Marketing Professor focuses on distance education technology and underrepresented students

Dr. Manuel Pontes, Professor in the Department of Marketing

Manuel Pontes headshot

Tell us about the DEI research that you are doing:

I currently engage in several streams of research that are related to diversity, equity and inclusion. My primary research interests are distance education in higher education and the relationship between health insurance, and family income on health care consumption. Specifically, my research paper, “Distance Education Enrollment is Associated with Greater Academic Progress Among First Generation Low-Income Undergraduate Students in the US in 2008” was published in 2012 and has been cited 20 times to date.

What made you want to undertake this work?

I am very interested in the use of technology for education. As well as interested in reducing the disparity of college graduation rates by income and race/ethnicity for students.

Why would our students at Rowan University be interested in this work?

I use distance education technology and the principles of universal design to reduce barriers to course completion. Consider for example a student who is sick (say with COVID) and missed work and school for 10 days.  When they are finally well, they have a dilemma – work extra hours to make up for financial shortfall or work extra on school work to catch up on missed assignments. Students from affluent families can ask parents for financial assistance, whereas students from poor families (disproportionately underrepresented minorities) are faced with hardships, which may result in poorer grades for them. I use distance education tests to create greater time flexibility for students so it is easier for them to catch up! This had greatly improved grades for students with health issues, including mental health.

Is there anything else you’d like to tell us about your work?

I am glad that my research directly influences my teaching, this is an important goal. Specifically,
I am very glad that I can improve learning outcomes for minoritized and low-income students. I would also welcome students (particularly underrepresented minority students) who wish to work on research on measures to improve student retention. I currently am working on projects which use longitudinal data from the US Department of Education to achieve these goals.