Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Community college performing arts students perceptions of persistence: A phenomenological study
by Realista, Katy, Ed.D., California State University, Fullerton, 2013, 118; 3575410
Abstract (Summary)

An issue faced by community colleges is the time to completion for student success as defined by obtaining a degree, certificate or transfer to a four-year institution. Issues not addressed in the research are the effects on persistence of the time needed to acquire the performing arts skills, the probable occurrence of student over engagement, and the student's definition of success and their perception of a delayed time to degree. There exists a population of community college performing arts students who continue to persist into their fourth year and beyond after accumulating the units needed to complete an associate arts degree or certificate.

Using a phenomenological approach, this qualitative study explored the perceptions and experiences of community college performing arts students on their reasons for continued persistence in community college. Semi-structured interviews were used to elucidate themes and to discern the motives of why these students continue to persist. It was discovered that the participants created their own individual definitions of student success and designed personalized academic pathways to obtain that success. It appeared that the acquisition of skills, the building of resumes, and networking were major reasons for the student's continued persistence. And, although the completion of a degree was asserted as important, it was not critical in a majority of their definitions of success. In addition, participants admitted to spending a great deal of time in pursuit of the arts.

Recommendations were made to implement counselors with specialized training in the needs of performing arts students to mitigate unnecessary persistence, to realign curriculum and programs within the arts as needed (a) to address repeatability issues and to (b) build relationships with local professional arts organizations, and to strengthen the profile of the performing arts as an accepted academic discipline to better align the arts with college missions. Further research is needed in the performing arts as well as in the community colleges to continue to build the body of literature in these areas. A final recommendation was for the policy makers to strengthen institutions by broadening their definition of student success to include the voices of the students.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Nixon, John
Commitee: Person, Dawn, Taylor, Patric
School: California State University, Fullerton
Department: Educational Leadership
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 75/02(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Community college education, Performing Arts, Higher education
Keywords: Perceptions, Performing arts, Persistence, Phenomenological study
Publication Number: 3575410
ISBN: 9781303533525
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