Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Shannon I. Decker


Regional weather patterns in the southwestern United States frequently test the engineering involved in indoor air handling equipment in college facilities. Although an adequate indoor thermal environment has been found to affect student learning, little is known about students' perceptions of classroom heating and ventilation and impacts on learning. The purpose of this phenomenological study was to explore how students in accelerated medical technology courses perceived the environmental quality in their classrooms and discern whether these conditions affected overall gains in knowledge, persistence, and retention in their learning. Fourteen participants from 2 local community colleges were interviewed using purposeful sampling. Guided by Nicol and Humphrey's adaptive heat model along with the theories of Maslow, Bandura, and Bronfenbrenner, the research questions centered on how students perceived the classroom environmental quality and its effects on their learning and well-being. Thematic analysis was used to reveal concerns about the operational state of the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems, their effect on classroom environmental quality and the student's ability to attend class. Interview responses indicated that positive indoor environmental conditions are essential to students' learning. Project study results led to the development of a white paper for collaborative use at each development forum. Positive implications for social change include increasing staff members' knowledge about improving and maintaining adequate indoor environmental quality to support overall student achievement.