Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Doctoral Student Persistence in Non-Traditional Cohort Programs: Examining Educationally-Related Peer Relationships, Students' Understanding of Faculty Expectations, and Student Characteristics
by Fitzpatrick, Julie A., Ed.D., The George Washington University, 2013, 300; 3594664
Abstract (Summary)

The purpose of this study is to examine the influence of educationally-related peer relationships, students’ understanding of faculty expectations, and student characteristics on the persistence of doctoral students in non-traditional, residential, cohort programs in educational leadership. Drawing on the concepts of academic and social integration (Tinto, 1975, 1993) and role ambiguity (Rizzo, House, & Lirtzman, 1970), this correlational, cross-sectional study used a quantitative survey instrument to examine students’ perceptions of their doctoral program experiences.

Scales were drawn from four existing instruments to measure students’ relationships with peers and students’ understanding of faculty expectations. In addition, demographic questions that are typical to persistence studies were included to measure student characteristics. Participants chose to respond to the survey either online or via postal mail. A total of 243 participants responded to the survey, yielding a 54.73% response rate.

Hierarchical logistic regression was used to answer each of the research questions. Gender, educationally-related peer relationships, and students’ understanding of faculty expectations increased the odds of persistence of doctoral students in educational leadership cohort programs. The influence of race, marital or domestic partner status, and the number of dependents varied based on the program of study that was examined. Age and employment did not influence the persistence of doctoral students. Peer relationships were recognized for being more assistive in achieving persistence than was previously understood. Therefore, the results of this study may help to refine theory on doctoral student persistence as it pertains to peer relationships. Students with a clear understanding of faculty expectations were more likely to persist than students who were uncertain about faculty expectations. This outcome was expected given the critical role that faculty play in clarifying students’ responsibilities and helping them navigate their graduate programs. Several recommendations were offered to administrators to assist them in developing environments that foster collaborative relationships among students and accessible relationships between students and faculty.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Heddesheimer, Janet C.
Commitee: Golde, Chris M., Graham, Carolyn W.
School: The George Washington University
Department: Educational Leadership and Administration
School Location: United States -- District of Columbia
Source: DAI-A 75/01(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Higher Education Administration, Higher education
Keywords: Cohort, Doctorate, Faculty, Nontraditional students, Peers, Persistence
Publication Number: 3594664
ISBN: 978-1-303-39342-6
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