Journal of Progressive Policy and Practice

Volume 2, Issue 1


Interaction Between Engagement and the Big-Five Personality Characteristics on Academic Success of College Students

This study utilized hierarchical multiple regression to determine the degree to which student personality characteristics interact with engagement with the college environment to predict GPA.  Results indicated a combination of agreeableness, conscientiousness, and engagement with faculty, peers and campus significantly predicted GPA.  Institutions are encouraged to employ this methodology to pinpoint students at risk of academic failure and devise strategies to assist students in attaining academic goals based on strategic assessment of personality and environment interactions.

Wendy Bracken, San Diego State University

Marilee J. Bresciani Ludvik, San Diego State University


African Americans and the Doctoral Experience: A Case Comparison Through Bell’s Interest Convergence

Increasing rates of doctoral degree completion for African Americans demonstrate potential for continued growth and development of a diverse pool of scholars.  However, African Americans still face tremendous racial inequities during the doctoral process.  The student-faculty relationship provides a lens for understanding these inequities particularly as they relate to the ways scholarly interests are addressed.  Derrick Bell’s concept of Interest Convergence provides conceptual guidance for understanding the ways students and faculty members consider their interests within their relationships. Qualitative data of 18 African American doctoral students and doctoral degree completers includes reflections about race, research interests, the student-faculty relationship, the process of student and faculty interests converging or diverging, and the role of environment in supporting this process.  This work uses phenomenology to examine perceptions of the student-faculty relationship within two different institutional environments among African American doctoral students at various stages of the doctoral process and beyond degree completion. Additionally, how race shape students’ perceptions of interactions with faculty and how these perceptions influence academic success and degree completion are addressed.  Several implications are discussed for future development of research, practice, and policy. 

Pamela Petrease Felder, University of Pennsylvania

Marco J. Barker, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill


Reforming Gendered Tenure Policies in U.S. Higher Education: A Policy Recommendation

Men receive tenure more often than women in United States higher education. One reason may be due to current tenure policies. Within this article, the authors evaluate three policy alternatives—benefits packages targeting women, a three-track tenure process, and support programs—using the evaluative criteria effectiveness, affordability, administrative operability, and political feasibility to determine which alternative might be the best option for decreasing the tenure gap between men and women. Each policy alternative was assessed and ranked based on the outcomes associated with the identified criteria. The authors conclude by recommending the three-track tenure policy and suggesting ways to implement and evaluate the recommended policy.

Donald Mitchell, Jr., Grand Valley State University

Abigail Johnson, Grand Valley State University

Laura Poglitsch, Grand Valley State University


African American Women Faculty: Towards a Model of Coethnic Mentorship in the Academe

African American women compose 3.6% of the professoriate nationwide (Chronicles of Higher Education Almanac, 2009), and face various barriers within the academe such as isolation, marginalization, lack of mentorship, and hypervisiblity. Insofar as their experiences stem from the intersectionality of race, gender, and class, we utilize a Black feminist theoretical framework to examine African American women’s underrepresentation and the role of mentorship within the academe. Our discussion includes the landscape of the professoriate, the benefits of mentor-mentee relationships, as well as successful models of mentorship for African American women faculty. The present study utilizes an elaborated theory building approach to conceptualize coethnic mentorship as a tool to develop, nurture, and sustain transformative mentor-mentee relationships amongst African American women senior and junior faculty. 

Ayana Allen, University of North Carolina, Charlotte

Bettie Ray Butler, University of North Carolina, Charlotte 


Spiritual Counseling for Male College Students Using Embodied Conversational Agents

This study seeks to construct an embodied conversational agent (ECA) to aid college campus counseling centers.  Spiritual guidance content was chosen due to the access of content and familiarity to the subjects. An ECA was created and populated with content from a non-denominational church local to the institution where the initial study was conducted. A questionnaire was disbursed to two groups of college students to collect initial feedback on the usability of the ECA. A small sample size (N = 40) was used due to the access of participants and early stage of the research. Results from the study showed positive feedback in terms of its effectiveness for users from different religious backgrounds.

Kinnis Gosha, Morehouse College

John Porter III, Morehouse College

David Cherry, Morehouse College

Chinasa Ordu, Clemson University

Jennifer Horace, Clemson University