An appraisal of the Carmichael Residential Instruction Project, student perceptions

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Hendey, William G.
Strom, Merle T. (Merle Thomas), 1916-
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The purpose of the study was to determine the extent to which the original objectives for the Carmichael Residential Instruction Project at Ball State University have been met through the mid-to-late seventies, the relative differences in effectiveness between the Carmichael Project and the larger university in meeting the objectives claimed for the Carmichael Project, and the extent to which Ball State students of the mid-to-late seventies reflect national trends in college student characteristics as described in the relevant literature.To achieve the purposes of the study a major null hypothesis and four null sub-hypotheses were developed concerning the Carmichael Project objectives. The objectives evaluated in the study concerned (1) promoting a "comfortable community of learning," (2) developing "close working relationships with faculty," (3) creating "a small, comfortable classroom environment," and (4) providing the opportunity for "shared educational experiences and a common identity."Two questionnaire instruments were developed to determine the extent to which Carmichael Project objectives have been met in the mid-to-late seventies and to determine whether the objectives of the Carmichael Project have been met more effectively by the Project thanby the larger university. The questionnaires were administered to two groups of students selected by a random process. One group was composed of present and former Carmichael Project participants divided into four sub-groups according to academic classification, i.e., freshman, sophomore, junior, senior. The second group, the control group, was composed of general university or non-Carmichael students also divided into four sub-groups according to academic classification.After the questionnaire data were subjected to an F ratio and t test, it was found that the mean scores of the Carmichael Project participant groups were significantly higher than the mean scores of the corresponding control groups for questionnaire items relating to the first three Carmichael Project objectives, but the mean scores of the control groups were significantly higher than the mean scores of the corresponding Carmichael groups for questionnaire items relating to the fourth Carmichael Project objective. The major null hypothesis and all four null sub-hypotheses were rejected.It was determined through the review of related literature that college student characteristics have changed since the late sixties and that Ball State students in the mid-to-late seventies have reflected the national trends in college student characteristics. Among other changes in college student characteristics since the sixties, it was determined, for example, that college students in the 1970's have been more "career-minded," more moderate or conservative in political views, and more "liberal" in social attitudes than were college students of the late 1960's. It was determined. that Ball State students have generally reflected the national college student characteristics but have been more politically moderate and less socially "liberal" than have college students nationally during the mid-to-late seventies.It was concluded that the Carmichael Project at Ball State University should be continued only if modifications are made. It was recommended that if the decision is made to continue the Carmichael Project, Ball State officials should, after appropriate study, develop a very clear set of goals and objectives for the Project, provide a program of studies which specifically meets the needs of students in the late 1970's and early 1980's, develop in-service programs for Carmichael faculty to insure understanding of and commitment to the goals and objectives of the Project, develop specific evaluative procedures and carry out a continuing program of evaluation, and make modifications in the Project as new or changed needs are determined as a result of evaluation procedures.