First-Generation College Students and Philosophy

A philosophy professor has embarked on a project to understand and address issues faced by philosophy students who are first-generation college students or members of other traditionally underrepresented groups, and she could use your help.

Bailie Peterson, assistant professor of philosophy at University of Northern Colorado, writes:

She adds:
[photo of “1000 Doors” by Choi jeong-Hwa]
The study itself has been granted IRB Exempt status, so there is very little chance of any risk or harm to students, and all answers will be reported in aggregate. Instructors will be asked to distribute the survey twice, both on the first day of the semester and near the end of the term, to measure any change in their perceptions. The survey is completed via a Qualtrics link and should not take more than 10 minutes.
At my university, I work with many first-generation and financially disadvantaged students, and I am concerned that we lack sufficient understanding of student’s initial perceptions of philosophy. I am leading a small team of researchers trying to collect data from the the widest number of students possible to gain insight into these questions.
In general, we could benefit from a deeper understanding of student’s views and any potential barriers that come into the classroom with them. 
The research involves administering two brief surveys to students, and you can help by having your students complete them. Dr. Peterson explains:
This project gained momentum after attempts to find data on the experiences of first-generation students showed that we do not have much data. 
We hope to collect enough responses to provide a representative sample of students across the nation. Therefore, it is crucial to reach beyond the courses taught at our institution. We are specifically looking for courses similar to “Introduction to Philosophy,” at the 100-level, to reach beginning students. 
If you’re interested in helping or learning more, contact Dr. Peterson at [email protected].