Tomasz Zając is currently a Visiting Scholar at the Center for Studies in Higher Education, UC Berkeley. He is also an Assistant Professor at the Institute of Sociology, as well as a Researcher at the Quality Evaluation Unit (PEJK), University of Warsaw (UW), Poland. Moreover, he is a research team member in the Polish National Graduate Career Tracking Program run by the National Information Processing Institute (OPI) for the Ministry of Science and Higher Education in Poland.
Tomasz Zając holds a Ph.D. in Sociology. His research is focused on student experience, educational paths, and early careers of students and graduates. He took part in a series of research projects including surveys among various groups comprising the UW’s community: applicants, students, doctoral students, members of the faculty, and graduates. Most recently, he took part in a major research projects aiming at developing and implementing a methodology of graduate tracking research based on administrative data of the Social Insurance Institution in Poland.
During his stay at CSHE he is examining the relation between students’ experience and their educational decisions. The study is based on the data coming from The Student Experience in the Research University (SERU) survey.
The aim of the research is to investigate the relationship between undergraduate students’ experience and their further academic trajectories, focusing particularly on such issues as: student persistence, timely graduation and the enrollment into postgraduate programs. He would like to use Student Experience in the Research University (SERU)/ University of California Undergraduate Experience Survey (UCUES) survey data linked with the administrative records exported from of the UC Corporate Student System. The study defines the population as all freshman students enrolled in fall 2009 and 2011. For each group, the results of the survey taken at the end of the first academic year will be used i.e. data from 2010 and 2012 surveys, respectively.
The research plan is as follows:
- Evaluating dropout/graduation/postgraduate programs enrollment patterns at various UC campuses based on administrative data, including investigation of the relationship between various indicators of academic success.
- Evaluating if dropout, timely graduation, and the enrollment into postgraduate programs are correlated with participation in the survey (participation in the survey would be treated as an indicator of student engagement).
- Identifying the aspects of student experience that correlate with dropout, timely graduation, and the enrollment into postgraduate programs.