Concerns with Men's Academic Motivation in Higher Education: An Exploratory Investigation of the Role of Masculinity

By Kahn, Jack S.; Brett, Benjamin L. et al. | The Journal of Men's Studies, Winter 2011 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Concerns with Men's Academic Motivation in Higher Education: An Exploratory Investigation of the Role of Masculinity


Kahn, Jack S., Brett, Benjamin L., Holmes, Jessica R., The Journal of Men's Studies


The gender gap in higher education is not a new phenomenon. Since the 1970s, researchers have been exploring the subtle and not so subtle ways in which sex and gender play a role in multiple aspects of higher education, including students' (a) completed applications, (b) actual enrollment, (c) overall success and (d) completion of a college degree (Adebayo, 2008; Duffy & Sedlacek, 2007; Ehrmann, & Massey, 2007; Harris

III & Harper, 2008; Hughes, Karp, Fermin, & Bailey, 2005; Sax, 2008). What has changed is the focus of that gap. In the past, researchers primarily focused on the ways in which women were not achieving equal access to higher education. A recent focus in the last twenty years has been on understanding the disproportionately lower representation and motivation of men. Typically, this research has examined this issue by dividing sex into two binary categories (men and women) although research is beginning to examine how gender constructs can play a role regardless of one's socially ascribed sex (Smiler, 2006).

Men appear to be struggling with various difficulties in higher education. These difficulties include: eligible men applying disproportionately less often (Baum & Goldstein, 2005; Harris III & Harper, 2008; Pollack, 1998), enrolling disproportionately less (Adebayo, 2008; Baum & Goldstein, 2005; Chronicle of Higher Education, 1995; Harris III & Harper; Marcus, 2000), underperforming in many academic areas (Dayioglu &Turut-Asik, 2007; Ehrmann, & Massey, 2007; Evelyn, 2002; Harris III & Harper; Manzo, 2004; McNabb, Pal, & Sloane, 2002; Sheard, 2009; Wei-Cheng & Lynn, 2001; West, 1999), significantly higher risk to be on academic probation (Evelyn; Tyre, Murr, Juarez, Underwood, & Wingert, 2006), higher probability to be dismissed from college for academic reasons (Evelyn, 2002; Tyre et al., 2006), and a significantly lower lack of persistence to graduation (Adebayo, 2008; Arenson, 2004; Davis, 2007; Harris III & Harper; Leppel, 2002). Several of these issues are more problematic for students of color who are even more underrepresented in access to education and overrepresented in problem areas (Ehrmann, & Massey; Harris III & Harper; Sibulin & Butler, 2005; Smyth & Mcardle, 2004).

As researchers have accumulated data on these issues, it has become difficult to ignore concerns men are struggling with throughout higher education. A fundamental factor cited in the research is the motivation of the student (Cokley, Bernard, Cunningham, & Motoike, 2001; Ehrmann, & Massey, 2007; Locker, 2002; Murtonen, Olkinuora, & Tynjala, 2008; Sheard, 2009). Recent research on motivation reveals women who enter college are found to often have elevated levels of motivation in terms of academic achievement in comparison to their male counterparts (Clifton, Perry, Roberts, & Peter, 2008; Duffy & Sedlacek, 2007; Harris III & Harper, 2008; Sax, 2008; Sheard, 2009). Women students spend significantly more time studying, completing work, discussing academics outside of the classroom, attending class, and engaging in extracurricular activities (Dayioglu &Turut-Asik, 2007; Harris III & Harper; Jenkins, 2009; Mau & Lynn, 2001; Sax). This "less academically engaged behavior" by men may contribute to their less competitive GPA, and greater challenges with reading, formal writing, and communication skills throughout their education (Garden, 2006; Harris III & Harper; Pollack, 1998; Sax; Whitt, Pascarella, Elkins Nesheim, Marth, & Pierson, 2003).

These findings have led some researchers to assume that men have shared and specific needs based on "being men" that perhaps are not met in college classrooms. These needs reflect stereotypic assumptions about men's nature such as the need for movement, activity, and competitiveness.

Pre-college programs have been created to address this concern.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Concerns with Men's Academic Motivation in Higher Education: An Exploratory Investigation of the Role of Masculinity
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?