Presentation Title

The Feelings of Safety and Connectedness on Community College Campuses

Faculty Mentor

Katy Farrell, Dana O'callaghan

Start Date

17-11-2018 3:00 PM

End Date

17-11-2018 5:00 PM

Location

CREVELING 35

Session

POSTER 3

Type of Presentation

Poster

Subject Area

behavioral_social_sciences

Abstract

Last year, Palomar College had a mass shooting threat, which inspired a group of honor students to investigate how students and other members of the college community can provide a safer learning environment. Research indicates that students who have experienced an act of violence on a college campus are more likely to drop-out of college or may be scared to return to campus. We wanted to begin by researching what variables help students feel safe on college campuses and whether some groups of students feel more safe than others. Our initial hypothesis was that students who identified with certain underrepresented groups (e.g. students who identify with LGBTQ+ and undocumented students) would feel less safe. As a co-curricular group of students, we also hypothesized that students with stronger feelings of school connectedness would feel safer on campus. School connectedness has been defined by the American Psychological Association as the belief that other individuals on college campuses care about student learning and the well-being of the individual. Furthermore, we wanted to investigate if certain measures taken by the college to improve safety such as installing security cameras and increasing campus police presence improved students sense of safety on campus. To answer these questions, we surveyed college students to measure their feelings of safety and student connectedness. In our poster session, we will share whether our results were consistent with our hypotheses that: 1. Students with a high sense of school connectedness feel safer on campus and 2. Students who identify with certain groups feel more or less safe on campus than others. We will also share students’ overall scores regarding feelings of safety and student connectedness and areas of concern identified with respect to the College’s current safety measures.

Summary of research results to be presented

Our survey included two survey scales, one measuring the feelings of safety and one measuring school connectedness. We developed the scales using existing scales on safety and school connectedness, and both scales were reviewed by a Psychology Professor to ensure the validity of the scales. To collect our data, we used a sample of convenience. We tried to reach a broad sample of students by administering the survey to both the face-to-face course sections offered during the day and evening, as well as to the online course sections. In addition to reaching out to course sections, we distributed the survey throughout student organizations, student government, academic counseling sessions, and in central locations such as the library and student union. Our results will indicate whether a correlation exists between school connectedness and feeling safe on campus and if certain groups of students feel more or less safe on campus than other groups. Our results will also include overall scores for student connectedness and feelings of safety for community college students.

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Nov 17th, 3:00 PM Nov 17th, 5:00 PM

The Feelings of Safety and Connectedness on Community College Campuses

CREVELING 35

Last year, Palomar College had a mass shooting threat, which inspired a group of honor students to investigate how students and other members of the college community can provide a safer learning environment. Research indicates that students who have experienced an act of violence on a college campus are more likely to drop-out of college or may be scared to return to campus. We wanted to begin by researching what variables help students feel safe on college campuses and whether some groups of students feel more safe than others. Our initial hypothesis was that students who identified with certain underrepresented groups (e.g. students who identify with LGBTQ+ and undocumented students) would feel less safe. As a co-curricular group of students, we also hypothesized that students with stronger feelings of school connectedness would feel safer on campus. School connectedness has been defined by the American Psychological Association as the belief that other individuals on college campuses care about student learning and the well-being of the individual. Furthermore, we wanted to investigate if certain measures taken by the college to improve safety such as installing security cameras and increasing campus police presence improved students sense of safety on campus. To answer these questions, we surveyed college students to measure their feelings of safety and student connectedness. In our poster session, we will share whether our results were consistent with our hypotheses that: 1. Students with a high sense of school connectedness feel safer on campus and 2. Students who identify with certain groups feel more or less safe on campus than others. We will also share students’ overall scores regarding feelings of safety and student connectedness and areas of concern identified with respect to the College’s current safety measures.