Dr. JoAnna Schilling, VP Academic Affairs/Assistant Superintendent

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1 TO: FROM: Dr. JoAnna Schilling, VP Academic Affairs/Assistant Superintendent Dr. Amy Holzgang, Professor of Sociology DATE: December 9, 2014 SUBJECT: REQUEST FOR SABBATICAL LEAVE I. REQUEST FOR SABBATICAL LEAVE. I am requesting a one-semester leave (Fall 2015) for 100%. I began teaching fulltime Fall I am in my 14 th year of service at Cerritos College and have had no previous sabbaticals. II. PURPOSE OF LEAVE The purpose of my leave is to create a digital transfer resource for sociology majors specifically, but Cerritos College students generally to be housed on the Sociology Department web page ( The sabbatical project will inform the department faculty what skills, knowledge and habits juniors and seniors at 4-year universities should know. Sociology majors are overwhelmingly in a transfer pattern and most of those who receive an AA-T degree in sociology will transfer to a 4-year university and many of them will major in sociology. We know very little about success of our specific students when they transfer. This project will follow a group of students who have transferred to 4-year colleges, survey former students as well as interview faculty at 4-year institutions in order to understand what habits, skills and knowledge students need to be successful upon transfer. Our transfer center has a wealth of information on transfer success, but it focuses on what successful students do at Cerritos College to enable them to transfer. IFalcon is another great resource for students to learn to develop successful habits. What this sabbatical project will specifically focus on is what is needed once students get to their 4-year institution. Over the past 4 years, I have arranged for alumni panels for Cerritos College students comprised of former Cerritos College sociology students who have transferred, graduated and moved on to graduate school and careers. These alumni discuss their transfer process, their experiences at the 4-year institution and their lives currently at these events. The success and feedback of these events are the driving force behind this sabbatical project. III. SPECIFIC OBJECTIVES In order to create a digital sociology transfer resource for students, I will: 1. Determine how sociology students feel about their preparation for their transition and time at a 4-year university. a. I plan on selecting a small, non-representative sample of students (approximately 5) during the Spring semester 2015 who are transferring and interviewing them regularly through Fall 2015

2 semester as they transition to their new university. These students will be chosen based on who agrees to be part of the study as well as trying to get a variety of demographic characteristics. I teach Sociology 205: Social Research Methods each spring semester. This course is 90% sociology majors who are planning on transferring the following fall semester. This course is a capstone course and will enable to me find students who are willing to participate in the sabbatical project. (Cohort 2) b. I will interview fall 2015 transfer students after their orientation/registration, after their first few weeks on campus, in the middle of the semester and then after their first semester is over. This is a total of 4 interviews each for a final total of at least 20 interviews. (See appendix for interview protocol) These interviews will be anywhere between 1-2 hours and will be then transcribed. Transcription takes at least 2-3 hours for each hour of interview. c. I also plan on interviewing students who transferred fall 2014 during the sabbatical as they will be in their 2 nd year of transfer, possibly preparing to graduate in Spring I will interview them 2 times during the fall 2015 semester. These interviews will be at the beginning and end of the fall 2015 semester. (Cohort 1) d. I will create a survey to send to approximately former students who have transferred. This survey will be able to access more students about their transfer experience than just the 5 that I will be following more closely. The survey questions will range on topics from number of hours that students studied, amount of reading, amount of writing, types of exams they took, grades earned. Students will be accessed with the help of Academic Affairs who can create a list of sociology majors and their s. Please see appendix for survey. 2. Determine the skills, knowledge and habits that 4-year University Sociology departments want transfer students to know. a. I plan on meeting and interviewing department chairs and undergraduate advisors at some of the most common 4-year universities to which our students transfer (CSULB, CSUDH, CSUF, CSULA, CSUN, UCI, UCLA, UCR, USC) and discuss with them how they feel our students preparation compares as well as the specific types of skills and knowledges that they want our students to have and be able to do. b. I will attend two sociology conferences (CSA, PSA) and attend sessions that address issues regarding the sociology major and transfer students. c. Researching current research on transfer experiences and successes by engaging in a review of the literature on the topic. Some of the journals that I plan on reviewing are within my discipline (Sociology): Sociology of Education, Teaching Sociology. I will also look at journals that publish research on higher education: Review of Educational Research, Journal of Higher Education, Research in Higher Education, Change and journals that focus specifically on Community Colleges:

3 Community College Journal of Research and Practice, Community College Journal and Community College Review. 3. Incorporate research into practice a. Create a transfer resource for sociology majors that will be accessed through the sociology department web page ( that will have advice from transfer students, faculty and other research. This resource will also be a place where the department will list our curriculum for our AA-T degree, how our courses articulate and other information about our degree/program. b. Incorporating feedback from transfer students and from department faculty into each course that I teach (Soc 101, 202, 205). This may range in issues such as adding new, current content or to pedagogical changes such as skill building (groups, projects, activities, more writing, more reading) c. Incorporate sabbatical research into course and department learning outcomes. d. At department meetings, discuss findings with all full and part-time faculty. e. Share sabbatical project with other constituencies on campus such as CTX, student services, and departments who teach courses that are part of our GE programs. IV. PREPARATION I have identified 3 students who I will interview two times during the fall semester 2014 in order to pilot the interview protocol. (See Appendix) These students will also be interviewed during the fall 2015 semester. They have all given me permission to use them for this research (see Appendix for informed consent letter) These interviews are to be semi-structured, in-depth interviews (Glaser and Strauss 1967; Reinharz 1992; Kvale and Brinkmann 2008) that follows how my discipline engages in this type of research. As the Research and Planning Department is undergoing a transition I will contact them spring semester to obtain all the necessary reviews and approvals for the sabbatical project. I will develop interview protocols for Fall 2015 and for the sabbatical project after the pilot interviews are done as this will give me a better idea of what students are feeling and experiencing. I have also done a basic literature search on transfer student success. This literature search identified the journals listed above in Objective 2c. I have working relationships with department faculty at CSUF, CSULB and CSU Northridge and will contact other department chairs and representatives as indicated. I will be attending the California Sociological Association Meetings November 7-8, 2014 (Riverside, CA) as well as the Pacific Sociological Association Meetings April 1-4, 2015 (Long Beach, CA) to make contact with faculty from transfer institutions as well as attend sessions dealing with student and program learning

