Faculty Research Fellows Program

Application Information

Program Information

The Student Affairs Faculty Research Fellows Program allows faculty to conduct a research project to address important questions concerning Student Affairs at UIC. Faculty Fellows will identify important research questions relevant to UIC Student Affairs and answer those questions during a year-long fellowship program.

Student Affairs Faculty Fellows 2020-2021

The COVID-19 Pandemic’s Impact on the Academic Engagement and Retention of UIC Undergraduate Students: A Mixed-Methods Study

Principal Investigator: Alexios Rosario-Moore, PhD

Alexios Roasrio-Moore, PhD

Project Description

As students have returned to UIC’s campus, administrators lack data that examines the scale and character of the pandemic’s impact on undergraduate students, their academic engagement, and decision-making related to retention or departure. COVID-19 has had a disproportionately negative economic and health-related impact on Cook County, and a disproportionately negative impact on Black and Latinx communities. This mixed-methods study is designed to assess and describe racial and ethnic disparities in the pandemic’s impact so that the university can better support the students who are most affected by this crisis.


Dr. Rosario-Moore’s research focuses on racial and socioeconomic equity in secondary and post-secondary education through an integrated analysis of federal and state policy, organizational sense-making and implementation, and perception and decision-making among students and families. Prior research has examined the influence of federal accountability regimes on racial and ethnic disparities, the influence of race and social class on the college choice process, and an analysis of a collaborative university-public school partnership. He currently teaches courses in the M.Ed. in Urban Higher Education program and the Ed.D. in Urban Educational Leadership program.

Queerying Our Campus: An LGBTQIA+ Campus Climate Study

Principal Investigator: Nic M. Weststrate, PhD

Nic M. Weststrate, PhD

Project Description

In a proud moment earlier this summer, UIC was recognized as Illinois’ best college for LGBTQIA+ students. This accolade reflects UIC’s robust commitment to fostering the well-being and success of LGBTQIA+ students through inclusive policies, programs, and services. Little is known, however, about how these institutional commitments translate to LGBTQIA+ student experiences. Research has shown that student perceptions of campus climate are related to academic and psychosocial outcomes. In partnership with the UIC Gender and Sexuality Center, the present research project will illuminate the experiences, needs, and concerns of LGBTQIA+ students through a campus climate study. Utilizing a sequential mixed-methods design, this campus climate study will proceed in three stages: (1) in-depth qualitative interviews to center diverse student voices and inform survey development; (2) a largescale quantitative survey to generate a broad understanding of campus climate and to examine links between experiences and outcomes; and (3) focus groups to contextualize survey findings and provide policy recommendations. The results of this campus climate study will enable Student Affairs professionals and other campus stakeholders to develop intentional policies, programs, and services that meet the emergent and evolving needs of LGBTQIA+ students in these unpredictable and uncharted times.


Nic M. Weststrate, PhD, is an Assistant Professor of Human Development and Learning in the Department of Educational Psychology and a member of the Center for Research on Health and Aging in the Institute for Health Research and Policy at UIC. His research investigates optimal psychosocial development across the lifespan, with an emphasis on the development, manifestation, and transmission of wisdom. His recent research explores intergenerational storytelling within the LGBTQIA+ community as a context for wisdom sharing among youth and elders.

Scanning for Engagement: How People Assess Support and Fairness in Organization

Principal Investigator: John Lynch

John Lynch

Project Description

Engagement is a crucial issue to organizations, whether they be employers or universities. In the workplace, employee engagement takes the form of cognitive, emotional, and physical energy workers commit to their jobs (Rich, LePine, & Crawford, 2010). On-campus, student engagement similarly takes the form of immersive participation in class and other co-curricular activities (Astin, 1984). Whether at work or school, engagement can facilitate performance and learning, and thus, understanding what drives engagement is important for organizations. Drawing from theories related to fairness, inclusion, and identity, we are investigating how student-workers’ interpretation of their work (and school) environment can shape their level of engagement. This research contributes to theory by considering how people scan their social environments. This research also will contribute to practice by identifying ways organizations can encourage engagement amongst their employees and students.


John Lynch is an Assistant Professor of Management at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He received his Ph.D. in Management from the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business and his Master of Arts in Counseling and Personnel Services at the University of Maryland. Before getting his doctorate, John worked in higher education, specifically Residence Life and Greek Life. He now researches employee identity management, stigmas in the workplace, and employee volunteering programs. John’s teaching interests include organizational behavior, human resource management, and leadership.

Questions? Contact Sue Farruggia, spf@uic.edu