Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Jennifer L. Mathes


A local community college is experiencing low level student retention. . The purpose of this study was to explore the perceptions of administrators, faculty and students regarding the low student retention rate. The participants for this qualitative case study included 6 former students who withdrew from the local community college before completing their degrees, 2 faculty members, and 2 administrators. The conceptual framework was constructivism. Research questions were designed to elicit perceptions of understanding retention issues in terms of adult learning and documenting the problem of retention. Data were collected in the form of semi-structured interviews and document review to answer the research questions. Interview data were coded, and 10 themes were identified. Themes included lack of socialization, cost of tuition, lack of online options, class scheduling, student self-discipline, quality of faculty, institutional support, high schools not preparing students for college, 2 year degree implications, and parental pressure. Document review showed that minimal efforts were present to track students or educate faculty regarding adult learning through the 2 year degree process. The key results showed that student retention was a problem that needed to be addressed at both the faculty and administrative levels. The themes resulting from data analysis served as the basis for creation of a 3-day professional development training project for faculty and administrators at the college. This study and resulting project might encourage positive social change for the students, faculty, administration, and college by improving retention rates and graduating more students into the workforce.