2018 Research Grant Recipients

2018 Research Grant Recipients: Dr. Elizabeth Niehaus & Dr. Letitia Williams

Title: Exploring Student Development in Caribbean Tertiary EducationExploring Student Development in Caribbean Tertiary Education

Abstract: Consistent with the ACPA mission and core values, the recently developed ACPA Globalization Strategic Plan includes an emphasis on supporting the international expansion of the knowledge base of student affairs and services. Building on existing research on student development in the U.S. and around the world, the purpose of this study is to explore student development in tertiary education in Trinidad and Tobago. This study will provide vital information for professionals promoting students’ personal development in Trinidad and Tobago and throughout the Caribbean. This research can also help the international higher/tertiary education community further examine how our theories and research are culturally constructed in ways that limit our ability to understand the full complexity of human experience. Funding from the Commission for Global Dimensions of Student Development will support this ongoing project by providing support for data analysis. 

Recipients' Bios:

Dr. Elizabeth Niehaus is an Assistant Professor of Higher Education and Student Affairs in the Department of Educational Administration at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln (USA). Dr. Niehaus teaches courses in college student development, international higher education, and research methods.  Her research focuses on the ways in which educational environments facilitate learning and development for students, faculty, and staff in postsecondary education, with a particular emphasis on the global dimensions of higher education.

Dr. Letitia Williams serves as the Assistant Vice President for Student Development at the University of the District of Columbia (UDC). Prior to UDC, Dr. Williams held the position of Assistant Vice President, Student Support Services at the University of Trinidad and Tobago. An educator for over 20 years, Dr. Williams, is committed to improving student learning, retention, engagement and wellbeing and ensuring effectiveness and mission fulfilment through the systematic use of data-informed strategies to support student learning, increase program effectiveness and facilitate staff professional development. 


The ACPA Commission for Global Dimensions of Student Development (CGDSD) 2017 Inaugural Research Grant Recipient

Dr. Tamara Yakaboski
Associate Professor, Higher Education & Student Affairs Leadership
University of Northern Colorado

Title: Tuition fee implementation for non-EU students studying in Finnish English-taught Master's (ETMs) Degrees

Abstract: A critical moment in Finnish higher education occurred this fall 2017 as the nation implemented its first ever tuition fees and targeted only non-European Union (international) students across all universities. This study examines that moment from the perspectives of over 50 individuals, including: 1) students’ union representatives; 2) selected impacted students; 3) faculty, who coordinate English-taught degree programs; and, 4) administrators, who are charged with implementation of these fees or work with international students. The creation of tuition fees in a country that previously had none is significant given the Finnish cultural values of equal access to education. This study investigates how three Finnish universities have implemented fees and their related scholarship schemes. Additionally, the study examines the impact of the fees on international students in regards to introducing stratification into the student experience and system. Finnish and European Union students currently continue to have no tuition fee requirement.  Note: Research undertaken while sponsored as a visiting researcher at the Finnish Institute for Educational Research/Koulutuksen tutkimuslaitos, University of Jyväskylä, Finland. 

Image below of the University of Jyväskylä, located in Jyväskylä, Finland
The JY University  

Image below of Student Union at The University of Turku, located in Turku, Finland