Bettencourt, Genia

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Ph.D., Higher Education
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Higher Education
Dr. Genia M. Bettencourt studies college access, equity, and activism for marginalized student populations, with a particular focus on social class. She holds a Ph.D. in Higher Education from the University of Massachusetts Amherst; an M.S. in College Student Services Administration from Oregon State University; and B.A. degrees in English, History, and Political Science from the University of California Davis.

Search Results

Now showing 1 - 10 of 12
  • Publication
    Is first-gen an identity? How first-generation college students make meaning of institutional and familial constructs of self
    (2020-01-01) Bettencourt, Genia; Mansour, Koboul E.; Hedayet, Mujtaba; Feraud-King, Patricia Tita; Stephens, Kat J.; Tejada, Miguel M.; Kimball, Ezekiel
    Institutions increasingly use first-generation categorizations to provide support to students. In this study, we sought to understand how students make meaning of their first-generation status by conducting a series of focus groups with 54 participants. Our findings reveal that students saw first-generation status as an organizational and familial identity rather than a social identities. This status was connected to alterity and social distance that was most salient in comparison to continuing-generation peers. Our recommendations include re-examining the role of first- generation specific programming on campus, creating opportunities for meaning-making, supporting students within changing family dynamics, and exploring the interaction between first-generation status and other marginalized identities.
  • Publication
    Disability in Postsecondary STEM Learning Environments: What Faculty Focus Groups Reveal About Definitions and Obstacles to Effective Support
    (2018-01-01) Bettencourt, Genia; Kimball, Ezekiel; Wells, Ryan S.
    Students with disabilities lag behind their peers without disabilities in success outcomes related to access to, persistence within, and completion of postsecondary degree programs (National Center for Education Statistics [NCES], 2017). Faculty play a key role in shaping student success. To date, however, most of the work exploring faculty attitudes and behaviors has drawn from a broad sample (e.g., Buchanan, Charles, Rigler, & Hart, 2010; Kraska, 2003; Jensen, McCray, Krampe, & Cooper, 2004; Rao & Gartin, 2003), with only limited exploration of the attitudes and behaviors of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics [STEM] faculty (e.g., Milligan, 2010; Moon, Utschig, Todd, & Bozzorg, 2011). This study seeks to understand how STEM faculty think about and respond to students with disabilities in order to shape effective interventions. Data were collected through a series of four focus groups with 27 participants across 17 STEM majors including lecturers, pre- and post-tenure, and academic administrators. Key findings from the focus groups illuminated the impact of a formal accommodations process, individual approaches to providing support, and perceptions of the STEM climate towards students with disabilities. Recommendations for research and practice include strengthening support and training for faculty in STEM disciplines while continuing to explore these themes across institutional types.
  • Publication
    High School–University Collaborations for Latinx Student Success: Navigating the Political Reality
    (2020-01-01) Bettencourt, Genia; George Mwangi, Chrystal A.; Green, Keisha; Morales Morales, Daniel
    Latinx students are a growing population in postsecondary education but attain degrees at a pace behind their non-Latinx peers. This research examines a partnership between a research university (RU) and career and technical education (CTE) high school, Hillside Technical High School (HTHS). Through a 2-year ethnographic case study, we found that different logistics and cultural values were primary contributors to the bifurcated pathway between high school and college. These pathways were most successfully connected through strategies such as flexibility, personal relationships, and incorporation of community resources as well as viewing the students as resources. Our study suggests a need to reframe partnerships in recognition of the assets that students bring to these e orts, while also creating opportunities for additional faculty support and community involvement.
  • Publication
    “I want to know about everything that’s happening in the world:” Enhancing critical awareness through youth participatory action research with Latinx youth
    (2017-01-01) Morales Morales, Daniel; Bettencourt, Genia; Green, Keisha; George Mwangi, Chrystal A.
    Through a yearlong, qualitative ethnographic study that incorporated a youth participatory action research project, this research identifies and documents the learning outcomes achieved when core principles of critical pedagogy are brought into practice with urban Latinx youths to develop critical awareness. Analysis reveals three themes around how critical awareness was raised: attention to current events, an ethic of care, and challenging traditional curricula.
  • Publication
    A Qualitative Toolkit for Institutional Research
    (2017-01-01) George Mwangi, Chrystal A.; Bettencourt, Genia
    This chapter provides tools, resources, and examples for engaging qualitative inquiry as a part of institutional research and assessment. It supports the development of individual ability and organizational intelligence in qualitative inquiry.
  • Publication
    Financial Planning for College: Parental Preparation and Capital Conversion
    (2017-01-01) Manly, Catherine A.; Wells, Ryan S.; Bettencourt, Genia
    This study explores the conversion of cultural capital into economic capital, and specifically financial capital in the form of parental financial planning for children’s college education, including reported financial preparations and savings. Using data from the Education Longitudinal Study (ELS:2002), logistic regression-based analyses of aspects of cultural capital indicated that parental involvement exhibited the most prevalent relationship with financial planning and the amount saved, and that parents’ expectations, but not their aspirations, corresponded to engagement in financial planning. Findings support the conclusion that some parents convert part of their cultural capital to financial capital in preparation for paying for their child’s college education, perhaps representing a typically hidden facet of social class reproduction.
  • Publication
    First Generation Students at the University of Massachusetts Amherst
    (2019-01-01) Wells, Ryan S.; Bettencourt, Genia M.
    Executive Summary First generation (First Gen) students—those who do not have a parent or guardian who attained a four-year degree—represent a third of all college students in the United States. At the University of Massachusetts Amherst (UMass), a quarter of the undergraduate student body is First Gen. Nationally as well as locally, First Gen students often experience lower rates of academic success due to factors such as a lack of family familiarity with the college going process, lower levels of academic preparation, and limited finances. UMass Amherst is undertaking efforts to improve conditions for success for First Gen students. As part of a steering committee on First Gen issues, the Center for Student Success Research (CSSR) led a mixed methods study of First Gen students on campus during the 2018-2019 academic year. The aim of the study is to better understand who First Gen students at UMass are, the experiences they are having, and how to better serve them.
  • Publication
    STEM degree completion and first-generation college students. A cumulative disadvantage approach to the outcomes gap
    (2020-01-01) Bettencourt, Genia; Manly, Catherine A.; Kimball, Ezekiel; Wells, Ryan