Social Constructions of Student Success in a Community College Program for At-Risk Students: A Case Study
AuthorEngelsen, Karen Goodfellow
Committee ChairRhoades, Gary
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractAbstractStudents come to community colleges with different levels of personal development, academic preparedness, and learning needs. Success programs that focus on the holistic development of nontraditional students provide an important pathway into college for students who might not otherwise attend or succeed. These programs face increased accountability to demonstrate student outcomes. In assessing outcomes, are the successes experienced by these students fully captured with traditional student success measures?Constituent groups may differ with regard to expected outcomes and conceptualizations of success. To examine this possibility, a community college program designed to promote goal attainment for at-risk, nontraditional re-entry students was chosen for a case study to determine what success means to the students who participate in the program, the instructional counselors who teach the course for the program, and the administrators who make resource allocation decisions that impact the viability of the program.The case study was organized around four propositions that hypothesize how different participants construct their perceptions of success:1) Students who complete the program course will come to search for and define success in terms of finding their voice and developing cultural capital;2) Instructors who teach the course will conceive of success outcomes in differing ways depending on the extent of their professionalization - locals will support a more traditional, academic oriented preparation whereas cosmopolitans and intermediates, to varying degrees, will embrace a more holistically developmental approach to the course;3) Administrators will evaluate and allocate resources to the program primarily in terms of traditional institutional measures of student success - student credit production and student completion; and3a) Perspectives of success based on students finding their voice, cultural capital, and holistic developmental outcomes are not considered nor valued independently by administrators in their decision-making.Knowing the differing perspectives of what is valued by those involved allows for strategically informed decisions about what to assess and how to present data that best supports the benefits of this program to the students, the college, and the community. The importance of aligning various participant perspectives of success for ultimate program efficiency and effectiveness is demonstrated.
Degree ProgramHigher Education