 0.472
(1.57)
0.346
(1.19)
0.232
(0.97)
0.087
(0.39)
0.204
(0.91)
REALSTATESUPPFTE 0.00062
(2.51)b
0.0006
(2.25)b
0.00036
(1.69)c
0.0004
(2.33)b
0.0005
(2.67)b
REGIONAL 4.099
(1.20)
4.69
(1.40)
3.92
(1.42)
2.64
(1.04)
3.81
(1.49)
URBAN 4.272
(1.40)
2.66
(0.85)
3.09
(1.24)
0.324
(0.14)
2.42
(1.06)
R20.472 0.364 0.483 0.515 0.509
Adjusted R20.434 0.317 0.445 0.479 0.476
Overall F-statistic 12.16
[0.00]a
7.74
[0.00]a
12.69
[0.00]a
14.43
[0.00]a
15.48
[0.00]a
Number of observations 176 176 176 176 176
t-statistics are given in parentheses with probability values in brackets. Significance levels denoted as follows:
a(1%), b(5%), and c(10%). Regression models estimated via ordinary least squares with Whites correction
for heteroskedasticity. Bold face type signifies coefficient estimates significant at a least the 10% level
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State-level role model affects are minimal. The STATEPCTBLACK variable has a
small positive sign, but is not statistically significant.
Three of the variables in the equationNETREALPRICE, PCTPELL, and
REALMEDHHINCrepresent studentsability to pay. None of the coefficients on these
variables is statistically significant, suggesting that cost and family financial circumstances
are not critical to graduation. This may initially seem a puzzling result, but one must
remember that the sample of students in this study represent individuals who already have
chosen their institution and are in attendance. One would expect price differentials to
influence which institution a student attends, but once he/she knows an institutionscosts
and decides to attend it, financial considerations already have been taken into account.
Two of the variables in the equation, BROOKMATH and PCTADMIT, represent the
measured academic abilities of the students on each campus. Few would argue with the
proposition that student who come to a campus with higher academic abilities are more
likely to graduate. BROOKMATH is a Brookings Institution variable that recognizes that
some institutions emphasize the SAT, while others the ACT. BROOKMATH is a combi-
nation index with a mean of 0 and a standard deviation of 1. A positive value indicates that
the average SAT or ACT mathematics score of entering students on a campus is above the
national average, while a negative value indicates a below national average score. For
example, the BROOKMATH datum for Clemson University is 1.44, but is .28 for South
Dakotas Northern State University. In any case, both coefficients for the academic ability
variables are statistically significant, with the PCTADMITcoefficient especially so. These
are hardly surprising results. Students who come to college with strong academic abilities
are more likely to graduate (holding other things constant).
A refrain sometimes heard on campuses is that students are more likely to identify with
their institution, be retained, and graduate, if they become involved in student activities
and/or take advantage of student services (Roberts and Styron 2010). Our results provide
no support for this hypothesis. Indeed, the coefficient on the STUDSERVPCTEG variable
is negative and barely misses being statistically significant at the .05 level. Why?
Competition for funds often means that more student affairs spending results in less being
spent on instruction (Desrochers and Hurlburt 2015). It might also be the case that student
activities ultimately are not that influential and for students represent time away from
academic pursuits. This may reduce their chances of graduating.
Another theme oft-sounded on campuses whose state funding has been reduced is
that additional state funding would produce improved academic outcomes. At least
where institutional graduation rates are concerned, we find no evidence of this. The
coefficient on the REALSTATESUPPFTE variable is both negative and statistically
significant. Why? More generous state support may be used to reduce faculty teaching
loads, provide greater research support, and increase administrative overheadfactors
that may change the culture on campus, have little to do with student graduation rates,
and divert attention from undergraduates.
The coefficients for the two dummy variables, REG and URB, take on negative
signs. The excluded dummy variable category is flagship institutions. The negative
signs (neither statistically significant at the .05 level) suggest that holding all other
variables constant, there are academic advantages associated with attending a flagship
institution. This is mild evidence that the same student performs better at a flagship
institution than at a regional institution or urban institution. Of course, it seems likely
that unobserved factors are at work here. Consider, for example, that higher proportions
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of students at regional and urban institutions hold jobs and have families than at
flagship institutions. In addition, higher percentages of flagship university students live
on campus than hold true at regional and urban institutions and on-campus living often
has been connected to better academic performance (Hanover Research 2014). Thus, it
is possible that what we are observing here is the result of non-academic characteristics
of student bodies.
It is appropriate here to insert a caution: one should remember that the regression
coefficients represent marginal changes from the average values of each variable.
