Presentation Type

Poster

Start Date

5-8-2024 11:00 AM

End Date

5-8-2024 1:00 PM

Subjects

Social capital (Sociology), Community Colleges

Advisor

Dr. Erin Shortlidge

Student Level

Undergraduate

Abstract

Students that transfer from a community college (CC) to a university often experience social and academic barriers that can lead to feelings of isolation and challenge their persistence. One way to alleviate these barriers is to develop capital. We aimed to understand how a cohort of CC STEM transfer students may have developed and exhibited social capital, or “assets accessed through social connections”. We leveraged the Network Theory of Social Capital to examine the instrumental (i.e., concrete advice and support) and expressive (i.e., emotional support and encouragement) actions that led to feelings of connection and persistence. We conducted semi-structured interviews with students after the students completed a NSF-funded S-STEM program (n=11). Multiple researchers iteratively analyzed the interview transcripts to consensus, employing both inductive and deductive coding approaches. Preliminary results indicate that the Scholars had developed connections with both peers and faculty/staff post-transfer. Connections made with peers appear to be primarily facilitated through expressive social capital actions, while connections with faculty/staff are primarily facilitated through instrumental social capital actions. Understanding how STEM CC transfer students develop connections will allow us to provide evidence-based, directed support to these students, potentially alleviating feelings of isolation and supporting persistence.

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May 8th, 11:00 AM May 8th, 1:00 PM

Expressive and Instrumental Social Capital Facilitates Network Connections for Community College Transfer Students in STEM

Students that transfer from a community college (CC) to a university often experience social and academic barriers that can lead to feelings of isolation and challenge their persistence. One way to alleviate these barriers is to develop capital. We aimed to understand how a cohort of CC STEM transfer students may have developed and exhibited social capital, or “assets accessed through social connections”. We leveraged the Network Theory of Social Capital to examine the instrumental (i.e., concrete advice and support) and expressive (i.e., emotional support and encouragement) actions that led to feelings of connection and persistence. We conducted semi-structured interviews with students after the students completed a NSF-funded S-STEM program (n=11). Multiple researchers iteratively analyzed the interview transcripts to consensus, employing both inductive and deductive coding approaches. Preliminary results indicate that the Scholars had developed connections with both peers and faculty/staff post-transfer. Connections made with peers appear to be primarily facilitated through expressive social capital actions, while connections with faculty/staff are primarily facilitated through instrumental social capital actions. Understanding how STEM CC transfer students develop connections will allow us to provide evidence-based, directed support to these students, potentially alleviating feelings of isolation and supporting persistence.