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Student–Faculty Interaction: A Key to Academic Integration and Success for Ethnic Minority Students at a Major University in Southwest China

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image of Frontiers of Education in China

This study examines the academic performance and “engagement” of ethnic minority students at a leading university in southwest China. Results indicate that ethnic minority students have significantly lower grades, lower class ranking, and have failed more courses than majority Han students. Results also show that the level of student–faculty interaction (SFI) for ethnic minority students is significantly lower than for Han students. Study results also indicate that average scores in coursework and student ranking among their cohorts are significantly, but weakly, correlated with SFI. The study concludes that SFI may have little influence on students’ academic achievement itself, but would help students integrate into the college community, enabling a sense of belonging, which is a major factor in supporting academic success among ethnic minority students.

Affiliations: 1: Research Institute of Higher Education, Yunnan University ; 2: College of Education, Washington State University


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