An increasing number of women are returning to school as nontraditional students to complete their bachelor’s degrees. These women may have specific needs related to life transitions and re-entry into postsecondary education that traditional students do not. The purpose of this study was to gain insight into the experiences of women who are nontraditional students, including their everyday supports and challenges. The guiding research question for this study was: Upon identifying the challenges for women at a branch campus, what changes can the university make to better serve the women? Study participants included 12 students currently enrolled in a bachelor’s program in social work. Participants also included four university social work faculty and five campus administrators from the study site. A participatory action research methodology was used to collect data from multiple stakeholders. Interviews with social work faculty and university center and branch campus administrators were conducted. Data were coded using open and axial coding. NVivo 11 was employed to help facilitate the coding of the data for the study in order to assure accuracy in identifying common themes. The two main themes to emerge from this study were Experiences and Challenges. Participants’ experiences included personal and academic. Personal challenges that the women described included abuse, childcare, and health. The two forms of abuse described were substance abuse and domestic abuse, and the health subthemes included personal and family issues. Women’s academic challenges included finances, academic writing, and class schedules. Study results may be used to raise stakeholders’ awareness of students’ needs, explore and change university processes, and develop workshops to assist nontraditional female students with career development and financial literacy.
|Commitee:||Lam, Brian, Sneed, Katti|
|Department:||Public Service Leadership|
|School Location:||United States -- Minnesota|
|Source:||DAI-A 77/11(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Social work, Womens studies, Higher education|
|Keywords:||Branch campus/university center, Life course interviews, Life course theory, Nontraditional students, Possible selves theory, Women's academic pathways|
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