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Using Typological Approaches to Understand College Student Experiences and Outcomes: New Directions for Institutional Research, Assessment Supplement 2011

Using Typological Approaches to Understand College Student Experiences and Outcomes: New Directions for Institutional Research, Assessment Supplement 2011

Shouping Hu (Editor), Shaoqing Li (Editor)

ISBN: 978-1-118-30354-2

Dec 2011, Jossey-Bass

104 pages



Facing a new round of criticisms on the quality of undergraduate education in American colleges and universities, higher education administrators are eager to find—or create—effective programs and practices that can enrich student experiences and enhance outcomes. In order to do that, those who work at colleges and universities need to have a better understanding of their students. Institutional researchers, with access to a wealth of student data, have the analytical expertise to supply information that can guide institutional policy and practice. Typological frameworks particularly can be used to generate such information, and this volume presents rich examples of typological approaches to the study of college students.

Typological research can reveal patterns in students’ characteristics, attitudes, and behaviors and how those patterns are related to desirable outcomes such as learning and persistence, or to the nature, meaning, and utility of student-faculty interactions outside the classroom. Such information can help campus leaders and other concerned groups gain a deeper understanding of their students, design better targeted and intentional interventions to optimize student experiences, and maximize student learning and personal development outcomes.

This is a special supplemental issue of New Directions for Institutional Research. Always timely and comprehensive, this series provides planners and administrators in all types of academic institutions with guidelines in such areas as resource coordination, information analysis, program evaluation, and institutional management.

Editors’ Notes 1
Shouping Hu, Shaoqing Li

1. Student Typologies in Higher Education 5
Shouping Hu, Lindsey Katherine, George D. Kuh

This chapter reviews various student typologies developed over time and the stability and change in American college students’ characteristics, attitudes, and behaviors the typologies reflect.

2. Students’ Involvement in Group Experiences and Connections to Leadership Development 17
John P. Dugan

This chapter introduces a taxonomy reflecting patterns of involvement in student clubs and organizations during college and its relationship to leadership development. Insights for better understanding college student engagement, along with applications associated with institutional research, are explored.

3. A Typology of Students’ Use of the Community College 33
Peter Riley Bahr

This chapter describes a typology of fi rst-time community college students based on students’ course-taking and enrollment behavior. The utility of the typology is demonstrated through an application that involves interpreting data concerning students’ participation in remedial mathematics.

4. A Developmental Typology of Faculty-Student Interaction Outside the Classroom 49
Bradley E. Cox

This chapter presents a typology of faculty-student interaction outside the classroom. As both a descriptive framework and a developmental model, the typology can be used independently or to augment traditional survey research. The chapter concludes with five lessons learned about faculty-student interaction outside the classroom.

5. The Use of Cluster Analysis in Typological Research on Community College Students 67
Peter Riley Bahr, Rob Bielby, Emily House

This chapter provides an introduction to the family of partitional cluster analytical methods, with specific attention to research on community college students. Key decision points and common approaches in the use of cluster analysis are described.

6. Typological Research on College Students for Better Outcomes 83
Shouping Hu, Shaoqing Li

In this chapter, we discuss the issues in conducting typological research and suggest the directions for future typological research on college students that could aid efforts to enrich student experiences and improve student outcomes.