Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Carole Pearce


There is a lack of persistence and completion of students enrolled in a local college culinary arts program, a problem also evident in national data. Some students entering the college program have participated in a defined high school curriculum focused on culinary arts, such as the National Restaurant Association Education Association's ProStart curriculum. The purpose of this study was to determine if participation in the ProStart program was related to the mean grade point average (GPA) and time to completion in the college culinary arts program. Dewey's theory of experience provided the theoretical framework. Participants from 2 cohorts at the local college students who participated in ProStart (n = 17) and those who did not (n = 122) were examined for GPA and number of months to program completion. A t test revealed the students who participated in ProStart had higher average GPAs. There was no statistically significant difference in the time to completion between the 2 groups. The analysis must be viewed within the limitations of the available sample size of the ProStart group, and further study is recommended with larger group sizes. Based on the results of this study, a peer-to-peer mentoring program pairing ProStart with non ProStart students was developed and recommended to the research site. The implications for social change include providing research results to the local site and a recommendation for a mentoring program to improve the rate of completion in the culinary arts program.