Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The Ritual Lens: Student Success in Community Colleges
by Luddy, Jennifer, D.Mgt., University of Maryland University College, 2017, 185; 10633816
Abstract (Summary)

A college degree is vital to the economic and social well-being of the entire nation and its citizens. Yet, community colleges—which serve half of all students in higher education—have low graduation rates. Lack of academic preparation, competing personal and work demands, and economic stress make earning a degree difficult for many. As part of a national agenda, community college leaders are searching for new ways to help students succeed. Student success theories have historically provided practitioners with frameworks to understand how students navigate the educational environment. This dissertation analyzed a selection of student success theories and ritual theories to contribute to new ways of thinking about student success through ritual theory and practice. Using Critical Interpretive Synthesis, two common themes emerged: Emplacement and Passage. The concept of Emplacement reflects community college students’ need for academic and social challenge while anchored in their communities of origin. The concept of Passage reflects students’ need for structured guidance, including the formulation of goals and the celebration of milestones. The dissertation’s product includes a number of recommendations for practitioners in the creation of well-constructed and impactful rituals. Rituals are more likely to be successful if they involve some physical movement, build on existing traditions and calendars, utilize local geography and culture, and serve both practical as well as symbolic functions. Rituals that build community, such as festivals, are particularly important for community college students.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Bers, Trudy, Glickman, Gena
Commitee: Keir, Pat
School: University of Maryland University College
Department: Management
School Location: United States -- Maryland
Source: DAI-A 79/02(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Community college education, Higher education, Education philosophy
Keywords: Community college, Higher education, Persistence, Ritual studies, Ritual theory, Student success
Publication Number: 10633816
ISBN: 9780355414981
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