Student Involvement & Academic Outcomes

Implications for Diverse College Student Populations

by Donald Mitchell Jr. (Volume editor) Krista M. Soria (Volume editor) Elizabeth A. Daniele (Volume editor) John A. Gipson (Volume editor)
©2015 Textbook XVI, 252 Pages


Student Involvement and Academic Outcomes links student involvement to tangible academic outcomes (i.e., GPAs, retention rates, graduation rates). This is particularly important for diverse student populations (e.g., underrepresented minority, first-generation college, and low-income students) who now make up a significant portion (and will soon become the majority) of U.S. college students. The text is a valuable tool for higher education administrators, faculty, staff, graduate students, parents, students, and scholars alike. In addition, the volume is ideal for master’s and doctoral programs in higher education and student affairs-related fields and for courses that examine issues/experiences associated with diverse U.S. college students, student affairs intervention strategies, racial and ethnic diversity in higher education, and critical/contemporary issues in higher education.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the author(s)/editor(s)
  • About the book
  • Advance praise for Student Involvement & Academic Outcomes
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Table of Contents
  • Illustrations
  • Foreword
  • References
  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction
  • Involvement in Higher Education
  • Reframing Involvement
  • Outcomes and Organization of This Volume
  • References
  • Section One: Theoretical and Research Advancements
  • Chapter One: Rethinking Student Involvement and Engagement: Cultivating Culturally Relevant and Responsive Contexts for Campus Participation
  • Theoretical Foundations of College Student Involvement and Engagement
  • The Culturally Engaging Campus Environments (CECE) Model of College Success
  • Rethinking College Student Involvement and Engagement
  • Pursuing Systemic Transformation and Creating More Inclusive Environments for Student Involvement and Engagement
  • Focus on Cultural and Structural Transformation
  • Coalition Building and Creating Networks
  • Creating Space for Collective Analysis and Strategic Planning
  • Nurturing and Scaling Up Models of Success
  • Conducting Assessment and Continuous Learning
  • Conclusion
  • References
  • Chapter Two: Multiracial Border Work: Exploring the Relationship Between Validation, Student Involvement, and Epistemological Development
  • The Need for a New Conceptual Model for Multiracial College Students
  • Contemporary Theoretical Approaches and Research
  • Multiracial Identity Development and Border Work
  • Epistemological Development as an Academic Outcome for Multiracial Students
  • Involvement and Validation for Multiracial Students
  • Practical Implications
  • References
  • Section Two: High-impact Involvement
  • Chapter Three: Elevating the Academic Success of Working-class College Students through High-impact Educational Practices
  • Students’ Involvement in Higher Education
  • Theoretical Perspectives
  • Method
  • Instrument
  • Participants
  • Measures
  • Dependent variable
  • Block one
  • Block two
  • Block three
  • Analysis
  • Results and Discussion
  • Conclusion
  • References
  • Chapter Four: National Survey of Student Engagement Findings at a Historically Black Institution: Does Student Engagement Impact Persistence?
  • A Glimpse of Current Retention and Gradation Rates at HBCUs
  • Six-year Graduation Rates
  • Assessing Student Engagement
  • NSSE Results
  • Method
  • Participants
  • Measures
  • Data Analyses
  • Results
  • First-year Students
  • Seniors
  • Discussion
  • Practical Student Engagement Applications at HBCUs
  • Academic Challenge: Promote High-impact Practices
  • Active and Collaborative Learning: Focus on Men of Color
  • Student-Faculty Interactions: Connect Faculty with Students Early
  • Educationally Enriching Activities: Invest in Experiences that Matter
  • Supportive Campus Environments: Document and Share Aspects of Successful HBCU Environments
  • Conclusion
  • References
  • Section Three: Student Organization Involvement
  • Chapter Five: A Grounded Theory of the Influence of Black Greek-lettered Organizations on the Persistence of African Americans at aPredominantly White Institution
  • Literature Review
  • Method
  • Sample
  • Data Collection and Analysis
  • Findings
  • Inequalities
  • “I want to be normal”: Experiences at a PWI
  • “Getting rid of us”: Experiences in BGLOs at a PWI
  • Capitalization
  • “Why I joined”: Joining a BGLO
  • “Linking with other people”: BGLOs as social networks
  • Returns
  • “After 5 connections”: Relationships and connections within BGLOs
  • “Overnight celebrity”: Increased social life
  • “The pledging starts once you’re a member”: Organizational work
  • “Implementing academic plans”: Academic monitoring
  • “I’m a role model”: Leadership development
  • Discussion
  • Recommendations for Practice
  • Conclusion
  • Acknowledgments
  • References
