NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
ERIC Number: ED554139
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 183
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-3031-3063-2
Starting the Race Right: A Case Study of a First-Year Program Aimed at Increasing Persistence among Urban College Students
Clinton, Brian Murphy
ProQuest LLC, Ed.D. Dissertation, Northeastern University
Since the early part of the 1990s, the City of Boston has made substantial progress in increasing the number of graduates from its school system who go on to college. However, while the Boston Public School system's postsecondary enrollment rate exceeds national averages, the system faces a serious issue in that the vast majority of its college-bound graduates do not end up earning a college degree. Low college student retention rates plague graduates of the BPS system, a problem that is significant for many reasons given the importance of a college degree in Boston's metropolitan job market. In response to the disclosures of the college retention rates for BPS graduates, Northeastern University launched Foundation Year, a first-year college program aimed at increasing the level of preparedness of students and, subsequently, their likelihood of completing a college degree. This case study provides an in-depth analysis of the Foundation Year program and, in doing so, illustrates the ways in which one institution is seeking to address low college retention rates amongst urban students. A qualitative research approach was employed to gain insights into the program through the views of individuals associated with the program as well as through the review of archival program documents. The results of the case study provide a comprehensive view of the first-year program and show how, despite sharing many characteristics with first-year programs at other colleges and universities, Foundation Year is unique in its attempt to increase system-wide persistence rates rather than institutional retention rates. The program's "transition out" pathways model is a distinctive component of Foundation Year that runs counter to the constructs of the dominant theory in the college student retention literature which calls for increased integration between students and institutions of higher education. Additionally, the findings of the study highlight the fact that faculty and the student-centered pedagogical approaches they employed in the classroom were identified as key factors to helping students earn a college degree. Ultimately, the researcher leverages the findings of the research to challenge the conventional viewpoints of student retention models by arguing that more focus be placed on solving system-wide student persistence (as compared to institutional retention) and that more attention be paid to the role that faculty and teaching practices play in solving the college persistence issue for marginalized urban students. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Massachusetts