The purpose of this study was to explore the subjective perceptions held by students of their interactions with faculty members in college, especially as those interactions relate to the integration and membership of students in the academic community. Academic integration, resulting primarily from student-faculty interactions, has been theorized as one element that affects students’ decisions to stay in or leave college (Tinto, 1993). This study, employing a phenomenological research design, collected data through 13 interviews with junior and senior college students attending a small, private college in northwestern Pennsylvania. Interviewees were selected from three majors (English, Psychology, and Hospitality Management). Analysis of the data followed the hermeneutical phenomenological approach described by Max Van Manen (1997). Data were analyzed by adopting three phenomenological writing “lenses”: the existential lens, the thematic lens, and the theoretical lens. Two themes emerged from this: Care and Boundaries. These themes are discussed in terms of Tinto’s (1993) integrationalist theory of student departure. The theme of care (the recognition by students that faculty are attending to their personal and academic situations) was found to be present in Tinto’s theory while the theme of boundaries (recognitions of the differences between students and faculty) is not. It is suggested that the theme of boundaries represents a separate value system held by students of their faculty. Implications of the study and future research are presented.
|Advisor:||Latta, Gail F.|
|Commitee:||Barker, David B., Ripley, Brian|
|Department:||Organizational Learning and Leadership|
|School Location:||United States -- Pennsylvania|
|Source:||DAI-A 74/12(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Educational sociology, Organizational behavior, Higher education|
|Keywords:||Academic community, College student persistence, Higher education, Phenomenology, Retention, Student-faculty interaction|
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