The grant is awarded by the National Association of Graduate Admissions Professionals to “encourage emerging knowledge and understanding of the complexities of graduate enrollment management, including all aspects of admissions and recruitment, enrollment, retention, and graduation in higher education,” according to the organization’s website.
Detwiler’s dissertation, “Assessing Factors Influencing Student Academic Success in Law School,” examines the impact of student involvement in law school on cumulative law school GPA, distinguishing between a variety of factors that have both negative and positive impacts.
“I’ve always been interested in experiences of law students,” Detwiler said. “I saw a study from Indiana University called the Law School Survey of Student Engagement some years ago, and I set it aside as an idea for a dissertation.”
Detwiler described his work as a multiple regression analysis on data already gathered through the 2008 version of the Law School Survey of Student Engagement.
“It’s the first study ever done examining the relationship between GPA and student involvement,” he said. “There’s been a lot of studies conducted on undergraduate involvement, but no one’s ever taken time to research involvement and law school GPA.”
There is both theoretical and practical value, he added. Detwiler said he thought the information could be useful for his job at UT serving graduate students. Detwiler, who has worked at the University since 2006, received an Outstanding Adviser Award earlier this year.
He has been a student in the Judith Herb College of Education, Health Science and Human Service’s higher education doctoral program in the Department of Educational Foundations and Leadership since 2007.
Detwiler received the research grant award in April at the National Association of Graduate Admissions Professionals’ 24th Annual Conference in Washington, D.C. It includes a $2,500 grant, a one-year membership, recognition at the national conference, and travel and registration to the conference during the year of the award. The other recipient of the award is a doctoral student from the University of Michigan.
“This really is recognition for UT — it puts us up with the University of Michigan,” Detwiler said, noting that UM has one of the top three higher education doctoral programs in the nation.
Detwiler is preparing for his dissertation defense in September and graduation from the University in December. He will present his dissertation at the National Association of Graduate Admissions Professionals conference in April 2012.