Motivational Factors of Student Retention within a Summer Bridge Program: A Descriptive, Qualitative Case Study

Motivational Factors of Student Retention within a Summer Bridge Program: A Descriptive, Qualitative Case Study

Author: 
Sheila Hannah
Program of study: 
Ed.D./CI
Abstract: 
The purpose of this descriptive, qualitative case study design was to investigate whether a summer bridge program, developed for first-year, first-generation students, is effective in retaining students throughout the first year of college. The general problem for private and public institutions was that student college retention rates have decreased since 2000 (LeBlanc & Slaughter, 2012). Data collection for the study included 60 first-year, first-generation students, within the Wings Program, who attended the summer bridge program before the 2017-2018 academic school year. The study sample also included six Wings’ instructors, who presented content within the summer bridge program. I included a curriculum content analysis because I gathered information about the content, curriculum, and materials presented in the Wings summer bridge program. Six themes emerged from the surveys/questionnaires, which aligned with the overarching research question and the literature to affirm that a university’s inclusion of a summer bridge program, before the start of an academic school year, can motivate first-year, first-generation students to retain during the first year of college.
Dedication: 
This dissertation is dedicated to God and my family, who encouraged and supported me during my doctoral journey. God, I thank you for providing me with favor and grace. To my husband, Reggie, thank you for encouraging me to continue my educational goals and constantly praying and motivating me to complete what I started, though I was exhausted and frustrated, at times, along the way. Your unconditional love, kind words, sacrifice, and support guided me through the dissertation process. To my mom and dad, thank you for supporting me to accomplish my goals and the Godly advice that you provided during the entire process. Not once did you ever doubt that I could accomplish my educational goals, and I thank God for you daily and your love is invaluable. Throughout my doctoral journey, God and my family have been the glue that held me together, and their ongoing encouragement led me to fulfill my educational goals. Honorable mention goes to my little sister, Sharon; thanks for your kind words and consistent encouragement along the way. Your words of “you can do it” really helped me to stay on track throughout this process. To my sister, Stephanie, your prayers and thoughtful words gave me confidence along the way. To my little brother, Patrick, your constant check-in with me on my progress encouraged me to move forward. To my big brother, Edward, your prayers along the way were much needed and appreciated. To my nieces and nephews, your kind words and love motivated me to not give up. Thank you all for having faith in me and your support and encouragement allotted me to fulfill my dreams and complete my educational goals.
Acknowledgements: 
This journey would not have been accomplished without the support and encouragement from various individuals. First, I thank God for providing me with life, health, and endurance, as I am nothing without his grace and mercy. At times, I felt that I would not complete this journey, but God kept me grounded and gave me the strength to finish this race. Second, I want to thank my excellent committee that included my chair, Dr. Kelley Walters, and two committee members, Dr. Vicki Purslow and Dr. Judy Alston. Your encouragement along the way was irreplaceable. I want to thank the following leaders and mentors that inspired me from Concordia University, Irvine: Dr. Doug Grove, associate provost, thanks for providing information and resources and taking the time out of your busy schedule to meet with me a few years back. I was in the process of giving up, but you encouraged me to complete the journey. Tom White, founder of the MCAA Program, thanks for your kind words and pushing me along the way to complete my doctoral program. Tony Diaz, director of the MCAA Program, thanks for your continued support and constantly asking, “Are you done yet?” Dr. Terilyn Jackson, dean for equity, diversity, and inclusion, thanks for your encouragement and walking me through the dissertation process; your support was invaluable. Dr. Catherine Collins-Sinardi, director of internships/assistant professor, and Kellie Playter, assistant professor, thanks for your constant encouragement and support, as I could not have accomplished this goal without you. Honorable mentions and thanks to the MCAA team, Dr. Peter Senkbeil, Dr. Mary Scott, Dr. Timothy Preuss, Dr. Kent Schlichtemeier, Dr. Dean Vieselmeyer, Dr. Margaret Christmas-Thomas, Dr. Stephen Duarte, Dr. Chip Espinoza, Dr. Yi Schuler, Jelena Rudela, the Wings’ students, and the Wings’ instructors.