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For Immediate Release
December 12, 2012

Linking Institutional Policies to Student Success (LIPSS) seeks to determine whether – and which – institutional policies might be leveraged to improve college student engagement and, subsequently, persistence and graduation rates.

College and university administrators have long struggled to implement institutional policies that foster student success in a way that is both cost effective and consistent with the latest research findings. To assist institutional policy makers with this task, Dr. Bradley E. Cox, Assistant Professor of Higher Education in Florida State University’s (FSU) College of Education, has received a grant of $153,323 from TG Public Benefit Grants Program (http://www.tgslc.org/publicbenefit/).  

Dr. Cox will lead the new project titled Linking Institutional Policy to Student Success (LIPSS). Dr. Robert Reason, Associate Professor of Education at Iowa State University (ISU), is Co-PI on the project. Dr. T.K. Wetherell, President Emeritus of FSU and Director of the Center for Higher Education Research, Teaching, and Innovation (CHERTI) (http://cherti.fsu.edu/), will serve as an investigator and data coordinator for the state of Florida. Dr. Barbara Tobolowsky, Assistant Professor at the University of Texas at Arlington, will serve as an investigator and data coordinator for the state of Texas. Rebecca Brower and Sarah Rebhun, doctoral students in the Higher Education program at FSU, will serve as research assistants on the project. The LIPSS project will be implemented in collaboration with Dr. Alexander C. McCormick and staff at the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) (http://nsse.iub.edu/).

Over the past 30 years, hundreds of specific initiatives have been designed to facilitate student engagement during their first year of college – a time during which four-year colleges and universities lose an average of 26-27% of their beginning students. Although these efforts have improved outcomes at countless institutions, such initiatives are often costly and typically serve only a small group of students who participate directly in a given program. As a result, college and university leaders still search for specific, campus-wide, and resource-efficient ways to improve student engagement and retention. However, many studies of institution-level differences speak broadly of organizational “environments” and “cultures,” concepts that are too abstract to provide practical guidance to administrators pursuing institution-level policies likely to improve student experiences and outcomes.

Therefore, the LIPSS project seeks to identify specific institution-wide policies that can be leveraged to increase college student engagement – a key predictor of student grades and persistence that is especially beneficial to underrepresented and academically under-prepared students.  In collaboration with the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) and the Center for Higher Education Research, Teaching, and Innovation (CHERTI), the LIPSS project will survey Chief Academic Officers and Chief Student Affairs Officers on institutional policies and practices at up to 100 bachelor’s degree granting colleges and universities. The surveys will address a wide range of issues including, for example, assessment, faculty/staff hiring practices, curricular offerings, and student services. Data collection will begin in spring of 2012.

The LIPSS project will build upon findings from a previous study titled Parsing the First Year of College (http://www.ed.psu.edu/educ/cshe/research/parsing-the-first-year-of-college ). In the Parsing Project, Dr. Cox collaborated with Dr. Reason and Dr. Patrick Terenzini at Pennsylvania State University to map a comprehensive set of influences affecting student learning and persistence during the first year of college among new students entering 35 institutions nationwide.  The LIPSS project will extend the previous study by adding up to 100 bachelor’s degree granting institutions in 5 states, thereby allowing analyses that test the links between institutional policies and college experiences for specific populations of students.
Participating colleges and universities will receive a confidential campus report that compares policies at their institution to those at other institutions as well as free participation, for the entire campus, in a web-based presentation of the project’s results – including a discussion of implications for institutional policies, programs, and practices.  .


 

LIPSS project staff would like to recognize the generous support of the following organizations:

TG Public Benefit Grants Program
The National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE)
Parsing the First Year of College project at Penn State
The Center for Higher Education Research, Teaching, and Innovation (CHERTI) at FSU
The College of Education, Office of Research at FSU
The Council on Research and Creativity (CRC) at FSU

For more information on the LIPSS project, visit http://CHERTI.fsu.edu/LIPSS or contact Dr. Bradley E. Cox, Assistant Professor of Higher Education in Florida State University’s College of Education, at 850-644-6446 or COE-LIPSS@fsu.edu.




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