Date of Conferral







James Keen


Persistence of first-year, full-time students toward graduation at U.S. community colleges poses concerns for administrators, faculty, and policymakers. The purpose of this study was to explore the perceptions of faculty members teaching a college success seminar at an urban multicampus community college on what impedes or supports the persistence of these students through the first year. Tinto’s student departure and Astin’s student involvement theories served as the framework. Using a basic qualitative approach, interviews with 10 faculty members at a multicampus community college were analyzed using Creswell’s 6-step data analysis strategy. Findings suggested that sense of belonging, early connection to a reliable advisor, motivation to persist, mentorship, faculty support, and academic structure supported the persistence of first-year, full-time students. Impeding students’ persistence were problems with support systems, students’ lack of involvement, inadequate resources and services, finances, family- and employment-related situations, mandatory first-year student orientation, college/campus environment, weak student–faculty relationships, and minimal presence of mentors. Furthermore, findings indicated that increasing support systems, maintaining students’ involvement, provision and expansion of available resources and services, strengthening student– faculty relationship, advising students on employment-related matters, and the use of former students and infographics in class improved these students’ persistence. Application of the findings may support positive social change by engendering a change in students’ attitudes, motivating them to be more engaging in their education and enabling them to reap the benefits of their investments in education