  • Chapter Six: Latina/o Students and Involvement: Outcomes Associated with Latina/o Student Organizations
  • Latina/o Student Organizations
  • Latina/o Student Organization Involvement
  • Cultural Identity
  • Leadership
  • Academic Development
  • Latina/o Student Involvement and Academic Outcomes
  • References
  • Chapter Seven: First-generation College Students’ Leadership Experiences and Academic Outcomes
  • Method
  • Instrument
  • Participants
  • Measures
  • Block 1: Students’ precollege demographics, leadership experiences, and characteristics
  • Block 2: College environmental variables
  • Block 3: Students’ leadership experiences
  • Dependent variable: Self-reported grade point average
  • Data Analysis
  • Results
  • Discussion and Implications
  • Limitations and Future Directions
  • Conclusion
  • References
  • Section Four: Institutional Involvement
  • Chapter Eight: Institutional Programs to Promote First-generation Student Involvement: Improving Academic and Social Outcomes
  • First-Generation College Students
  • Four-Year Institutional Supports for First-Generation Students
  • Precollege Academic and Social Support Programs
  • Retention and Persistence
  • Academic and Social Integration Support Systems
  • Two-year Institutional Support Structures
  • Faculty Integration and Classroom Climate
  • Advising and Student Development Initiatives
  • Conclusion
  • References
  • Chapter Nine: An Antideficit Approach to Examining the Impact of Institutional Involvement on Select Academic Outcomes of Latino College Students
  • Impact of Institutional Involvement on College Student Outcomes
  • Impact of Institutional Involvement on Latino College Student Outcomes
  • Peer Involvement
  • Faculty Involvement
  • Academic Involvement
  • Learning Involvement
  • Method
  • Data Source and Sample
  • Variables
  • Data Analysis
  • Results and Discussion
  • Predictors of Latino College Student Success
  • Peer involvement
  • Faculty involvement
  • Academic involvement
  • Learning involvement
  • Fostering Success Among Latino College Students
  • References
  • Section Five: Employment
  • Chapter Ten: College Employment and Academic Outcomes for African American Students on Elite Campuses
  • The Effects of Employment on GPA
  • The Effects of Employment on Graduation
  • The Effects of Employment for African American Students
  • Method
  • Results
  • Conclusions
  • References
  • Chapter Eleven: Working to Learn or Working to Live? Exploring the Impact of Employment on College Outcomes for Low-income and First-generation Students
  • Effects of Work on Student Retention
  • Effects of Work on Academic Achievement
  • Effects of Work on out-of-class Opportunities
  • Recommendations for Educators
  • Increase Opportunities for Social Integration of Low-income, First-generation College Students
  • Provide Meaningful Employment Opportunities on Campus
  • Expand Programs to Assist Low-income, First-generation Students to Transition and Navigate College
  • Develop Intentional Mentoring Opportunities with Faculty and Staff for First-generation, Low-Income College Students
  • Create Space and Place for Low-income, First-generation Students On-campus
  • References
  • Chapter Twelve: Mexicano Male Students’ Engagement with Faculty in the Community College
  • Excerpts on Latino Men
  • Help-seeking
  • Breadwinner Orientation
  • Competitive Ethos
  • School as a Feminine Domain
  • Method
  • Measures and Analysis
  • Results
  • Implications for Practice
  • Conclusion
  • References
  • Section Six: Family and Friends
  • Chapter Thirteen: Native American Student Connections to Community and Family: Impacts on Academic Outcomes
  • Literature Review
  • Values and Cultural Norms of Native American Students
  • Academic Persistence
  • Method
  • Participants
  • Data Analysis
  • Findings
  • The Value of Family and Community for Native College Students’ Community
  • Family and Culture
  • Impact of Native Student Involvement
  • Motivation to Pursue a Degree
  • Awareness of issues affecting Native people
  • Quality of life
  • Support
  • Motivation to continue persisting
  • Implications for Research and Practice
  • Conclusion
  • References
  • Chapter Fourteen: Leveraging the Cultural Wealth in Family and Friend Networks: An Examination of Undocumented Latino/a College Students’ Support Systems and Academic Achievement
  • The Assets of Cultural Wealth and Familial Capital
  • Undocumented Latino/a Students, The Dream and Daca
  • Navigating the College Terrain
  • Familial Capital Through Moral and Emotional Support
  • Familial Capital and Academic Achievement
  • Peer Support Through Social and Navigational Capital
  • Method
  • Theoretical Framework
  • Participants
  • Data Collection and Analysis
  • Trustworthiness and dependability
  • Findings
  • Family Support
  • Sacrifice
  • Encouragement
  • Financial support
  • Friend Support
  • Encouragement
  • Academic motivation
  • Navigational capital
  • Discussion and Conclusion
  • References
  • Afterword
  • References
  • Editor Biographies
  • Author Biographies

