Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Mari V. Tinney


The problem addressed in this project is the high attrition rate among English as Second Language (ESL) students in a local community college associate degree nursing program. If the retention problem is addressed, the increase in the number of ESL nursing student graduates could result in a more diverse nursing workforce, reflecting the diversity of the community. The purpose of this study was to examine student and faculty views regarding factors that contribute to the academic success and retention of ESL students. To that end, a qualitative case study approach was used, guided by the theoretical frameworks of Cummins's contextual interaction theory and Freire's and Mezirow's transformational learning theory. By using purposeful sampling, 8 ESL students and 5 faculty members were interviewed in both structured and unstructured interviews. The data were decoded using Nvivo computer software to establish themes and categories for analysis. The themes pointed to faculty lacking: (a) cultural awareness and sensitivity, (b) knowledge of the academic needs of ESL students, (c) knowledge of teaching strategies to accommodate the learning of ESL students, and (d) skills to prepare ESL students for what to expect. The findings led to creating a professional development workshop for faculty and led to recommending that the director and dean of the nursing program make it mandatory for faculty to continue their education on skills to improve academic success of ESL students. The findings suggest administrators should make cultural awareness competency compulsory. These efforts and faculty training may result in broader positive social change for ESL students and faculty, administrators, and the community, improving the number of graduating nurses to serve a diverse patient population.