Consequently, one cannot use them to extrapolate the effects of much larger changes
in any variable. Thus, while a 1 % increase in the percent of Black faculty on a campus
may elicit a .59% increase in Black student graduation rates on that campus, it does not
follow that a 20% increase in the percent of Black faculty would cause a 12% increase
in Black student graduation rates.
Column B of Table 1presents a regression for Asian students that is strictly comparable
to that presented in Table 1for Black students. Here, however, we find that there is no role
model impact of Asian faculty on Asian student graduation rates, but there is a statistically
significant impact of the presence of Asian students on Asian student graduation rates.
There is no role model effect coming from the Asian citizenry in a state.
The coefficient on the REALNETPRICE variable in the Asian equation takes a
positive sign. One doubts that Asian students prefer to pay higher prices, but they may
self-select institutions whose costs are higher and financial aid prospects are lower.
Once again, admissions tightness (PCTADMIT) and REALSTATESUPPFTE are sta-
tistically significant. All other coefficients except URB assume the same signs as in the
Black equation, but none is statistically significant. Notably, however, the adjusted
coefficient of determination (R2) for this equation is only .317, substantially below the
comparable statistics for the other student groups. There may be unobserved differences
between Asian students (and their subgroups) and other student groups that we have
not been able to capture in our estimating equation.
Column C of Table 1presents a regression for Hispanic students that is strictly
comparable to those presented for Black and Asian students. Hispanic here represents
those students who identify as Latinos as well as they identify as Hispanic. Notably, none
of the coefficients of the role model variables either is large or statistically significant. All
other coefficients follow the patterns established for Black and Asian students.
Column D of Table 1presents a regression for White students that is strictly
comparable to those presented for Black, Asian and Hispanic students. These results
also follow the patterns noted above.
Column E of Table 1presents a regression for female students that is comparable to
that presented the other student groups. The estimating equation for women students
does not include a PCTSTATEFEMALE variable because there is little variation in it
among the states and hence it has little impact on graduation rates. Interestingly, the
while none of the role model coefficients attains statistical significance where women
students are concerned, the STUDPCTWOMEN variable is negative and of large size.
While the coefficient is not statistically significant at the .05 level, it would be
statistically significant at the .10 level. Given that 57% of college students today are
women (Marcus 2017), this suggests some version of the Law of Diminishing Returns
could be at work with respect to the relative representation of women in co-educational,
public university student bodies. All other coefficients imitate our previous results.
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In summary, we created 14 test opportunities to demonstrate the presence of role
model effects. In only one of the five cases involving faculty, this being
FACPCTBLACK, did we find a statistically significant coefficient. In only two of
the five cases involving students did we find statistically significant coefficients, and in
one of those situations, involving Black students, the coefficient was negative. None of
the coefficients involving the state representation of a student group was statistically
significant and none came remotely close to being so.
Thus, we discover only limited evidence in favor of role model hypotheses as they
relate to graduation rates. On the other hand, none of our adjusted R2statistics was
greater than .479. This strongly suggests that unobserved student and campus
circumstances play substantial roles in determining campus graduation rates.
4 Concluding remarks
Many believe that role models are critically important influences upon the behavior and
performance of underrepresented and less powerful groups in society.
11
This belief is a
recurrent theme in widely read higher education outlets such as the Chronicle of Higher
Education. As one individual put it from the standpoint of students, BSeeing that there
are people from similar situations who have made it makes all the difference^(Field
2017). Nevertheless, we find only limited evidence of such if graduation rates at public
four-year colleges are the criterion. We hasten to note that graduation rates are only one
possible measure of the effects of diversity and colleges and universities might benefit
from diversity in many other ways.
Many institutions have made major resource commitments to support programs
designed to increase faculty and student diversity and provide role models. In this vein,
the University of Michigan announced an $85 million plan to promote diversity, equity
and inclusion on its Ann Arbor campus (Jesse 2016). Michigans program is far-
reaching, and most would regard it as a noble effort to change the environment at that
institution. Whether the program will have any noticeable impact on that institutions
already admirable graduation rates of 80% for African-American students, 91% rate for
Asian students, and 89% rate for Hispanic students (College Navigator 2018)isunclear.
A cautionary lesson to be drawn from our analysis is that campuses would do well to
be more evidence-based as they discuss the impact of diversity on academic perfor-
mance variables. The influence of diversity may vary in its impact depending upon
which ethnic group is being considered and what aspect of performance is being
examined. Our work suggests the need for additional research in this arena.
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... Numerous studies have explored the role of faculty gender on individual level student outcomes (Bettinger & Long, 2005;Carell et al., 2010;Hoffman & Oreopoulos, 2009;Koch & Zahedi, 2019Robst et al., 1998Sonnert et al., 2007). Many of these studies have applied role model theory to understand whether same sex instructors result in more positive student outcomes (lowered likelihood of dropping classes, better final grades, decision to enroll in follow-on courses, higher likelihood of graduating with a Bachelors degree) particularly for female students in STEM fields (Carell et al., 2010;Hoffmann & Oreopoulus, 2009). ...
