Date of Award

12-2016

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Executive Leadership

First Supervisor

Marie Cianca

Abstract

The purpose of this quantitative study was to explore supportive faculty strategies as described by students and faculty of developmental mathematics courses at two community colleges in Upstate New York. Using validation theory, the study focused on compiling information from students and faculty regarding the importance of supportive factors inside and outside of the developmental mathematics classrooms. Data were collected from surveys administered in the spring 2016 semester, and analyses of these data led to several findings: (a) students significantly rated faculty lower than faculty self-reported on caring instruction; (b) there was a weak, positive correlation that showed the longer an instructor had been teaching and the greater the course load assigned; the higher the ratings for caring instruction and appreciation for diversity; (c) the four subconstructs as a whole significantly predicted student sense of belonging, persistence, and competence; (d) students and faculty agree there must be improved supports to help students perform better on math placement testing; (e) faculty is not a main source of information for middle-skill opportunities; and (f) students are generally unaware of STEM opportunities. There were two recommendations for future research: to conduct a quantitative study which allows for the collection and analysis of paired student and faculty data, and to conduct a qualitative study aimed at examining each subconstruct from the individual perspective of student and of faculty. The recommendations for higher education were to (a) provide professional development for faculty and staff aimed at understanding how to create a supportive environment for students, (b) provide review sessions prior to math placement testing, and (c) establish informational workshops designed to facilitate student and faculty collaboration while providing education on STEM and middle-skill opportunities.

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