Date of Conferral
Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)
Retention of first year college students has been problematic in many U.S. colleges, and different mentoring frameworks have been explored to help resolve the issue. The purpose of this qualitative multiple case study was to examine how the mentoring program at Brown Community College (BCC; pseudonym) positively increased retention of first year college students. BCC is a community college located in a metropolitan urban area in a southern state. Tinto's model of social integration and academic success was used to undergird the study. Research questions were developed to understand how BCC's mentoring program was supporting first year students' retention and what these students perceived as integral in order to persist throughout their program of study. Another question sought faculty's perceptions of how their mentoring program influenced retention at the college. Data collection included structured face-to-face interviews with a purposeful sample of 10 first year college students and two faculty mentors who provided mentorship at BCC. Content analyses were used to identify and isolate the themes through axial coding. The results showed that mentoring may be the catalyst needed to ensure that students stay in college and increase retention and graduation rates. The findings provide useful data for developing curriculum policies that may improve service delivery opportunities for at-risk students. The findings also showed that having qualified college graduates may increase productivity in the workforce and help the college graduates become more successful citizens. Recommendations are offered to improve the existing mentoring program to enable the students to experience social changes in their pursuit of academic success.