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New Publication in the Studies in Higher Education Journal


We are happy to announce that the paper "Implicit Resilience Theories: A Qualitative Study of Context-Shapers at Higher Education Institutions" by Daniela Datzer, Dr. Stefan Razinskas, and Prof. Martin Hoegl has been accepted for publication at the Studies in Higher Education journal.


High dropout rates in STEM disciplines are certainly among the most crucial challenges that higher education is facing. While prior research has mainly applied an individual-centered approach that has helped identify factors explaining student dropout, an important yet under-examined issue is how those responsible for shaping the academic environment of students vary in their implicit assumptions of why some students persist while others drop out. Thus, in this study, we shift the focus toward the narratives regarding the reasons for students’ dropping out. We report on an in-depth qualitative interview study comprising 59 deans of studies, administrators (quality managers, student advisors), and student representatives, all of whom are considered responsible for shaping the context in German higher education institutions and thereby contributing to the challenge of reducing student dropout. Our grounded-theory model indicates that these context-shapers attend to different implicit theories on what constitutes resilient versus non-resilient students. These implicit resilience theories ultimately relate to dropout being legitimized in different ways, and as such determine the judgements made by context-shapers in terms of actions suitable to reduce student dropout.

Keywords: Implicit theories; Resilience; Higher education; Work role responsibilities.