Date of Award

8-2014

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Executive Leadership

First Supervisor

Janice Kelly

Second Supervisor

Byron Hargrove

Abstract

The African proverb “It takes a village…” embodies the interdependence of the student experience and the spirit of personal and institutional investment required. Retention and student persistence continue to challenge higher education institutions and specifically community colleges. Using a non-experimental design, this study explored the influence of underrepresented students’ psychosocial behavior on their persistence. The study surveyed a population of 2,993 incoming first-year students. Two hundred seventy-seven students responded to the 62-item survey, and 204 met the underrepresented-student criteria. Three binary logistic regressions were run to understand the relationships of the 10 psychosocial behaviors and the three dichotomous dependent variables of persistence. The 10 psychosocial variables accounted for 14.3% of the variance in persistence among underrepresented community college students. The dichotomous dependent variable of persistence was measured by passing 67% of credits attempted, second semester re-enrollment, and a GPA of 1.50 or greater. The study found: (a) there is no statistically significant relationship among the Freeman-Butler commitment subscales or four of the remaining psychosocial factors (academic selfefficacy, resiliency, campus engagement, and social comfort) with the dichotomous dependent variable of persistence; (b) Student academic engagement was a significant predictor for GPA among the 204 underrepresented community college students; (c) Educational commitment, resiliency, and campus engagement were trending toward statistical significance for passing 67% of credits attempted, and GPA of 1.50 and greater vii respectively; (d) 14.3% of the variability in persistence was explained by the 10 psychosocial skills for underrepresented community college students.

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