Date of Award

7-31-2014

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ded)

Department

Professional Studies in Education

First Advisor

David M. Piper, D.Ed.

Second Advisor

Cathy C. Kaufman, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Kelli R. Paquette, Ed.D.

Abstract

Institutions of higher education invest a lot of resources into supporting and retaining students. Most colleges and universities offer systems of support for students who struggle academically. This study aimed to investigate the components of various programs offered within the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education to students on academic probation and to compare the academic recovery rates of the students attending these institutions. This mixed methods study includes data from interviews with campus representatives speaking about the programs that they offered to students on academic probation, as well as three years' worth of archival data on probation students' academic performance at each participating institution. Input from a small group of students at two of the participating universities was also reviewed. This study uncovered an assortment of program types which yielded varied results in student success. Institutional success was measured by the percentage of returning freshman probation students who raised their GPA above a 2.0 in one semester. The most successful institution had a contract model program that was mandatory for every student on campus. While participation in the program is centrally monitored by the Dean of Undergraduate Studies and Student Support, the individual contracts are done by academic advisors across campus. These results suggest that mandating support for all students and having more people involved in these initiatives will yield higher success rates for students. Additionally, because all of the higher performing schools used some variation of a counseling model with individualized support, it could be concluded that individual contacts with students allow for greater student success.

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