... Many of these studies have applied role model theory to understand whether same sex instructors result in more positive student outcomes (lowered likelihood of dropping classes, better final grades, decision to enroll in follow-on courses, higher likelihood of graduating with a Bachelors degree) particularly for female students in STEM fields (Carell et al., 2010;Hoffmann & Oreopoulus, 2009). Effects have been mixed both within and across studies (Koch & Zahedi, 2019) and when found are often small in size. For example, while female freshmen retention rates were higher as the percentage of credits taken from female faculty increased, this was only the case for science, math and computer science classes (Robst et al., 1998). ...
... A study by Sonnert et al. (2007) found that the percentage of female faculty in the sciences and engineering had a significant and positive, although small, impact on the percentage of female students majoring in and receiving degrees in these fields. Koch and Zahedi (2019) tested, but found little support for, role model theory by exploring the impact of the percentage of female faculty on the graduation rates of female college students. Importantly, despite collecting institutional level predictors and outcomes, the central question addressed in these studies was whether female student outcomes improved as a function of greater availability of female faculty members; they did not consider the impact of faculty GD on institutional performance. ...
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The current study examined the relationship between faculty gender diversity (GD) and college and university level outcomes and the role that diversity climate (DC) plays in these relationships in a sample of N = 282 4-year, public and private, non-profit, degree granting institutions in the U.S. Based on social categorization and signaling theories, we hypothesized a negative effect of increasing percentages of female faculty on institutional student graduation and retention rates measured at three points in time. We also hypothesized that these negative effects would be attenuated in higher education institutions with more positive DCs. Results revealed that faculty GD had a consistent linear negative effect on graduation and retention rates with little evidence for a moderating effect of DC. Supplemental analyses using cross-lagged panel analyses on a larger sample of 4-year, public and private, non-profit, U.S. degree granting institutions found that these negative effects were consistent across time, lending support for the causal effect of faculty GD.
... Research on students' course-level enrollments has found that having a same-race instructor is often associated with higher grades and persistence for racially minoritized students (Fairlie et al., 2014;Llamas et al., 2021;Price, 2010). In contrast, institution-level studies of instructor racial representation have generally identified no significant link with racially minoritized students' retention and graduation outcomes (Griffith, 2010;Koch & Zahedi, 2019). ...
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College graduation rates for racially minoritized students are adversely affected by structural barriers and hostile campus racial climates, which lead to notable equity gaps within and across institutions. Theory and prior literature suggest that the representation of racially minoritized students and instructors may play a role in shaping these disparities, but the evidence to date is limited and has yielded divergent findings. Therefore, the present study directly explored the link between the representation of several minoritized racial groups and equity gaps in six-year graduation rates. The results indicate that same-race representation and the representation of students and instructors from other racially minoritized groups were associated with greater racial equity in graduation outcomes; in fact, no Black-White and Latinx-White gaps were present when Black or Latinx students, respectively, comprised at least half of undergraduates at that institution. Moreover, these patterns occurred predominantly at institutions with virtually no fully online students, which suggests the importance of face-to-face interactions that facilitate situational racial cues and interpersonal experiences that may foster success for racially minoritized students.
... By identifying a successful role model, students can be inspired to pursue similar achievements (Lockwood, 2006). The presence of a role model can influence the selection of academic majors and stimulate academic performance (Koch & Zahedi, 2018). A role model goes beyond the policies mandated by a higher education institution. ...
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Although student persistence is an important metric for higher education administrators and working is pervasive among those who attend college, the extent to which work supervisors may impact students who work while attending college through interactions is underexplored. Thus, this study examines the relationship between supervisor interactions and student outcomes in relation to type of employment, academic persistence, and competencies. The literature review indicates the relationship between type of employment and academic persistence is important and interactions may provide useful benefits. However, interactions within the type of employment experience is lesser known. The study site for this research is Alpha University (Alpha) (pseudonym). Alpha is a large, public, research university in the western United States. This study draws from a pre-existing dataset that uses two data sources: responses from the 2016 Alpha Student Employment Survey (ASES), and student records. Type of employment data come from the survey, and student records provide demographic and academic persistence data. The sample is limited to degree-seeking, non-online undergraduates enrolled at Alpha in fall 2016 who were employed, whose primary institution affiliation is not employee, are not post�baccalaureate students, and have one job (n=1,434), as approved by IRB. Data are analyzed using logistic regression with interaction effect for the first research question, dominance analysis for the second research question, and logistic regression for the third research question
... By identifying a successful role model, students can be inspired to pursue similar achievements (Lockwood, 2006). The presence of a role model can influence the selection of academic majors and stimulate academic performance (Koch & Zahedi, 2018). A role model goes beyond the policies mandated by a higher education institution. ...
