Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Foundations of college success: A qualitative study of students' perceived values of a first-year seminar
by Demirian, Steven, Ph.D., University of Rochester, 2010, 132; 3410616
Abstract (Summary)

The first-year seminar is designed to help new students maximize their potential to achieve academic success and to adjust responsibly to the individual and interpersonal challenges presented by college life. Past research suggests that there is a positive correlation between seminar participation and various student outcomes. While a myriad of studies have reported on these positive correlations, most have only begun to scratch the surface. Most studies are overwhelmingly quantitative, evaluate the effects of the course in the short-term, and provide speculative reasons for the positive results. To date, little research exists on first-year seminars that go beyond the numbers; that delve deeper and take a qualitative methodological approach toward understanding the long-term value of the course particularly from the students' point of view. Guided by grounded theory method, this study fills this apparent gap in first-year seminar research. It explores in one localized setting how students retrospectively define, interpret, and perceive the long-term value of the course vis-à-vis their overall college experiences. Focus group and follow-up individual interviews were conducted with 12 traditional-aged college seniors who participated in and completed a seminar in fall 2005 at one comprehensive public research university in the northeast. Results indicate that participants value the comfortability the seminar provided while helping them negotiate the academic and social complexities of campus life. Results also challenge notions of involvement by outlining conditions under which aspects of social integration become counter-productive.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Guiffrida, Douglas
School: University of Rochester
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-A 71/06, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Curriculum development, Higher education
Keywords: College experience, College students, First-year seminar
Publication Number: 3410616
ISBN: 978-1-124-02839-2
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