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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The Role of Personal Strengths in Academic Success: Views and Voices of Resilient Community College Students
by LeFalle, Deborah, Ph.D., California Institute of Integral Studies, 2010, 187; 3447084
Abstract (Summary)

The subject of this inquiry is academic success at the community college level in higher education, specifically, the role that students' personal strengths play in contributing thereto. The inquiry investigates how resilient community college students from economically and educationally disadvantaged backgrounds use personal strengths to make their learning most meaningful and excel academically. Of particular interest is how these students leverage their strengths in a positive manner, either deliberately or not, to contribute to their academic success. The participants are/were students at a California community college located in the South Bay of the San Francisco Bay Area. All are/were participants of the college's Extended Opportunity Program and Services, a campus-based student development program that targets students entering college at an economic and educational disadvantage, and provides supportive services to assist them as they work toward achieving their educational goals.

The inquiry falls within the constructivist worldview, as the research relies heavily upon the views and voices of participants in terms of how life experiences have developed enabling qualities to permit their personal strengths to emerge and flourish. The research method is basic qualitative inquiry, which includes the collection, analysis, and interpretation of data from three primary sources: (a) responses to a questionnaire; (b) in-person open-ended individual interviews; and (c) personal written documents (for example, journals, essays, personal statements, and such). The data is represented in narrative summary and table format.

Findings from the inquiry reveal that students' personal strengths are influential in their learning and contribute positively to meaning-making and academic performance. Audiences expected to benefit from the findings include community college students and educators, as well as others who may be interested in factors that contribute to student success in the higher education arena.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Fahim, Urusa
School: California Institute of Integral Studies
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 72/04, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Community college education, Pedagogy, Higher education
Keywords: Academic/student success, Asset model, Historically underserved, Personal strengths, Positivity, Resilience
Publication Number: 3447084
ISBN: 978-1-124-51026-2
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