NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ1004043
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 14
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 87
ISSN: ISSN-1551-0670
"Like Human Beings": Responsive Relationships and Institutional Flexibility at a Rural Community College
Howley, Caitlin; Chavis, Barbara; Kester, John
Journal of Research in Rural Education, v28 n8 2013
Drawing on data from a program serving displaced workers and adult students, this article explores how students at a small rural-serving community college in North Carolina believe rurality influences their retention. We review the research and descriptive literature on rural community college challenges, advantages, and approaches to supporting non-traditional students. We then describe our research design, including characteristics of the study site and the program for displaced workers and adult students. Analyzing student interviews and staff reflections, we find that only half of interviewed students view the community in which their college is located as rural. For those who do consider the area rural, the loss of economic opportunity defines rurality, rather than constitutive attributes such as access to the natural environment or tightly-knit local relationships. Regardless of their perception of the community as rural or non-rural, all of our interviewees reported that responsive faculty and staff and institutional flexibility contributed to their postsecondary persistence. Rural constraints such as family commitments and lack of entertainment options may also ironically support retention for some students. We conclude with a discussion of implications of our study for policy, practice and research. (Contains 1 table.)
Penn State University College of Education, Center on Rural Education and Communities. 310B Rackley Building, University Park, PA 16802. Tel: 814-863-2031; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education; Two Year Colleges
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: North Carolina