Date of Conferral



Doctor of Business Administration (D.B.A.)


Business Administration


Peter Anthony


Tennessee education leaders must improve their student retention strategies to increase financial stability and enhance the state's ability to support businesses and jobs through a well-educated workforce. The focus of this qualitative multiple case study was on 6 Tennessee community colleges where leaders had demonstrated successful strategies for retaining students resulting in increased revenues and financial stability. The advocacy/ participatory worldview provided a conceptual framework for identifying and comparing themes regarding Tennessee higher education leaders' retention strategies. Data collection included interviews and review of organizational retention reports on strategies as well as college, state, and federal findings on retention. Federal government websites contained information about Tennessee community colleges having the highest retention rates. Methodological triangulation provided the opportunity to identify similarities in retention strategies used by the community college leaders. Using the concept of classical data analysis, responses were categorized according to the program, activity, or initiative college administrators used to increase retention. Based on mind mapping of the clusters of information, findings revealed 3 primary themes: effects of retention on college revenues; challenges in retaining at-risk students; and strategies for retaining students, including new student orientation, counseling and advising, tutoring, and freshman seminars. The potential for social change includes the opportunity to increasing the college-educated workforce to provide more opportunities for local business leaders and find viable applicants to fill open positions and enhance the economic sustainability of local communities.

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