Date of Award

8-2011

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Executive Leadership

First Supervisor

Ronald D. Valenti

Second Supervisor

W. Jeff Wallis

Abstract

Abstract This phenomenological, qualitative study focused on the interrelation between goal commitment and the social, institutional, and cognitive factors that lead to Hispanic females’ graduation from an associate degree program. The participants had graduated from a New York City area, urban, independent institution that grants associate degrees and enrolls a large number of first-generation Hispanic students. Questionnaires and interviews were the instruments used to obtain data. Questionnaires were used to collect demographic data and select interview participants. Interviews were the primary conduit to capture the women’s perceptions of what factors lead to their success. Several questions were used to explore the impact of goal commitment and other persistence factors. These questions included: (a) What factor(s) did the graduates perceive as most important to their success?, (b) To what degree of importance did the graduates perceive the impact of goal commitment on their graduation from an associate degree program?, and (c) To what extent did factors such as academic integration, social integration, institutional commitment, and financial aid, impact the graduates’ goal commitment to complete their two-year degree? At the conclusion of the study, the researcher presented findings and made recommendations that were intended to increase institutional knowledge about the needs and success factors of Hispanic females pursuing associate degrees. The findings should prove useful in increasing the academic success rate of Hispanic females. However, more research is necessary if institutions of higher education in this country want to eradicate the inequities that exist in an educational system that underserves certain segments of our society.

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