May 7, 2021

Student Academic Success Research Grants awarded

The Office of Student Academic Success, in partnership with Digital Flagship and the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, recently awarded $100,000 in Student Academic Success Research Grants Program funds to Ohio State researchers focused on student academic success. 

The funded projects focus on improving course success, retention or graduation, with an emphasis on historically underrepresented students and other underserved student groups. Each project has clear practical implications for the design, implementation or scale-up of practices to improve Ohio State student success. 

All proposals were rated in terms of their methodological quality and practical importance by reviewers from the offices of Distance Education and eLearning, Diversity and Inclusion, Student Academic Success, Student Life and the Drake Institute for Teaching and Learning, as well as by faculty from multiple academic departments and campuses across the university. 

“We’re thrilled to see such an interesting collection of research projects about student academic success from across the university, said Beth Hume, vice provost for Student Academic Success and dean of Undergraduate Education. 

The winning proposals and primary investigators include: 

  • The impact of an inclusive leadership course with a focus on race (Dr. Lisa Abrams, associate chair and professor of practice in Engineering). This research project focuses on an inclusive leadership course, which aims to improve the climate of inclusiveness for women and underrepresented minority students by changing the attitudes and behaviors of their peer engineering students at Ohio State. The study will examine whether the inclusive leadership course results in measurable change in mindsets and behavior among students enrolled in the course, and how those behaviors propagate through those students into other Engineering courses.
  • A first-generation pre-medical program for underrepresented undergraduate students to promote matriculation to medical school (Dr. Tasha Posid, surgical educator and education specialist, College of Medicine). This research project focuses on a program designed to support first-generation pre-medicine students and increase their matriculation to medical school. The study will examine barriers to pursuing a medical or healthcare career among these students, how the program helps address those barriers, and eventual levels of medical school interview and admissions compared to non-first-generation peers.
  • Using photo-elicitation to investigate Racial Battle Fatigue among Black college students (Dr. Stephen Quaye, associate professor, Educational Studies): Racial Battle Fatigue (RBF) describes the feeling of race-related exhaustion among people of color. This qualitative study will deepen knowledge about how Black students experience RBF and how that influences their academic success and well-being, and explore potential support strategies for reducing RBF and promoting student success.
  • Investigating the effects of directed self-placement into first-year writing courses on academic success (Dr. Carolyn Skinner, associate professor of English and Writing Program Administrator for the Mansfield campus): National research suggests that many traditionally underserved students are “underplaced” into remedial writing courses, and that “directed self-placement” can improve both placement accuracy and student success. This study will pilot a directed self-placement process for the writing courses at Mansfield, and examine student engagement, writing quality and retention in comparison to similar students who are placed according to conventional processes.
  • Investigating motivation, self-regulation and academic engagement among campus change students in the College of Education and Human Ecology (Dr. Christopher Wolters, professor of Educational Psychology and Director of the Dennis Learning Center). This research project focuses on a new summer workshop and academic coaching series developed by the Dennis Learning Center for Education and Human Ecology majors transitioning from a regional campus to Columbus campus. The study will examine the experiences of campus change students and the effectiveness of the intervention program in terms of motivation, self-regulation, academic engagement and performance.
  • Understanding Physics college classroom contexts and students’ academic success and retention (Dr. Shirley Yu, associate professor of Educational Studies and Educational Psychology). This research project focuses on large-enrollment introductory courses in Physics. The study will identify how perceived course climate and instructional strategies relate to academic engagement, achievement, and retention in STEM and the university, directly and indirectly through the self-regulated learning components of sense of belonging and metacognitive learning strategy use.