Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Understanding the Value and Motivation of an Undergraduate Degree: An Analysis From Business Degree Alumni
by Bozeman, Pamela Lydia, Ed.D., Northern Arizona University, 2019, 217; 13880328
Abstract (Summary)

As universities nationwide seek ways to increase enrollment and retention, the emphasis of the value of higher education has emerged as an important aspect in achieving these goals. The focus of this research was to examine the concepts of value in relation to undergraduate business education to ultimately increase ways universities can optimize ideologies to raise enrollment and retention rates.

Alumni from a mid-size business college in the Southwest region of the United States (referred to using the pseudonym Cactus University) took an anonymous survey to obtain their perception of value, motivation, and commitment based on time since graduation, as they pertained to their undergraduate college experience. Two surveys were conducted for this study; a Pilot Survey and a Final Revised Survey. First, to test the internal consistency of the research instrument, a Pilot Survey was sent to 50 business college alumni who were randomly selected using the Random tool in Excel from a list of 15,062 names. For the Pilot Survey, 50 names were randomly selected using the Random tool in Excel. After the survey closed, the research instrument was check for internal consistency, using Cronbach Alpha, a professional a panel, and SPSS. The first 50 participants were pulled from the selection pool so as not to taint the Final Revised Survey, which left a population total of 15,012. Next, the Final Revised Survey was sent out to 945 business college alumni, again, who were randomly selected using the Random tool in Excel from a list of 15,012 names. The survey tool Qualtrics was used for both surveys because it is the statistical tool of choice for the university. Once the data was downloaded from Qualtrics, the surveys were disaggregated into four groups: a.) 0 ≥ 3 years post-graduation (recent graduates); b.) >3 ≤ 6 years post-graduation (advanced graduates); and c.) >6 ≤ 9 years post-graduation (experienced graduates), d.) > 9 years (senior graduates) for categorical analysis and 0 ≥ 9 years for continuous analysis using a Likert style numeric scoring system. After the close of the Final Revised Survey, data was downloaded into Excel, coded, run in SSPS-Version 25, and analyzed using Independent Sample T-Tests, Simple Linear Regressions, and Pearson’s r Correlations tests. The Pearson’s r Correlation tests were the only tests that showed significant findings. Because of those findings and the collaboration of the mathematical averages analysis run on the data, the Null Hypothesis was rejected with the understanding that those findings were based solely on the data collected and not the overall population.

Based on the data received, results from this study may better equip universities to have a more comprehensive understanding of how current and potential college students determine the value of higher educational degrees. Recommendations were provided for review by interested parties. The research for this study rested solely on the opinions of undergraduate business alumni. The next step in this project will be to change the sample population from undergraduate business alumni to graduate business alumni. The thought is that graduate business alumni usually have high-level job promotions or career advancements riding on their obtaining an MBA degree with various emphases such as economics, accounting, finance, or management. Therefore, their perception of their graduate experience would be different than undergraduate alumni. Also, for the most part, graduate alumni have been in the workforce for a longer time than undergraduate alumni and would likely bring a unique perspective to the study. Keywords: value, time, motivation, perception, and commitment theory

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Eadens, Daniel W.
Commitee: Delecki, Walter J., Szal, Richard, Wiggall, Richard L.
School: Northern Arizona University
Department: Educational Leadership
School Location: United States -- Arizona
Source: DAI-A 80/11(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Educational leadership
Keywords: Commitment, Motivation, Value
Publication Number: 13880328
ISBN: 978-1-392-27548-1
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