Who do we teach a sociological snapshot of the lander student body
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Who do we Teach ? A Sociological Snapshot of the Lander Student Body. Dr. Dan Harrison, Political and Social Sciences. The Palmetto State. SC has 4.7 million people. 64% are white, 28% black, 5% Hispanic, 1.4% Asian, .5% Native American. 48.4 % male, 51.6 % female

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Who do we Teach ? A Sociological Snapshot of the Lander Student Body

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Who do we teach a sociological snapshot of the lander student body

Who do we Teach? A Sociological Snapshot of the Lander Student Body

Dr. Dan Harrison, Political and Social Sciences

The palmetto state

The Palmetto State

  • SC has 4.7 million people. 64% are white, 28% black, 5% Hispanic, 1.4% Asian, .5% Native American.

  • 48.4% male, 51.6 % female

  • SC is a very poor state. Median household income (2011): $40,500 (national: $50,054). Second lowest in nation (next to Kentucky)

  • SC historically agrarian economy, now primarily manufacturing, biotech, tourist and service.

  • Politically, culturally, socially, conservative state (but with pockets of blue) (see next slide)

  • For small state, many options for college students (e.g. USC, Clemson, Furman, Wofford, C of C, FM, etc.), plus tech schools, University of Phoenix, etc.

  • State of SC is providing less $$ to Lander and SC system (11.9%, 48th in country; link)

  • Partly, because of this, Lander is ranked 119/651 schools in cost of tuition (link)

2008 presidential returns

2008 Presidential Returns

2012 presidential returns

2012 Presidential Returns

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:South_carolina_presidential_election_results_2012.svg

Lander the school

Lander: The School

  • Started as Williamston Female College in 1872

  • Moved to Greenwood and renamed Lander University in 1904.

  • Became coeducational in 1943. Supported by Methodist Church until 1948.

  • 1951-1973, operated by Greenwood County

  • 1973 became a member of SC state University System (smallest).

Rank amongst southern regional colleges

Rank Amongst Southern Regional Colleges


The students

The Students

  • 92% of Lander students are from SC.

    • Top Counties: Greenwood, Greenville, Anderson

Top recruitment counties

Top Recruitment Counties

2012 Academic Year:

  • Greenwood (583)

  • Greenville (262)

  • Anderson (230)

  • Richland (216)

  • Lexington (151)

  • Laurens (170)

  • Spartanburg (110)

The students1

The Students

  • 92% of Lander students are from SC

    • Top Counties: Greenwood, Greenville, Anderson

  • 5% are from out of state

    • Top states: Georgia, North Carolina, Florida

  • 3% are foreign students

    • Top countries: Australia, Brazil, China, France, England, Korea, Sweden, Zimbabwe (historically).

New student application history

New Student Application History

By the percentages

By the Percentages

The students etc

The Students, etc.

  • 188 students (7% of full time students) are student athletes (and some of better students)

  • 44% of our students come from single parent, divorced, widowed, etc. households.

  • Many are first in family to attend college.

  • Many of our students have overcome significant obstacles to just be here (rape, violence, deaths, etc.)

  • Many students have attended one or more schools before coming to Lander.

  • Many students are religious: In 2013, 55.7 % identify as Baptist or Christian; 10% none; 8% Methodist; 4% Presbyterian; 3% Catholic; 2 % AME, 1% Episcopalian.

Age of lander students

Age of Lander Students



  • Are our incoming students getting better or worse?

Sat scores are flat

SAT Scores are Flat

High school gpa scores are flat


Changing demographics gender

Changing Demographics: Gender

  • Lander started as a women’s college and has been skewed heavily female for some time

  • This imbalance is increasing for all students:

    • Fall 2008: 66.1% female; Fall 2012: 69.6 %.

  • And especially for residential students:

    • Fall 2008: 71.4 % female; Fall 2012: 74.1 %

Changing demographics race

Changing Demographics: Race

  • 47% increase in African-American student body at Lander since 2008 (23% increase for males, 55% increase females). (See next slide)

  • In Fall 2012, African-American students 32.6% of total population, white students 57% (in fall 2008, it was 27%, 64% white); few Hispanic students (1%); few Asian students (though increasing)

  • In fall 2012, 42.5% of freshman class was African-American. (See Headcount Spreadsheet).

