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Running head: MINI-PROJECT

Mini-Project Lakeisha Jackson Seattle University SDAD 591 May 9, 2013

MINI-PROJECT Methodology

The graduate school experience is different for each student. These experiences also vary greatly for different graduate school programs. Core competencies of this unique journey include academic, professional and social experiences. A core need of graduate students is financing their advanced education. In this paper, I exam data from the Seattle University (SU) State of the Student (SOS) survey administered during winter quarter 2013. This survey was a partnership between Student Activities, which is a part of the SU Division of Student Development, and the following student organizations: the Student Government at Seattle University (SGSU), the Graduate School Council (GSC) and the Student Bar Association (SBA). Research Question A core competency in the graduate student experience is the professional work done during the duration of ones academic tenure. This is an important element of understanding how graduate students experience campus life because working can occupy a significant portion of a graduate students schedule. The main question addressed in my analysis is: can a correlation be identified in graduate students work commitment and the students gender. Three questions from the SOS that will be utilized to examine the relationship between gender and working while in graduate school. Those questions are as follow: Do you work? (Q9), Where do you work? (Q10) and On average, how many hours per weekday do you spend doing the following? - Working (Q19). Student Development Interest Student development theories and programming mainly focus on undergraduate and traditionally-aged college students. However, looking specifically at SU graduate students is an important area to interrogate. This is due to the fact that nearly 45% of SUs student population

MINI-PROJECT is graduate and law students. The precise breakdown is roughly 4,500 undergraduate students;

2,500 graduate students; and 1,000 law students. Notably, graduate students are often overlooked in terms of student services and programming. SUs services largely focus on undergraduate students, especially those that live on-campus. This creates a gap in student development services and programming that could strengthen the experience of graduate students. In regards to equity, because financial aid packages for graduate students are very limited in terms of scholarship, working part or full-time can become a necessity for this population. Working can take on the form of a graduate assistantship, research assistantship, working at the institution as a professional staff member or working in an off-campus capacity. This thereby limits the time a graduate student has to experience campus life. However, in my opinion I would argue that graduate students mostly likely had a positive experience with campus life as undergraduates; and this could factor into their decision to return to college campuses for advanced degrees. Data Collection As aforementioned, the data for the SOS survey was gathered in winter 2013. All students at SU were eligible to participate in the survey. A student leader from SGSU sent emails to the student population with the survey link. Recipients of these emails included all undergraduate, graduate and law students. Around 1,340 students of the nearly 8,000 enrolled answered the survey. This means the survey results represent about 17% of the overall SU student population. For the purposes of my mini-project, only graduate students responses will be included in my data analysis. There were 385 graduate student respondents in the SOS. This is representative of 15% of the graduate student population at SU. Keep that in mind when reviewing the findings section of this mini-project.

MINI-PROJECT Data Analysis This survey and data calls for a quantitative analysis by virtue of the survey design and

instrument. As seen in the appendices of this project, there are significant relationships between gender and whether or not a graduate student is working. Additionally, it is notable where a student works and for how many hours a day. The amount a student is working can greatly influence their performance in their academic program as well as how aggressively the student is pursuing the academic program (full or part-time). Both of those factors are matters for deeper analysis during a future project. The main components for analysis in this study are graduate students gender, their working status and the amount of hours that they work. Findings Male responders are more likely to work The first question for analysis is: are graduate students working while in their course of study. The overwhelming majority of graduate students who completed the SOS are indeed working. Seventy-seven percent (n = 298) of survey respondents are employed. This is to be expected given the high cost of graduate education, and the lack of funding sources beyond student loans. More graduate students are choosing to work as oppose to incurring even higher level of student loan debt. Additionally, there was a notable difference in the percentage of male and female survey respondents who indicated that they work. Out of 106 male respondents, 86% (n = 91) are employed. Whereas, out of 276 female respondents, 75% (n = 207) are employed. I cannot draw an inference as to why this 11% difference exists. But, I can assume that the higher number of female respondents affects the lowered overall percentage.

