The purpose of this study was to examine change at a community college and to develop and implement a pilot program of career-aligned New Student Orientations (NSOs). Attention was placed on the early engagement of students as they first met faculty, other students, selected classes and began to shape their future at the institution. The purpose was also to observe the extent to which my leadership created change in shaping new students’ early engagement with the institution.
Following a review of the literature, the researcher gained insight into institutional culture and change processes, as well as the ways in which students are engaged during early encounters with the institution. Using a participatory action-research methodology, this study employed mixed-method data collection, applying both qualitative and quantitative methods.
Action research cycles included two new-student surveys, which provided insight into student engagement early in the college experience. Faculty and student interviews, as well as coded observations, supported survey data and revealed that students who participated in career-cluster New Student Orientations (NSOs) received career information and were connected with a representative from their career area and the institution to a greater degree than students who participated in general NSOs. Career-cluster NSO participants also demonstrated a greater degree of within-year persistence than general participants. An understanding of barriers experienced by incoming students was also gained.
Cycles afforded an opportunity for the researcher to reflect on her role, how she interacted with others, and observed Enrollment, Academic, and Student Services team transform around the New Student Orientations. The researcher became interested in the opportunities and challenges that presented themselves through the process of leading change as a peer and as a colleague. The interplay and connections between organizational culture and change were recognized using Kotter’s (1996) eight phases to lead change. Throughout the cycles, trusting relationships were developed by offering opportunities to take leadership, try new ideas, utilize new space, stabilize enrollment, and develop an inclusive team to carry change forward.
|Commitee:||Ender, Kenneth, Walpole, MaryBeth|
|School Location:||United States -- New Jersey|
|Source:||DAI-A 70/06, Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Community college education, Womens studies, School counseling|
|Keywords:||Change, Community college, Engagement, Front door of institution, Leadership, New student orientation, Persistence|
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