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Research & Assesment Committee
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Research & Assessment

The purposes of the SACSA Research & Assessment Committee are to encourage research in the college student affairs field; to provide current research and reports to the membership in a timely manner; and to coordinate the selection and awarding of the SACSA Research Incentive Grant and the Dissertation of the Year Award. Both awards are presented at the annual conference awards and recognition luncheon.

Committee Membership

Mary Alice Varga, Chair University of West Georgia
Bonnie Daniel University of Tennessee Martin
Vaishakhi Desai Agnes Scott College
Jake Gross Kennesaw State University
Dametraus Jaggers University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Thomas Newsome Mesalands Community College
Brian Samble University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Gina Sheeks Columbus State University
Ben Stubbs University of West Florida

Dissertation of the Year Award

The Research & Assessment Committee is responsible for selecting the Dissertation of the Year Award. Information about the Dissertation of the Year Award will be posted late summer.

Congratulations to Dr. Ben Stubbs, 2014 Dissertation of the Year Award Winner, for his dissertation titled, “More Myself: Exploring Students’ Perceptions of Self-Authorship Development.” His dissertation explored the ways students make meaning of their self-authorship development in college and how those findings compare to existing research related to situational, environmental, and personal characteristics. Dr. Stubbs is currently the Associate Director for Student Involvement at the University of West Florida and completed his dissertation in the Higher Education Administration program at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.

Research Grant

The Research & Assessment Committee also picks an annual Research Grant Award winner to be announced at the annual conference. Information about the Research Grant will be posted late summer.

Congratulations to the following 2014 Research Grant recipients:

Dr. Darris Means, University of Georgia, for his study titled, In Pursuit of the American Dream, The Higher Education Journeys of Undocumented Students in the American South.” This mixed methods study will utilize critical race theory to explore the intersection of college access, college success, educational policy, and immigration.

Janice Hicks, University of North Texas, for her study titled, “The Psychological Cost of Developmental Education: The Perceptions and Experiences of Students in a Summer Bridge Program.” This qualitative case study will explore the perceptions and experiences of at-risk college students enrolled in remedial or developmental education courses through a summer bridge program in the South.

Dr. Matt Varga, University of West Georgia and Dr. Danielle Molina, Mississippi State University, for their study, “Comparing the Illicit Use of Prescription Stimulants between Graduate and Undergraduate Students.” This qualitative study seeks to further understand student prescription stimulant misuse and identify differences in motivations, reason for use, method of acquisition, and overall understanding of illicit prescription stimulant use between graduate and undergraduate students.

Requests for Research Projects

The Research & Assessment Committee is also responsible for approving requests for membership lists for research projects. Please note the following requirements for such requests: The Research & Assessment Committee will review the study, the IRB, and make a decision on approving the study. Persons or groups who want to survey or use the SACSA membership list for research purposes should follow this protocol.

  1. Submit a written request (email) to the Research & Assessment Committee Chair. This request should include detailed information about the research study and the IRB approval form.
  2. This request is reviewed by the Research & Assessment Chair and committee.
  3. If the request is approved, the chair will submit the proposal to the VP for submission to the Executive Council (EC).
  4. The VP will forward the request to EC with a motion to approve.
  5. The applicant will receive an official letter/email informing him/her of the final decision. This letter will include the cost of the labels, reason for denial or approval conditions, and contact information for those involved in supporting the research.

Please submit the request, information regarding the research study, and IRB approval document to Dr. Mary Alice Varga at


The Research & Assessment Committee has created a new system called SACSAworks where members can upload their current research or scholarly works for other members to view. Find information about SACSAworks and research tips here.

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