In 2006, an article was published by three doctoral students, (Tricia Seifert, Jerri Drummond, and Ernest Pascarella) at the University of Iowa, highlighting a research study undergone by the three concerning the role of institutional types, with emphasis on historically black colleges (HBC’s) in African-American students’ experiences. The findings, as published in the Journal of College Student Development showed that students who attend HBC’s report greater levels of good practices than their peers at other institutions of higher education. These findings suggested a greater emphasis on the teaching of students, as defined by the mission statements of these particular institutions.
The authors highlight the main purpose of their research, which was to compare the educational experiences of African- American students in and out of the classroom with faculty and peers along the dimensions of good practices in undergraduate education by institutional type. To do so, they gathered data from a sample of students who participated in the NSSL, examining 19 dependent variables in 7 sub categories, controlling for factors such as student demographic and background, institutional characteristics, and as well as academic ability of students and institutional selectivity.
A quite extensive literature review was made, and the researchers took care to account for many independent variables, as well as the capabilities and limitations of the study. The key question guiding the study was: “To what extent, if any, does institutional type affect African-American students’ experiences of good practices in undergraduate education”, which defined good practices in seven different areas, including student-faculty contact, cooperation among students, prompt feedback and expectations of students, among others. The research credentials were impressive, as each author has multiple articles peer-reviewed in their area of research.
Although the results suggest otherwise, I found issue with the implications for practice. The article did not really present a “call to action” in terms of future research, but rather discussed and suggested that it would “behoove all of us to learn” rather than make a implicit argument to suggest further research that would advance knowledge of the results, which I take as a notable oversight, particularly when I read the limitations section. Although the article outlines the research limitations succinctly, the authors seem to take...