DePaul University Center for Access & Attainment > CAA Research Lab > Current Research

Fall 2017 CAA Research Lab Projects


​First Year Transition Study

Longitudinal Survey, T1 survey assessed participants’ experiences during high school, student’s individual characteristics (e.g. demographics, coping style, and attachment to parents) and social and academic experiences during the first year college transition that might-impacted students’ college adjustment. Study will continue collecting data from participants. The T2 and T3 surveys are currently under development; these two surveys will not include high school experience questions, rather focusing on participants’ college experience and progress. In addition, the consent form requested access to participant’s academic records at DePaul. Participants of are 2015-16 first-year students. All (N= 2,458) first-year students were contacted via e-mail by researchers at the end of spring quarter term in 2016. A total of 415 students visited the survey’s web page. Hundred-Sixty-five (165) students (40%) completed the survey partially and 250 (60%) completed all questions. Participants were 63% female (n=157), and 44% (n=109) were ethnic minority. Specifically, 39 (16%) were Latino, 30 (12%) Asian/Pacific Islander, 28 (11%) African-American, 12 (5%) Multiracial, and 141 (56%) Other. Twenty-ninth percent (n=72) were first-generation college students and 27% (n=67) were from a low-income background.

The Experience of First Generation College Students ​​​

For this study we conducted Focus groups meetings aimed to learn about first generation college students’ transition into and through college. Interview protocol was designed to learn about participants educational and life experiences. Focus groups conversations explore: 1) the impact of participants high school experiences on college adjustment, 2) strategies that first generation college students employ to deal with competing demands and pressures from academic work and life, with a focus of understanding coping strategies, and 3) the role of support systems on developing resiliency. The goal of this project is to better understand the college and life experiences of first generation students in order to inform future programs for first generation students at DePaul University. Participants of this study are thirty-three (33) first generation students. Participants were 70% female (n=23), and 60% (n=23) were ethnic minority. Specifically, 11 (33%) were Latino, 10 (31%) white, 4 (12%) African-American, 4 (12%) Asian/Pacific Islander, 4 (12%) other. Twelve percent (n=4) were freshman, 21% (n=7) sophomores, 61% (n=20) juniors and 6% seniors (n=2). Twenty-two participants (67%) were from a low-income background.

Food and Housing Safety

The main goals of the project is to collect information about the needs and barriers of the students in need of assistance as well as the resources available to the students on and around Lincoln Park campus. This project aims at gaining a better understanding about the access to basic needs security of historically underrepresented students (low-income, first generation going to college and ethnic minorities) in higher education.  Food security, housing security and homelessness have shown to be a major of undergraduate degree (Borton, et.al, 2016). In addition, this project will assess community resources available for students around DePaul University campus community to address basic needs (e.g. food intake, housing and healthy opportunities for social integration). This project is a collaboration between the faculty from the Community Psychology program (Dr. Glantsman), members of the Vincentian Family Initiative (Patricia M. Bombard, BVM, D.Min.) and Staff from DePaul TRiO programs (Dr. Berardi). The project will begin in early September defining collaborative efforts and overarching purpose of the data collection and preliminary mapping effort. Two undergraduate TRiO students (low-income, first generation going to college and ethnic minorities) and one community psychology graduate student, will receive training on the project. Data collection (interviews, surveys and asset mapping) will occur during the winter quarter. The analysis and reporting (i.e., the website update and an informational meeting on campus) will be performed during the spring quarter.

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