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Journal of the National Collegiate Honors Council, v17 n1 p219-235 Spr-Sum 2016

Honors programs at colleges and universities provide academic and developmental opportunities for high-ability students. Learning communities, defined as a group of students who live together, are connected through membership in a common organization, and take classes together, are often a component of honors programs. Most research on learning communities focuses just on first-year students and the first-year experience. Very little research focuses on learning communities that include upper-division students. The authors were particularly interested in how student engagement in an honors program evolves as students' progress from freshmen to seniors. To continue the research into the differences between upper- and lower-division students in honors programs started by Nichols & Chang (2013), the honors program experience at University of Nebraska at Kearney (UNK), a higher education institution in the Midwest, that includes a learning community in the four-year honors program, was investigated. Part of the purpose of this research study was to examine student engagement from the perspective of lower- and upper-division students. Also critical is understanding the differences between lower- and upper-division students in order to design programming specifically targeted for each group to enhance satisfaction and retention of students in the honors program.

Descriptors: Undergraduate Students, Learner Engagement, School Holding Power, Academic Persistence, Honors Curriculum, Student Development, Instructional Program Divisions, Identification (Psychology), Decision Making, Enrollment Influences, Student Satisfaction, Student Surveys, Differences, Nonparametric Statistics, Statistical Analysis

National Collegiate Honors Council. 1100 Neihardt Residence Center, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 540 North 16th Street, Lincoln, NE 68588. Tel: 402-472-9150; Fax: 402-472-9152; e-mail: nchc[at]; Web site:

Autor: Kampfe, Jessica A.; Chasek, Christine L.; Falconer, John


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