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ERIC Number: ED567734
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2016
Pages: 122
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-3395-1424-6
Faculty's Role in the Retention of Nontraditional Undergraduate Students
Dutcher, Gail Lynam
ProQuest LLC, Ed.D. Dissertation, Fielding Graduate University
Nontraditional students are students who are at least 25 years old and attend school on a part-time basis. They also have one or more of the following characteristics: delayed enrollment in higher education, full-time work, financially independent, have dependents, are single parents, and do not have a high school diploma (Choy, 2002). Retention of this student population is a challenge for higher educational institutions (Tinto, 2006). My research questions were: (1) What activities are faculty engaged in with nontraditional undergraduate students that increase retention; and (2) How can the institution support that work so that retention needs are met and how might these practices be duplicated at other higher educational institutions? I used a version of Appreciative Inquiry (AI) to discover what was being done well in higher educational institutions regarding the retention of nontraditional undergraduate students. I interviewed 13 faculty members and six students from a total of 12 institutions. The institutions were a mixture of private and public institutions representing nonprofit and for- profit institutions. Analysis of the interview transcripts resulted in the creation of themes as factors in the retention of nontraditional undergraduate students. For faculty, those themes were: making the most of classroom time, relevant discussions and relevant course work, building relationships and community, support and encouragement of students, thinking critically about retention, and key satisfactions in the faculty role. For students, the themes were: coursework and classroom experience, faculty support and encouragement, academic program and experience, and self-motivation. In the 4-D model of AI, the four phases are discover, dream, design, and deliver (Cockell & McArthur-Blair, 2012). The dream phase provides a framework for exploring what higher educational institutions might do to promote greater retention. Based on my findings, higher educational institutions might want to initiate or further develop faculty training opportunities in the areas of curriculum development and teaching nontraditional undergraduate students. Higher educational institutions should ensure that faculty play a critical role in the efforts to retain nontraditional undergraduate 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:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A