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  • Thumbnail for We're Home for Originals, Originals like You: A Content Analysis of Small Liberal Arts College Admission Materials
    We're Home for Originals, Originals like You: A Content Analysis of Small Liberal Arts College Admission Materials by Skilling, Chaney

    College and university admission offices function as both decision makers and marketers. They decide which applicants to accept, but are also responsible for marketing their schools to potential students with the intent of maintaining or enhancing their school’s reputation, remaining financially sound, and preserving the school’s public image as diverse and inclusive. This study sought to understand the narrative admission offices present to potential students regarding diversity and inclusion. Using qualitative content analysis, I coded admission viewbooks and websites from 14 small liberal arts colleges for how they portrayed their respective school’s understanding of diversity and inclusion. My examination and subsequent analysis constructed a three-stage narrative. Stage one highlighted schools’ explicit commitment to diversity and inclusion; stage two revealed the vague and abstract conception of diversity which legitimizes schools’ neutral approach to diversity and inclusion; and finally, stage three emphasized the problematic nature of adopting a neutral approach by spotlighting the tokenization of historically underrepresented students. The overarching narrative offers insight into higher education’s role in the perpetuation of social reproduction which maintains social hierarchies and power structures within the United States.

  • Thumbnail for UNINTENDED TRAGEDY OF THE COMMONS? AN EVALUATION OF ENERGY USAGE ON HIGHER EDUCATION CAMPUSES WITH CARBON NEUTRALITY GOALS
    UNINTENDED TRAGEDY OF THE COMMONS? AN EVALUATION OF ENERGY USAGE ON HIGHER EDUCATION CAMPUSES WITH CARBON NEUTRALITY GOALS by Abbott, Emily Yule

    Climate change is a feedback loop of inequality – both a cause and effect on a global scale. The impacts of which such as rising sea levels, increased incidents of natural disasters, and altered weather patterns disproportionately impact developing countries and vulnerable populations. Climate change is fundamentally caused by consumption – resource-intense lifestyles in rich Western countries. Higher education embraced its role as a leader in the response to climate change through sustainability declarations, such as the Climate Commitment and its carbon neutrality goal. But with a history of failed sustainability declarations, how do we know the Climate Commitment is effective and reduces energy consumption behavior? Using data from 119 higher education institutions in the US, this study builds on behavioral economic energy modelling to predict the likelihood an institution signs onto the Climate Commitment, and how energy usage per capita changes afterward. While the study finds that energy consumption decreases on Climate Commitment campuses between the baseline and performance years, the widespread distribution warrants further investigation into the matter.

  • Thumbnail for Writing Center Utilization by Students with Disabilities
    Writing Center Utilization by Students with Disabilities by Ardell, Summer Christine

    This study determines rates of Colorado College Writing Center utilization by students registered with the Colorado Office of Accessibility Resources, their motivations for using the center, and identifies potential actionable improvements to how the Writing Center serves students with disabilities. Participants were purposefully sampled Colorado College students registered with the Office Accessibility Resources (OAR). Data was drawn from multiple sources: two quantitative utilization datasets; a mixed methods questionnaire; and qualitative interviews. Quantitative data was analyzed in SPSS. Interviews and open-ended questions from the questionnaire were analyzed using NVivo software. Students registered with OAR used the Writing Center at slightly higher rates than non-registered students. The participants in the survey generally indicated high perceived competency of the Writing Center and those who used the center more often reported greater levels of comfort and less anxiety when working with a tutor. Recommendations for improving Writing Center services for students with disabilities were generated including greater training on working with tutees with disabilities and workshops for students registered with OAR.

  • Thumbnail for Higher Education and its Broader Impacts: University Accessibility and Income Inequality in sub-Saharan Africa
    Higher Education and its Broader Impacts: University Accessibility and Income Inequality in sub-Saharan Africa by Nelson, Pierce

    The existing literature has not thoroughly investigated the relationship between higher education and economic development, especially in the context of Africa. This paper studies the effects of financial accessibility to higher education and its relationship with income inequality. I employ a three-stage conditional-mixed process model on 30 sub-Saharan African countries between 1980-2014. The results show that improving financial accessibility to higher education reduces income inequality through higher enrollment rates and greater productivity. The implications of these results are significant; focusing on creating an inclusive higher education system could greatly improve the income distribution in sub-Saharan Africa.