Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Nicolae Nistor


The problem at a community college in a state in the Eastern region of the United States is the lack of evaluation of the effect of Guided Pathways implementation on student retention in the local setting. Retention efforts are a concern of administrators of community colleges across the United States. To help students succeed, faculty often give students a specified set of core courses and a specific or even prescribed pathway to complete general education requirements. The community college incorporated Guided Pathways into retention efforts in Fall 2015. Over the past 4 years, the college has undertaken more activities focusing on increasing knowledge about the Pathways but has not yet evaluated the retention strategy. The purpose of this study was to explore student and faculty perceptions of the effectiveness of Guided Pathways as a retention strategy at one community college. Tinto’s model of student integration was used as the study’s theoretical framework. Interviews were conducted with 15 students who were enrolled in English 101 for the first time in Fall 2015 through Fall 2018 and with 4 full-time faculty who taught English 101 on the same campus. Following a thorough review of the transcribed material, I organized the data using the qualitative data analysis software NVivo. Then, I coded quotes into categories, and developed emerging themes. Students addressed the themes costs, support, and time constraints, whereas faculty focused on community and advising as main retention factors. The results of this study may impact positive social change by improving educational policy and practice in community colleges through a greater importance on positive student qualities and organizational practices that work together to predict student success rather than predict attrition.