• A Study of How Predominantly White Institutions of Higher Education in Indiana Address Retention and Graduation Rates of African American Students

      Smith, Shawn A.
      This primary purpose of this study was to examine practices of Predominantly White Institutions (PWI) of higher education in Indiana that focus on the retention and graduation of African American students. This study was guided by the following research question, are there effective practices found in the K-12 and HBCU literature that can be identified in PWIs in Indiana that positively affect the retention and graduation of African American students? For this study, a qualitative method was used. A review of the literature on K-12 and HBCUs strategies assisted the researcher in developing interview questions that were used to identify practices in retaining and graduating African American students in PWIs in the Midwest. Ten participants from PWIs participated in the telephone interviews to identify common and /or unique practices as compared to the literature. Based on the interviews the following themes were identified: 1. Supportive Environment – All attempt to provide supportive environments. 2. Remediation - The ability to remediate and support students in need of academic help. 3. Faculty - Caring faculty members who are committed to teaching. 4. The Presence of a Racially Diverse Staff - An environment that does not shout “White”. After careful review of the literature and data from this research, it was clear that hiring a caring, diverse staff may be the major difference between HBCUs and PWIs. It must be noted that differences among PWIs also exist as it relates to the retention and graduation rates of African American students.
    • Factors Affecting Retention in Online Courses

      Berling, Victoria L.
      The purpose of this study was to expand what is known regarding the factors that relate to successful completion of online, undergraduate college courses. It addressed 13 student factors available through archival data at Northern Kentucky University based on 1,493 students enrolled in fully online courses in fall 2008. It included programmatic membership as the fourteenth variable. The study employed both logistic regression analysis and multiple regression analysis. The dependent variable for the logistic regression analysis was dichotomous based on completion of all online courses with a grade of ―D‖ or better (yes or no). The dependent variable for the multiple regression analysis was a continuous variable, percentage of online courses completed. The following variables were found to have a positive relationship to successful completion of online courses: applying for financial assistance, GPA, senior year in college, major in health and human sciences, major in a STEM field, and tuition residency of metro rate. The following variables were found to have a negative relationship to successful completion of online courses: race of Black and freshman year in college. The freshman year in college only showed as a significant variable in the multiple regression analysis.
    • I Don‘T Know Who I Am—Considering Where I Came from: First-Generation Working-Class College Graduates Describe Their Journeys to Baccalaureate Degrees

      Weirick, Janet K.
      This phenomenological study explored recent memories of some of the struggles and joys that first-generation students faced in their college experiences as they successfully completed four-year degrees at a private liberal arts college in the Midwest. These lived experiences included personal and structural issues of individual identity, class identity, first-generation observations, campus experiences, and family relationships. Their stories will inform research and provide insights for professionals working to improve levels of college retention and student growth. First-generation college students are retained and graduate at a lower rate than second-generation college students and are consequently at risk for dropping out or stopping out of college before graduation. Current retention programs for first-generation students have been only somewhat effective in increasing their completion rate. This qualitative exploration of the lives of successful first-generation college graduates gives insights into how these students achieved their goals of a college degree, in spite of the great odds against them. These graduates were expressly aware of those odds as they negotiated systems of complex bureaucracies and formed relationships in various social settings. While meeting and maintaining academic standards, they needed to learn new middle-class languages, system codes, and geography.
    • Relationship between First Year Success Programs and Second-Year Persistence

      Rupley, Elissa
      Much research has been conducted on the success and retention of first-year students. Little research has been done on second-year students and their experiences. This study was completed to understand the experience of second year students.The purpose of this research study was to explore the attitudes, perceptions, and experiences of current second-year students who participated in the Academic Opportunity Program at Indiana State University to determine if the skills gained during the program transfer to the second-year. Focus groups were conducted to collect data. The results revealed that while the Academic Opportunity Program at Indiana State University is a great opportunity for many students there are changes that could benefit many of the students. Results indicated that motivation, both intrinsic and extrinsic types of motivation, is a key factor in student success and retention.