Student Success and Institutional Accountability Through the Components of Voluntary Framework Accountability

Student Success and Institutional Accountability Through the Components of Voluntary Framework Accountability

Author: 
Stacy Mentzer
Program of study: 
Ph.D./HEA
Abstract: 
Demands on higher education institutions are growing. Stakeholders are demanding proof of quality to ensure students are receiving the education they are paying for. Institutional accountability is a growing concern for higher education institutions, more specifically community colleges. The diverse characteristics of community colleges have made accurate reporting of institutional accountability challenging. This qualitative descriptive case study used a combination of questionnaires and interviews to explore components of Voluntary Framework Accountability (VFA) describing student success and institutional accountability at rural community colleges. The intentions were to explore how the convergence of current accountability measurements with Voluntary Framework Accountability measurements can affect institutional accountability. The study involved questionnaires to 40 members of faculty, staff, administration, and support staff about institutional accountability, student success, measures of institutional accountability, and professional development techniques. The concept behind the questionnaire was to gain the perspective of individuals across the campus about the topic. The study also included a series of 13 interviews. The individuals chosen for interviews were those who are involved with measuring institutional accountability. This data collection process has been identified as a way to not only explore the current measurement metrics but also how accountability is viewed by members of the institution leading to an understanding of how the convergence of VFA with current measurements would portray the institutional accountability. Responsibility, standards, and transparency, goals and graduation, student data, and extremely important were the five themes that emerged from this study.
Dedication: 
I dedicate this research to my husband and my father. Without the continual support of these two individuals, the dream of pursuing a doctoral degree would not have become my reality. I would also like to thank Dr. Barbara Foyil for stepping up when I was about to give up. She agreed to be my mentor when I was struggling to complete my dissertation journey. To my girls, Karrigan and Jillian, thanks for giving me quiet time when I needed it and the continual unconditional love to push forward. My hopes for them are that they have learned that they can do anything they set their mind to despite the hurdles that may come their way. The continual positive reinforcement and nudges to push through the hard times kept me moving forward, and these people were responsible! Thank you.
Acknowledgements: 
The first person I want to acknowledge for her role in my dissertation journey is Dr. Barbara Foyil. Dr. Foyil stepped in when I was struggling to continue down my doctoral path and helped me reclaim my focus and forge through to the end. Dr. Hopewell and Dr. Goss have continually provided great feedback and weathered the storm with me. Without these three individuals I would not be where I am today and for that I want to say thank you. Your hard work, dedication, and continual support means more than you will ever know. To my family who thought I would be a student forever. Their continual support has meant so much and made my dream become a reality. They provided a sounding board when I was stuck on a word and allowed me to vent when my frustration level got out of control. To my husband, Bret Mentzer, who told me to go back to school and supported my movement from one degree to the next. To my daughters who have had a mom as a student for most of their lives. Their continual love and support was the push I often needed. Finally, to my dad, Lyle Bartlett Jr., who reminded me of the choices I had made and why I made them. He continually pushed me forward and was willing to listen through the rants, tears, and cheers at all hours of the day and night. He made me laugh when I didn’t think it was possible. My father was killed the week I was planning to close this chapter of my life and complete my dissertation. I love you more than you will ever know dad, and wish you were here to see this milestone.