Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Higher Education

First Advisor's Name

Glenda Droogsma Musoba

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Prathiba Natesan

Third Advisor's Name

Janice Sandiford

Fourth Advisor's Name

Leonard Bliss

Date of Defense

3-31-2009

Abstract

The high concentration of underprepared students in community colleges presents a challenge to educators, policy-makers, and researchers. All have pointed to low completion rates and caution that institutional practices and policy ought to focus on improving retention and graduation rates. However, a multitude of inhibiting factors limits the educational opportunities of underprepared community college students.

Using Tinto's (1993) and Astin's (1999) models of student departure as the primary theoretical framework, as well as faculty mentoring as a strategy to impact student performance and retention, the purpose of this study was to determine whether a mentoring program designed to promote greater student-faculty interactions with underprepared community college students is predictive of higher retention for such students. While many studies have documented the positive effects of faculty mentoring with 4-year university students, very few have examined faculty mentoring with underprepared community college students (Campbell and Campbell, 1997; Nora & Crisp, 2007).

In this study, the content of student-faculty interactions captured during the mentoring experience was operationalized into eight domains. Faculty members used a log to record their interactions with students. During interactions they tried to help students develop study skills, set goals, and manage their time. They also provided counseling, gave encouragement, nurtured confidence, secured financial aid/grants/scholarships, and helped students navigate their first semester at college.

Logistic regression results showed that both frequency and content of faculty interactions were important predictors of retention. Students with high levels of faculty interactions in the area of educational planning and personal/family concerns were more likely to persist. Those with high levels of interactions in time-management and academic concerns were less likely to persist. Interactions that focused on students' poor grades, unpreparedness for class, or excessive absences were predictive of dropping out. Those that focused on developing a program of study, creating a road map to completion, or students' self-perceptions, feelings of self-efficacy, and personal control were predictive of persistence.

Identifier

FI14051141

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