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Thesis
Although student persistence is an important metric for higher education administrators and working is pervasive among those who attend college, the extent to which work supervisors may impact students who work while attending college through interactions is underexplored. Thus, this study examines the relationship between supervisor interactions and student outcomes in relation to type of employment, academic persistence, and competencies. The literature review indicates the relationship between type of employment and academic persistence is important and interactions may provide useful benefits. However, interactions within the type of employment experience is lesser known. The study site for this research is Alpha University (Alpha) (pseudonym). Alpha is a large, public, research university in the western United States. This study draws from a pre-existing dataset that uses two data sources: responses from the 2016 Alpha Student Employment Survey (ASES), and student records. Type of employment data come from the survey, and student records provide demographic and academic persistence data. The sample is limited to degree-seeking, non-online undergraduates enrolled at Alpha in fall 2016 who were employed, whose primary institution affiliation is not employee, are not post baccalaureate students, and have one job (n=1,434), as approved by IRB. Data are analyzed using logistic regression with interaction effect for the first research question, dominance analysis for the second research question, and logistic regression for the third research question.
Thesis
This thesis compiles three essays on migration and remittances in the Philippines. The first essay investigates the role of remittances as an informal risk-coping mechanism for families during a disaster, and explores the interaction between remittances, relief, and a region's infrastructure and institutions. The study employs a unique identification strategy by tracking the regions that were directly lying on the path of Typhoon Haiyan, one of the most devastating typhoons in Philippine history. Using a difference-in-difference setup, the remittance response was found to be an increase in incidence (number of households) but not necessarily in level. The extended analysis only provided suggestive evidence that remittances and relief generally act as substitutes but serve as complements during disasters. Moreover, remittances are higher in regions with good facilitators, but remittances tend to insure households against poor institutions during disasters. This study establishes remittances as both aid and insurance during times of disaster. The second essay delves into how culture, migrant networks, and immigration policies may influence the labor market assimilation of Filipino immigrants. This study departs from the conventional framework used in studying assimilation by focusing only on immigrants from one sending country but in different host countries. This emphasizes the effects of the host country institutions on wage and employment assimilation. It was found that larger similarity in culture, a larger migrant network, and more selective immigration policies reduce the wage gap relative to natives and improves the transferability of human capital, thus facilitating assimilation. However, assimilation is hampered in countries with greater culture diversity and fractionalization. The third essay estimates the spatial spillover effects of migration on education. This study uses a novel way in representing proximity and neighborhood effects by borrowing techniques from geography and spatial statistics. While causality is not argued, it is shown that the location of migrants and non-migrants within districts is quasi-random after controlling for sorting and correlated effects. The distance to the nearest migrant is calculated for each non-migrant household, and interspatial autocorrelation was used to identify whether non-migrants are parts of migrant clusters (hotspots). The results show that closer proximity to a migrant and being identified as part of a migrant cluster is associated with higher tertiary enrolment. This suggests that the prospect of migration is enough to generate a brain gain for communities in general. Findings are only suggestive that community remittances may be a channel.
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This meta-analysis examines patterns of sex differences in teacher-initiated teacher–student interactions. While extensive research has examined factors that influence student evaluations of effective and ineffective teachers, this study examines whether teacher-initiated interactions with students, such as praising or blaming, vary as a function of student sex. After a careful examination of 127 empirical studies, 32 studies were retained for the meta-analysis. The studies were coded for positive, negative, and total interactions. The results suggest that teachers initiate more overall interactions and more negative interactions, but not more positive interactions, with male students than with female students.
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We use random assignment of role models to cadets at the United States Military Academy at West Point to investigate the effect of same-gender or same-race mentors on occupation choice in the United States Army. Women and racial minorities have traditionally been underrepresented in certain occupations in the Army, and these disparities seem to persist over time. We find that when a female cadet is assigned a female mentor, the cadet is 4.60 and 18.1 percentage points more likely to pick her officer's branch as her first or among her top three occupational preferences, respectively, than if she had interacted with a male mentor. These results are robust to controlling for a limited choice set for females and a host of alternative specifications. We find that black cadets paired with black officers are 6.1 percentage points more likely to pick their role model's branch than if the black cadet had worked with a white officer. These results show that having a same-gender or same-race mentor may influence the occupation choice of women or racial minorities. © 2019 by the Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System.
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Mixing and Matching: The Effect on Student Performance of Teaching Assistants of the Same Gender - Volume 36 Issue 4 - Daniel M. Butler, Ray Christensen