Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Danette Brown


AbstractOffering 8-week courses in a traditional 16-week semester schedule supports degree completion; however, traditional-age students, who belonged to Generation Z, at a Southwest community college indicated a preference for 16-week courses. The problem investigated in this study was that traditional-age college students experienced barriers to completing accelerated 8-week courses at this institution. The purpose of this basic qualitative study was to explore the in-class and out-of-class barriers these college students experienced that impacted their motivation to persist in accelerated 8-week courses. The conceptual framework was Rendón’s validation theory, which described students’ intentional, proactive affirmation by in- and out-of-class college agents. Three research questions explored traditional-age college students’ experiences at the study site regarding (a) persisting in accelerated 8-week courses and 16-week courses, (b) in-class barriers to persisting in accelerated 8-week courses, and (c) out-of-class barriers to persisting in accelerated 8-week courses. Semistructured interviews were conducted with eight study participants aged 18–24 years. Data were analyzed manually using open coding, and thematic analysis was conducted using NVivo qualitative analysis software. Findings indicated that (a) lack of allocated time and learning, (b) lack of faculty–student engagement, (c) lack of peer–peer engagement, and (d) lack of student support and readiness were barriers to persistence. The findings from this study may promote positive social change through use of the insights gained to enrich the collaboration between college administrators, faculty, and course schedulers to assess the effectiveness of course schedules that support student progress toward graduation.

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