Mataczynski EdD ’13 is Doctoral Winner of the NACADA Student Research Award

Lisa Mataczynski EdD ’13

Lisa Mataczynski EdD ’13

Lisa Mataczynski EdD ’13 is the Doctoral Winner of the NACADA Student Research Award. Established in 1983, the NACADA Annual Awards Program for Academic Advising honors individuals and institutions making significant contributions to the improvement of academic advising. NACADA is a representative and advocate of academic advising and those providing that service to higher education.

Mataczynski’s dissertation is titled, “Advising and Acculturation Variables as Predictors of Satisfaction, Sense of Belonging, and Persistence among International Undergraduates.” Her dissertation chair was Ruth Chung, who encouraged her to pick a dissertation topic that she was knowledgeable and passionate about. Mataczynski had previously held a variety of academic advising positions, and particularly enjoyed working with international students. She was curious to know more about their experiences with advising because so much of the advising literature pertains primarily to the mainstream population. In addition to facing many of the same academic challenges as their American counterparts, international college students experience unique challenges such as language difficulties, social and cultural adjustment stressors, financial problems and the demands of adapting to a new educational system. In reading over initial literature in the field, Mataczynski became particularly interested in the cultural components of their adjustment, more specifically, the within- and between-group variables of acculturation and country of origin.

Dissertation abstract:

Guided by the work of Hurtado and Carter (1997) as an alternative to Tinto’s theory of student departure (1993), the purpose of this quantitative study was to explore the relationship of institutional and cultural factors to satisfaction with academic advising, sense of belonging to campus and retention among international undergraduate students in the United States. Participants included 301 undergraduate international students who completed an online survey that examined the advising relationship, advisor-advisee activities, country of citizenship, acculturation, advising satisfaction, sense of belonging, and intent to persist. Measurement tools utilized included the Academic Advising Inventory (Winston & Sandor, 1984), Stephenson Multigroup Acculturation Scale (Stephenson, 2000), and Sense of Belonging to Campus questionnaire (Hurtado & Carter, 1997; Hurtado & Ponjuan, 2005). Findings indicated that the advising relationship and acculturation were significant predictors of international students’ satisfaction with academic advising, and acculturation and advising satisfaction were important influences on sense of belonging. Additionally, advisor-advisee activities, advising satisfaction, and sense of belonging were important variables in predicting intent to persist to graduation. The results of this study provide direction for higher education administrators and researchers in their efforts to gain a better understanding of factors leading to international student success.

Mataczynski works for the Information Technology Program (ITP) at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering. She manages academic programs and is responsible for student advisement, curriculum development and faculty support. She is currently developing and implementing a cycle of assessment for ITP. Mataczynski is passionate about the overlapping fields of intercultural communication and diversity/inclusion. She is also currently assisting Santa Monica College in the development, implementation, and assessment of a strategic initiative aimed at examining students’ non-cognitive skills and how they might play a role in promoting student success.