Date of Award

Spring 5-12-2023

Document Type

Dissertation (799 registration)

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership


Graduate Studies

Committee Chair

Andrew Burklund


retention, first-generation college students, persistence, community college, institutional departure


Research showed faculty-student interactions impact student engagement and was a primary factor to student retention (Kuh & Hu, 2001; Means & Pyne, 2017; Swecker et al., 2013; Tinto, 1987). The literature revealed while retention may be an issue for many institutions, there is a greater need to address retention specifically related to first-generation college students (FGCS). Students often seek advice from faculty and staff when faced with questions about their academic progress. Faculty and staff voices need to be collected regarding their perceptions of the effectiveness of the support systems used within an institution that promote retention for FGCS. This dissertation research study aimed to explore faculty and staff perceptions of the factors that influence retention with a qualitative-dominant explanatory sequential mixed-methods research design. In the first phase, twenty-three (n = 23) faculty and staff at a two-year community college in southeastern Minnesota participated in an online questionnaire. Key findings from Phase One included faculty and staff perceived Academic Integration, Academic Conscientiousness, Support Service Satisfaction, and Financial Strain as having a significant impact on retention of FGCS and they perceive themselves as slightly prepared to advise FGCS on topics related to Financial Strain. In the second phase, eight (n = 8) faculty and staff from the same institution participated in an interview. Key findings from Phase Two included 50% of faculty and staff commented that the institution’s support systems for FGCS were effective; of those, 66.6% of staff commented these support systems were effective whereas 40% of faculty perceived the supports as effective. This research study added to the body of literature regarding research that focused on faculty and staff perceptions regarding FGCS retention, the use of the mixed-methods approach to explore retention, and the exploration of FGCS retention at a two-year institution.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.