MINI-PROJECT Graduate students work off-campus The second question for analysis is where do graduate students work? The results from the SOS show that graduate students are employed both on and off campus. The majority (57%) of respondents work off-campus. Whether that is by choice or due to lack of on-campus options (graduate assistantships, research assistantships, full-time opportunities) is unclear from the limitations of the type of questions asked in the survey. Again, it is clearly evidenced in Table A2 that male respondents are more likely to work off-campus 69% (n = 72) compared to 54% (n = 148) of female respondents. The findings in regards to this question are largely affected by the 26% of female graduate students who responded to this question who do not work. Graduate students spend a majority of their day working The third finding in this data is that graduate students, who do work work full-time. When asked to indicate: on average, how many hours per weekday do you spend doing the following? Working, 51% (n = 198) of graduate students completing this survey indicated working eight hours or more. When we factor gender into the response of the question, 65% of

the males reported working eight hours or more, compared to 46% of the females who responded to the question. However, it is important to factor into the questions that respondents who do not work all were required to answer this questions. This may account for the 25% of female responders who reported working less than two hours per weekday. When in reality they do not work professionally at all. Accounting for students who identify as Transgender or Other Though the majority of the respondents identified as male or female, the SOS survey had two transgender participants and one participant who identified other. The small number of

MINI-PROJECT respondents makes is so that the data does not yield a significant numerical impact on a larger population of graduate students at SU who identify as transgender or other. Reflection Using specific knowledge in Data Analysis In analyzing the data for this project, I utilized specific knowledge that I have from working with Excel in a professional reporting capacity for years. I have also done numerous trainings on how to utilize specific formulas to use Excel to the best of its ability. This was helpful because I was able to employ different formulas with the SOS data to produce information for my tables. This really saved me a lot of time in developing this portion of my mini-project. Service to Others Additionally, I was able to help some of my classmates understand how to better utilize

Excel by teaching them formulas and functionality within Excel. This was a good experience for me because one of my core reasons for working in student affairs is acts of service, which is also one of my core values as a human being. Areas of Improvement The narrative portion of this mini-project presented various challenges for me in terms of applying many of the concepts from the course readings. The data set and instrumentation were the most relevant obstacles. I feel that there are many areas of improvement for this survey, but I know that that is a shared observation among my course colleagues and there is nothing to be done about those challenges at this point. Additionally, I recognize that working within the confounds of what we have as a tool is also important practice as a professional. Student Affairs as a profession is not a neatly wrapped package. To add to that, research, assessment and data

MINI-PROJECT sets do not always turn out how we would like them too. It is important to have these types of experiences so that I can expand the bounds of my flexibility as a professional, academic and researcher. I hope to move forward with this in mind when I complete my graduate project during the fall term.

MINI-PROJECT APPENDIX A Table A1. Do you work? (Q9) Gender Male (n = 106) Female (n = 276) Transgender (n = 2) Other (n =1) Total (n = 385)

Yes 86% (91) 75% (207) 100% (2) 100% (1) 77% (298)

No 14% (15) 25% (72) 0% (0) 0% (0) 23% (87)

Table A2. Where do you work? (Q10) Gender On-Campus Off-Campus Male (n = 106) Female (n = 276) Transgender (n = 2) Other (n =1) Total (n = 385) 13% (14) 17% (47) 50% (1) 100% (1) 16% (63) 69% (72) 54% (148) 0% (0) 0% (0) 57% (220)

On and OffCampus 4% (5) 3% (9) 50% (1) 0% (0) 4% (15)

Does not work 14% (15) 26% (72) 0% (0) 0% (0) 23% (87)

Table A3. On average, how many hours per weekday do you spend doing the following? Working (Q19) Gender Less than 2 2-3 hours 4-5 hours 6-7 hours 8+ hours hours 15% 6% 6% 8% 65% Male (16) (6) (6) (9) (69) (n = 106) 25% 7% 12% 10% 46% Female (70) (18) (33) (27) (128) (n = 276) 0% 50% 0% 50% Transgender 0% (0) (0) (1) (0) (1) (n = 2) 0% 0% 100% 0% 0% Other (1) (0) (1) (0) (0) (n =1) 22% 6% 11% 10% 51% Total (86) (24) (41) (36) (198) (n = 385)