  • This is highly positive, especially given history of race in SC.

  • Lander has done great job with this.

  • Yet only 23% of students who graduated in May 2013 were black (chart)

  • Also troubling: white prospective students are increasingly less interested in Lander (chart)

Percentage of african american students

Percentage of African-American Students

Changing demographics race1

Changing Demographics: Race

Percentage of african american students1

Percentage of African-American Students

Shifting applicant pool

Shifting Applicant Pool

Changing demographics class

Changing Demographics: Class

  • Lower median household income. In 2008-2009, avg. household income for students filling out a FAFSA was: $59,366; in 2012, it was $56,354 (-$3012)

  • Many of our students come from “hard scrabble” circumstanceswhere often it is rare to graduate from high school, let alone go to college.

  • SC public high school experiences not good for many (fighting, drugs/alcohol, permanent substitutes, bad teachers, etc.)

  • More students working while in school (link). Full time student 15 hrs in class per week + part time job (20 hrs) = 35 hrs/week. Students working full time= 55+ hr week. Less time for being a student.

Changing demographics class cont

Changing Demographics: Class (cont).

  • Still, Lander students are significantly richer ($16,000 or so) than avg. SC household.

  • Yet many students have to pay their own way. The avg. student graduates with $26,278. ($3200/semester). Avg. for African-American students likely much higher (though no data on this).

  • Purpose of college has been to lift students into the middle class. This is becoming harder. (NYT link).



  • Have the changing demographics led to worsened academic performance?

Academic achievement @lander

Academic Achievement @Lander

  • Average GPA is flat.

  • Most students are doing satisfactorily.

Academic achievement cont

Academic Achievement, cont.

  • 91 students (~ 3%) are being actively managed/get assistance for Learning Disability

  • Best Lander students are excellent, but too few in number (in some classes, just 1 or 2 in class);

  • Top Lander Students do very well.

  • At the other end, handful of students at bottom who are quite poor.

  • Large group of students in the middle who are neither (C+/B-and content with grades.

  • Grades are not an incentive for this group (you can motivate the B+ student to get As, and the D student to get a C-, harder to motivate in the middle). Pluses/minuses may help.

  • As instructor at Lander, job is often more about taking student from F>C, or from D>B, than from C>A.

  • Hard to provide one-one-attention in large classes.

The lander campus profile

The Lander Campus Profile

  • In 2012-13, 1482 students lived on campus (54.6 % of full time students).

  • Residential Hall stats.

  • In 2012, 74% of on-campus students were female, 26% male; 12% of on-campus students were white males; 9.7% were black males; 27.8% were white females; 39.4% were black females (very few Asians and Hispanics)

  • In 2008, 908 students lived on campus (39.5%); 71.3% were female; 28.7% male; 15% were white males; 10.7 % were black males; 35.9% were white females; 30.3% were black females.

Tale of two campus cultures

Tale of Two Campus Cultures

  • 80% of black female student population and 70% of black males live on campus.

  • BUT, only 40 % of white females and 25% of white males live on campus.

  • Lander increasingly has two campus cultures, one black and residential, one white and based off campus.

  • The white students tend to view the campus instrumentally (come to class, pool, launching pad for off-campus activities such as study abroad); black students are more involved in campus activities, clubs, less likely to have cars, etc.

  • Historical factors (e.g. Jim Crow) and self-segregation processes (e.g. roommate assignments) keep the two groups from mingling. Main time together is in class.

  • White students often come from more rural or “country” places; black students more “urban” – also very different politically.

Subcultures on campus

Subcultures on Campus

  • Sociologists in the 1960s Martin and Trow identified four cultures on campus: Vocational, academic, collegiate, and rebel.

  • Developed these categories in terms of trade off between ideas and institutions(on board)

  • Using these terms, I would suggest Lander’s population is Lander is 10 % academic, 10 % rebel, 30% collegiate (“Bearcat”), 50% vocational.