4 outcomes. V. PLANNING ITINERARY August 17-Aug 30, 2015 Interview Cohorts 1 and 2 (6-7 interviews, hours of interviews) Interview #1 for Cohort 2 Transcribe interviews (20-40 hours) Research and read literature on transfer success Send out survey to former students September 1-September 15 Interview Cohort 2 (interview #2) Transcribe and analyze interviews Research and read literature on transfer success September 16-September 30 Interview Cohort 2 (5-10 hours of interviews) (interview #3) Transcribe interviews (10-20 hours) and analyze October 1-15 Meet with and interview department faculty at transfer institutions Interview Cohort 1 (interview #2) (3-6 hours of interviews) Study Best Practices of transfer students October Interview Cohort 2 (interview #4) (5-10 hours of interviews) Transcribe and analyze interviews Begin to develop website structure November 1-15 Attend California Sociological Association Conference November (Sacramento, CA) Meet with and interview department faculty at transfer institutions Analyze survey data November Analyze interviews Synthesize literature, add to website December 1-15 Interview Cohort 2 (interview #5) Transcribe and analyze interviews Integrate student interview data, faculty interview data and literature review into website VI. SERVICE AND PRACTICAL APPLICATION Students: This sabbatical project will enhance sociology students by providing an on-line resource of what skills and knowledge they will need when they

5 transfer. This resource will be available through the department web page and will also be the place for students to access the AA-T requirements, the specific requirements for local 4-year universities requirements. It will be a one-stop place for sociology majors. The information will then incorporated into actual teaching practices and content in the classroom. Department: The knowledge that this sabbatical project will generate will be shared with the entire sociology department (full and part-time instructors) so that they can know the needs of our students. The information and recommendations will be housed on the sociology department web site ( The department will also benefit by being able to revise Student Learning Outcomes as well as Program Outcomes that are meaningful and backed up by first-hand knowledge of what students should really know to be successful. College: This sabbatical project will also be shared with other constituencies on campus that would benefit from the knowledge of what and how our students are doing after transfer. Transition experiences such as emotional, psychological and developmental adjustment to a 4-year school is important for our Student Support services such as our counseling department. Skills that students have and/or need will be shared with other departments who serve our transfer students (GE) such as Math, English and/or Student Success Center. 7 Circles: This project is directly related to four of the seven circles of student success: Teaching practices, Instructional programs, Support services, and Student Engagement as noted above. VII. REPORT ON SABBATICAL LEAVE A written report will be completed within the semester/year following the sabbatical This report will verify that the objectives of the sabbatical leave have been met.

6 Appendix References cited in proposal Glaser, Barney and Anslem Strauss Discovery of Grounded Theory: Strategies for Qualitative Research. New York: Aldine de Gruyter. Kvale, Steinar and Svend Brinkmann InterViews: Learning the Craft of Qualitative Research Interviewing. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Pubishers. Reinharz, Sulamit Feminist Methods in Social Research. New York: Oxford Universtiy Press. Interview Protocol Fall 2014 These are open ended questions/ inquiries to encourage students to give as much detail as possible on their lives. Although it is not a long list of questions, these will get students talking and will produce follow-up questions as well as the topic warrants. These questions are designed to get at things that the survey cannot specifics about classes, content, etc. This is standard procedure in Sociology field studies. These interviews will be approximately 1-2 hours in length. Interview #1: In September, This interview will be done only about 1-2 weeks after the beginning of the semester for those transferring to the CSU system. For those students transferring to UCs, the first interview will be in October as most of the quarter system schools start in late September or early October. 1. What was your initial feeling about [your new transfer school]? 2. Tell me about the orientation. 3. What would you tell a new student about orientation now that you have gone through it? 4. What classes are you taking? 5. What is your favorite class so far? Why? 6. What classes are you most nervous to take in the Sociology major? Why? 7. Tell me about the amount of reading in your sociology classes. 8. Tell me about the amount of writing in your sociology classes. 9. How do you feel in your classes? Are you making connections in your classes? 10. Do you feel your professors are accessible to you for questions or help? 11. Are you receiving financial aid? 12. Were you accepted into any programs, services (EOP) Interview #2 (In November, 2014) 1. How is your semester going? 2. What is your favorite class? Why? 3. Are you making any more connections in your classes? 4. Tell me about your exams. (format, how you ve done on them, what you like, don t like) 5. What is the best surprise you have had at [your new transfer school]? 6. Tell me about what next semester s classes will be. 7. How do your grades compare to other students in your class? 8. Do you feel like you have a good foundation in your major (sociology)?

7 9. What concepts/ideas have been the biggest challenge for you? 10. What is your biggest challenge so far? 11. Are you working as well as going to classes? 12. Tell me how you juggle all your responsibilities. 13. What would you tell a new student about transferring that you didn t know but wish you did?

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