Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Analysis of social and academic integration in a public university's first year experience seminar
by Krahenbuhl, Kevin, Ed.D., Northern Arizona University, 2012, 116; 3548528
Abstract (Summary)

This dissertation presents an analysis of the effectiveness of a Research I University's College of Education FYE seminar program's influence on the key factors of social and academic integration of freshmen students in the program. This project provides significant analysis of one of the most recent trends in First-Year Experience programs - the shift toward more college-centered administration of such programs. FYE programs have been a cornerstone of academic research in higher education over the past few decades as emphasis has been placed on increased retention and success. Vincent Tinto's Longitudinal Model of Institutional Departure serves as a basis of this study as it provides the framework of social and academic integration being integral to increasing the likelihood of retention from year-to-year.

The study is a mixed method approach integrating qualitative analysis of student reflections and interaction from their seminar in conjunction with quantitative analysis of a Likert survey on integration and the performances of students enrolled in these courses compared to the non-college-based (generic university-wide) FYE seminars. The research was conducted at a major southwestern research university including interactions with students enrolled in multiple sections of the FYE course, a series of surveys issued to a subset of the population, a focus group interview, and a series of open-ended student response questions providing qualitative analysis of the program. Grades and retention rates were tracked for the sample collected from the college-based FYE seminar and the university population at large to further identify if housing the program in the College of Education brought positive results in terms of course goals.

This study suggests that FYE programs such as the one housed at this southwestern research university may indeed promote increased social and academic integration. It further found a higher grade-point average and retention rate for students enrolled in the college-specific seminar rather than general university-wide FYE seminars. The study is enriched with insight from students on positive and negative elements of their experiences. This dissertation is a useful resource for anyone involved in the establishment or evolution of a first year experience program and includes recommendations based on the evidence gathered from the study.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Wood, Gerald
Commitee: Dereshiwsky, Mary, Oliver, Jill, Wiggall, Richard
School: Northern Arizona University
Department: Educational Leadership
School Location: United States -- Arizona
Source: DAI-A 74/05(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Educational evaluation, Education Policy, Higher education
Keywords: Academic integration, Cohort, FYE, First-year experience, Retention, Seminars, Social integration, Student success
Publication Number: 3548528
ISBN: 9781267840363
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