  • This means that half of students identify neither with ideas or with Lander, yet they constitute half of our student body.

  • Unlike the 1960s, vocational students are more likely to live on campus and constitute the campus culture.

Campus cultures

Campus Cultures

  • In 2012, 495 students at Lander were a part of an official Student Organization (21.5% of full time students).

  • 12 registered fraternities (~ 9% of FT students)

  • 78.5 % of students (both on and off campus) are NOT involved in campus life.

Students seeking more help

Students seeking more help

  • Students are seeking out more assistance and behavioral problems are on the rise.

  • 173 students went to the Counseling Center for help last year (5.6 percent of off campus students; 6.8 percent of on campus students or 3/45 students). Each student visited about 3.5 times. 35 % increase in number of students relative to AY 2011-2012.

  • Freshmen (29%); Juniors (27%); sophomores (24%), seniors (19%).

  • Major issues: stress, anxiety, depression.

Health of students

Health of Students

  • Lander’s Health Services saw 2424 students (some of them repeats) in 2012-2013.

  • “One significant area of concern has been the number of students presenting with sexually transmitted infections.” (LU, SABR,)

Students are keeping the lupd busy

Students are Keeping the LUPD Busy

  • See Chart

Students are keeping the behavioral intervention team busy

Students are Keeping the Behavioral Intervention Team Busy

  • See chart

Behavioral problems on the rise

Behavioral Problems on the Rise



  • Many of these issues may not specific to Lander; enrollment concerns across higher education; increasing questioning of value of college.

  • Lander student body will always be changing; Rumsfeld doctrine.

  • Lander’s future is tied mainly to Greenwood’s future.

  • Maybe dynamics are outside our control, but achieving a balanced campus culture seems important (true for faculty as well).

  • Campus culture should reflect aims and aspirations of Lander mission (e.g. developing local leaders with global vision).

Conclusions cont

Conclusions, cont.

  • Many faculty and students are too busy/stressed to reflect or participate in campus culture during school year.

  • New calendar is mixed blessing.

  • Students now in class 15 hrs a week (pre-calendar change, 13.125); faculty teach 12 hrs in class/ week (used to be 10.5). Lander students faculty and students spend more time in class per week than any other institution.

  • Avg. hours taken is going up (see chart).

  • There is an perverse incentive for students to take as many classes as they can. (The better student, the more classes). Yet this means less time/attention and worse performance in any one class.

  • Few times during day/week when no one is in class.

  • The constraints we impose on ourselves and students are very rigid; yet our students are used to flexibility.



  • Should we concerned about these dynamics?

  • Should we try to attract more out of state students?

  • What are the implications for teaching? (Cynthia and Ashley)

  • How can we get more students at Lander who “exceed” standards? (As small school, shouldn’t be impossible).

  • Are we doing all we can to help low-performing African-American students?

  • Are we doing all we can to attract higher performing minority students? (is this an issue for Honors Program?)

  • What can we do to reach beyond the vocational student who are neither interested in ideas or the institution?

  • Is it possible to adjust the mix of residential students to have more balance on campus, both socially/ethnically, etc. and also academic, collegiate and rebel cultures (and perhaps older students) on campus?

Thanks to

Thanks to:

  • Mac Kirkpatrick, Randy Bouknight, Debra “Joe” Franks, Pam Bartley, Cynthia Dysart, Fred Hardin, Tom Covar, and Kim Shannon.

  • Attend Part II of Workshop (Cynthia Gardner and Ashlee Horton’s “…And How do we Reach Them,” on Friday, October 25th.



  • http://www.thestate.com/2013/07/13/2860484/sc-colleges-lead-the-league-in.html

  • http://www.politifact.com/wisconsin/statements/2013/aug/11/ron-johnson/average-college-degree-takes-six-years-us-sen-ron-/

  • http://www.nbcnews.com/business/students-work-more-college-costs-soar-6C10887939

  • http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-colleges/lander-university-3435

  • http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/22/business/in-climbing-income-ladder-location-matters.html?smid=fb-nytimes&WT.z_sma=US_ICI_20130722&_r=1&

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