Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




David Weintraub


Evidence derived from the 2012 and 2015 College Senior Surveys (CSS) noted showed that college seniors, at a historically Black university, graduated with little to average soft skills. Soft skills, such as personal characteristics and relations with others, are needed for students to succeed in postgraduate careers. The purpose of this study was to assess the level to which performing arts instruction (PAI) courses developed college-level students' soft skills. Kolb's experiential learning theory, which defines the learning process as knowledge and skills developed through experiences, and Stufflebeam's evaluation model, which uses context, input, process, and product, were used to guide this study. A case study design was used to discern students' perceptions of PAI to help develop their soft skills and meet employers' expectations. Maximum variation sampling was used to select 15 participants who met the criteria of being a senior performing arts student at the target site. All 15 participants were interviewed. In addition, the collected data were coded, organized into themes, and then I triangulated the participants' responses with the CSS summary report. Findings indicated that while PAI helped students meet employers' hiring expectations in areas of soft skills, it was also revealed that there is a need for soft skills development to be embedded in other programs of study at the target site. Both a 3-day student and a 1-day faculty professional development) session were developed to instruct both groups on the use of soft skills. Implications for positive social change are that a campus-wide model to improve students' soft skills across all academic disciplines may result in improved employment opportunities, thus contributing to the global economy.