Date of Award


Degree Name

EdD Doctor of Education

Dissertation Committee

Douglas B. Fisher PhD; Barbara Moss PhD; Athena I. Perrakis PhD


adult support, collaborative learning environments, college retention, higher education, high school graduates, instructors, mixed methods study, qualitative, quantitative, student success


Too many high school graduates are failing to complete higher education programs necessary to achieve the American dream. At a time when more Americans need a degree, it's becoming more difficult to get one––particularly for low-income and minority students. Are students ill prepared to meet the challenges of college level studies due to inadequate secondary school educational program, or do colleges need to reassess their teaching programs to meet the needs of this incoming generation of students? This study was carried out in three phases in a mixed methods research design using a series of student and instructor surveys and personal interviews. Qualitative ~d quantitative methods were used to explore student and instructor perceptions of factors leading to success or failure in completion of college level degrees. Descriptive statistical and quantitative analysis of surveys completed by 27 instructors and 75 students were used in this study. Additionally, qualitative methods were used to analyze data gathered during 5 student interviews. The results of the study suggest that many students need adult support and interactive collaborative learning environments to successfully complete a college degree.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access