Course Title: Research on Student Characteristics

        Instructor Professor James W. Trent
       Institution UCLA
Office Number 310.825.8344
E-mail address



Week 1
Major issues; Overview of the course; Criteria for the evaluation of research.

Week 2
A note on the social psychology of higher education; Research models and methods; Factors involved in the decision to go to college.

Week 3
Access to and persistence in college.

Week 4
Quality of education: the curriculum, teaching-learning function and support services.

Week 5
Student subcultures; The transfer phenomenon.

Week 6
Student effort: adjustment, achievement and motivation.

Week 7
Emerging dimensions: the impact of technology, distance and service learning; The issue of intervention.

Week 8
The impact of college and student outcomes; The impact of theory, models and development; Remaining issues and conclusions.

Week 9

Week 10
Final project presentations.


Upon finalization of the syllabus, class participants will form teams or pairs to focus on at least one of the topical areas chosen for the course. Each team will present a critique of the literature and an annotated bibliography pertinent to its topic area and lead a class discussion on its topic. During this time, the team will also provide a progress report on its project. Projects will take the form of text book, manual or other vehicle designed to enhance the application of the course material. Specifics of the projects will be determined by the class participants during the first two sessions of the course.

Each member of the seminar will develop a critical synthesis and analysis of a comprehensive body of research pertaining to a designated aspect of one of the topics noted above. In addition to highlights of the data and their implications regarding student development, each project report should include three sections: (1) regarding the quality of the research analyzed and what it implies about additional content and methodology of research yet needed; (2) regarding the implications of the research to date for needed educational program development and implementation; (3) the product following from these considerations. Copies of the report or a complete abstract are to be provided for each participant.


Evaluation will be based on the extent to which the seminar objectives are reflected in class and project contributions. Suggestions about the application of these criteria are welcome. Education 259A


Astin, A.W. Four Critical Years Revisited. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1993.

Bowen, H. R. Investment in Learning: Individual and Social Value of American Higher Education. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1977.

Chickering, A.W. Education and Identity. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1974.

Feldman, K.A. and Newcomb, T.M. The Impact of College on Students. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1969.

Heist, P., Ed. The Creative College Student: An Unmet Challenge. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1968.

Pascarella, E.T. and Terenzini, P. T. How College Affects Students. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1991.

Sanford, R., Ed. The American College. New York: Wiley, 1962.

Trent, J. W. and Medsker, L.L. Beyond High School. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1968.

Wilson, R.C. and associates. College Professors and Their Impact on Students. New York: Wiley, 1975.


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