| ix →



Figure 2.1 Supporting Multiracial Border Work and Epistemological Development through Validation and Student Involvement
Table 2.1 A Comparison of Developmental Journeys: Epistemology and Multiracial Border Work
Table 3.1 Working-class Students’ Participation in High-impact Practices
Table 3.2 Hierarchical Regression Analysis Predicting Working-class Students’ Grade Point Average
Table 4.1 A Comparison of HBCU Retention and Six-year Graduation Rates
Table 7.1 Hierarchical Regression Analysis Predicting First-generation Students’ Grade Point Average
Table 8.1 Typology of Programs to Improve First-generation Student Involvement
Table 9.1 Results of the Regression Analysis on the Impact of Institutional Involvement on Academic Outcomes Among Latino College Students (Standardized regression coefficients)
Table 10.1 African American Students’ Paid Employment and Time Usage by Year ← ix | x →
Table 10.2 Means for African American Students by Work Status
Table 10.3 Effects of Work on Cumulative GPA for African American Students
Table 10.4 Multinomial Logit Regression of Work on Four- and Six-Year Graduation Rates
Table 12.1 Regression Coefficients for Predictors of Faculty-Student Engagement
Table 13.1 Native Student Leader Participant Demographics
Table 14.1 Participant Information

| xi →




It is an easy critique of higher education student success research and theory to simply state that certain populations of students were excluded from the sample upon which the research was conducted or the theory was normed. Certainly, researchers and theorists who created the foundation of our understanding of student success studied the students to whom they had access, often White, middle- to upper-class, and primarily male students. The tendency to only study this majority population (at the time) led to several pernicious results, including the tendency to normalize the experiences of the majority, the exclusion of or dismissal of experiences of nonmajority students, and the unexamined assumption that all students do—or at least should—have the same experiences as these students.

Tinto’s (1987, 1993) model of student departure illustrates this point. By the time Tierney (1999) and Rendon, Jalomo, and Nora (2000) offered their critiques of Tinto’s model, the model had already achieved “near paradigmatic status” (Berger & Braxton, 1998, p. 104). It is important to note that the process of model critique, reexamination, and re-articulation demonstrated by the scholarly interactions of Tinto and his critics offers an example of the power of uncovering the unexamined assumptions of our work. Tierney, as well as Rendon and her colleagues, identified a limited attention to the experiences of nontraditional students, the assumption that students needed to sever ties with home communities in order to successfully join their new college community, and what they viewed as a deficit perspective in Tinto’s original theory as problems with Tinto’s original model. Tinto revised ← xi | xii → his original model in substantive ways to emphasize the importance of classroom communities for nontraditional college students (Tinto, 1998) and the influence of students’ home cultures in their success in higher education (Tinto, 1998, 2000).

Pascarella and Terenzini (1998), while preparing for the second volume of How College Affects Students (2005), offered higher education researchers some advice about studying college students in the twenty-first century. Of particular importance to these two preeminent scholars of college student success were the necessary changes to scholarship brought about by “the changing undergraduate student population” (1998, p. 151). Pascarella and Terenzini called on researchers to explore the conditional effects of college, that is, to ask the question: How might students from different social groups [race, ethnicity, socioeconomic or generational status] be affected differently by the educational interventions currently employed? Certainly, researchers have heeded the call to explore more deeply the different ways that college programs, interventions, and environments affect students differently, adding nuance to our understanding of college student success.

Although Pascarella and Terenzini (1998) approached their recommendation from a quantitative paradigm, suggesting the inclusion of social group–based interaction terms in statistical analysis that included a diverse student sample, other researchers have pushed our understanding of student success through focus on previously understudied populations, often using qualitative techniques. Harper’s (2009) work on high-achieving African American male college students is a powerful example of the understanding that can be achieved through in-depth, qualitative analysis of the experiences of a single population of students.

Harper’s (2009) work has spurred other researchers to explore student success as defined and achieved by diverse college students, but it has also changed the manner in which many of us approach the study of college-student success. Harper’s work builds upon the perspective of community cultural wealth, as defined by Yosso (2005), and challenges the deficit perspective of much early student-success research. Yosso’s work, as well as Harper’s, requires higher education scholars to think differently about the strengths found in communities from which traditionally underrepresented and underserved students come and to recognize the capital found in family units, the acquired knowledge and skills necessary to resist constant microaggressions and maintain aspirations for success, and the ability to use existing knowledge to navigate an unfamiliar system.

