This comprehensive mixed-methods study examines the Thompson Scholars Learning Communities (TSLC) at the University of Nebraska (NU). This study relies on both quantitative and qualitative methods as well as both formative and summative research to better understand the role of the TSLC experience on select students’ college trajectory. The overarching aim of our research is to explore, document and better understand whether TSLC program experiences translate into greater student success. These experiences will be measured not only by traditional academic short- and long-term outcomes such as retention and GPA, but also other psychosocial outcomes such academic and social self-efficacy, career and major commitments, resiliency, mattering, and sense of belonging. Several of the outcomes we have chosen to study (e.g., self-efficacy, mattering, and sense of belonging) have been well-documented in the academic literature in higher education, but are not yet well understood. This ambitious research plan will not only help advance the STBF’s and NU’s understanding of the role of TSLCs on Scholarship recipients’ college experience and “success,” but will also fill an important gap in the scholarly literature pertaining to mechanisms as to how these outcomes may be shaping students’ college experiences. Additionally, this study will contribute to the field of higher education by better understanding college transition and success among first-generation, low-income college students and the efficacy and design of programs such as learning communities created to assist in their success.
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For more information see the Project’s Press Release.