The pandemic has not weakened student confidence in higher education overall



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Despite the massive disruption caused by COVID-19, a survey study of more than 8,300 students from 29 colleges and universities found that most students had low levels of trust in their institutions, at least during the early months of the pandemic. was found to have been maintained.

In a study published in the journal, American behavioral scientistresearchers found a steady trust among many student demographics, including white and Hispanic students, even as the pandemic caused many campuses to begin moving online. There was a decline in trust among black students and those whose parents did not attend college.

“There is a tension between keeping the campus safe on the one hand and paying attention to the vulnerabilities that students may have on the other,” says lead author of Washington State University’s Tri-Cities Campus. said Shannon Calderon, assistant professor of educational leadership. “We can learn from these experiences, but overall, many institutions have been sensitive in terms of making decisions and acting on them.”

Survey responses did not reveal why some students lost trust, but the researchers found that the decline occurred among groups who already had some distrust of higher education. For students from low-income households, the pandemic also meant they were likely sent home without key resources such as high-speed internet that more advantaged students had. .

“These differences may be explained for several reasons, one of which is the historical relationship between students and institutions,” says Calderone. “And the more likely they are to be vulnerable students, the more likely they are to change their trust. “

In this study, Calderone of Indiana University Bloomington and co-author Kevin Fosnacht analyzed student responses to a special set of trust questions added to a national survey of student engagement. The survey period was from February 2020 to May 2020, when pandemic measures began to affect campuses across the country.

Among the positive results, students with disabilities showed increased trust at the start of the pandemic.

“This suggests that institutions are very sensitive to creating environments that enable students with disabilities to succeed through this transition,” said Calderone.

While the overall results indicated that trust among students remained stable or increased, the researchers found that university leaders communicated well with students of all backgrounds and listened to their needs. We emphasized that we need to better understand and deal with it.

“Unfortunately, something like this is bound to happen again, so one of the big lessons from this is to really think about how we bring other voices into the decision-making dialogue.” says Calderone.

What factors help students with disabilities to attend college?

For more information:
Shannon M. Calderone et al, Student Trust in Higher Education: How the Pandemic Has Affected Faculty Trust, American behavioral scientist (2022). DOI: 10.1177/00027642221118263

Courtesy of Washington State University

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