The editors and authors of this volume, Student Involvement and Academic Outcomes: Implications for Diverse College Student Populations, add to this important conversation and push it further. The various chapters in this book reexamine the foundational understandings of student success in higher education, asking questions about “near-paradigmatic” understandings such as the effects of engagement on students’ success and how those effects might be different ← xii | xiii → for different groups of students. The authors push readers to look more closely at the unique effects of educational interventions, campus environments, and non-college-related activities (such as off-campus work) for different groups of students. And, finally, and perhaps most important, the authors challenge higher education researchers and practitioners to reconsider the strengths inherent in all students, regardless of (or more appropriately because of) the community from which they come.

The authors in this volume remind us that attracting diverse students to higher education institutions is not enough, but we also must focus attention on retention and success of all our students. They remind us that involvement in the interventions we have designed to facilitate student success may not be enough, but the quality of that involvement is essential and very likely different for different groups of students. Building upon the work of the foundational scholars in our field, the authors in this volume remind us of the need to continually reevaluate our unexamined assumptions so that we can best serve the students currently on our campuses.

Robert D. Reason
Iowa State University
Ames, Iowa


Berger, J. B., & Braxton, J. M. (1998). Revising Tinto’s interactionalist theory of student departure through theory elaboration: Examining the role of organizational attributes in the persistence process. Research in Higher Education, 39(2), 103–119.

Harper, S. R. (2009). Niggers no more: A critical race counternarrative on Black male student achievement at predominantly White colleges and universities. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 22(6), 697–712.

Pascarella, E. T., & Terenzini, P. T. (1998). Studying college students in the 21st century: Meeting new challenges. The Review of Higher Education, 21, 151–165.

Pascarella, E. T., & Terenzini, P. T. (2005). How college affects students: A third decade of research (Vol. 2). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Rendón, L., Jalomo, R., & Nora, A. (2000). Theoretical considerations in the study of minority student retention in higher education. In J. M. Braxton (Ed.), Rethinking the departure puzzle: New theory and research on college student retention (pp. 127–156). Nashville, TN: Vanderbilt University Press.

Tierney, W. G. (1999). Models of minority college-going and retention: Cultural integrity versus cultural suicide. Journal of Negro Education, 68(1), 80–91.

Tinto, V. (1987). Leaving college: Rethinking the causes and cures of student attrition. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

Tinto, V. (1993). Leaving college: Rethinking the causes and cures of student attrition (2nd ed). Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. ← xiii | xiv →

Tinto, V. (1998). Colleges as communities: Taking research on student persistence seriously. Review of Higher Education, 21(2), 167–177.

Tinto, V. (2000). Linking learning and leaving: Exploring the role of the college classroom in student departure. In J. M. Braxton (Ed.), Rethinking the departure puzzle: New theory and research on college student retention (pp. 81–94). Nashville, TN: Vanderbilt University Press.

Yosso, T. J. (2005). Whose culture has capital? A critical race theory discussion of community cultural wealth. Race Ethnicity and Education, 8(1), 69–91.

| xv →



We would like to thank those who made the publication of this text possible. First, we thank all of the chapter authors who helped shape this volume through their writings. Second, we thank Dr. Robert Reason for contributing the Foreword and Dr. D. Jason DeSousa for contributing the Afterword. Third, we thank Dr. Virginia Stead, our series editor, for investing in our vision for the text. Fourth, we thank Chris Myers, Stephen Mazur, Bernadette Shade, and Phyllis Korper—all at Peter Lang—for all that they brought to the production of this volume. Finally, we thank a host of family, friends, and colleagues, whose love and support keep us going each day.


XVI, 252
ISBN (Softcover)
ISBN (Hardcover)
Publication date
2014 (September)
Retention rate Graduation rate Ethnic diversity Minority
New York, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, Oxford, Wien, 2015. XIV, 252 pp.

Biographical notes

Donald Mitchell Jr. (Volume editor) Krista M. Soria (Volume editor) Elizabeth A. Daniele (Volume editor) John A. Gipson (Volume editor)

Donald Mitchell Jr. (PhD, University of Minnesota – Twin Cities) is assistant professor of higher education at Grand Valley State University. His research explores the impact of race, gender, and identity intersections in higher education contexts. Krista M. Soria (PhD, University of Minnesota – Twin Cities) is a research analyst at the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities. Her research examines the educational experiences and outcomes of first-generation, low-income, and working-class college students. Elizabeth A. Daniele is a doctoral student in sociology at Syracuse University. Her research explores marked and unmarked cultures, Latinos in the United States, and racial identity development. John A. Gipson is a doctoral student in educational psychology and recruitment specialist at Purdue University. His research examines the college experiences of African American students, particularly high-achieving African Americans.


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