Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy
Higher Education Administration
Norma T. Mertz
Pamela A. Angelle, Terry Ishitani, David J. Houston
While the rate student enrollment in U.S. institutions of higher education is steadily increasing, retention and graduation rates do not reflect these increases, in turn leading to an ever-present gap in educational attainment (Bailey & Dynarski, 2011; Fischer, 2007; Kuh, Cruce, Shoup, Kinzie, & Gonyea, 2008; Morley, 2003; Museus & Quaye, 2009; Zarate & Burciaga, 2010; Zhan & Sherraden, 2011). The gaps in educational achievement are disproportionately larger for the African American and Latinx student populations compared to their Caucasian and Asian peers (Bailey & Dynarski, 2011; Fischer, 2007; Morley, 2003; Museus & Quaye, 2009; Zarate & Burciaga, 2010; Zhan & Sherraden, 2011). Tinto’s Theory of Student Departure (1975, 1993) is foundational in retention research, widely used, and has proven to lead to increased academic success and retention. The student integration construct posits that students’ integration into the academic and social structure within institutions of higher education shape their retention (Tinto, 1975, 1993). While academic integration and social integration work collectively in this construct, they also work independently to promote student success as well. The purpose of this study is to explore the relationships between student background characteristics and social integration, and the ability to predict student retention to graduation based on student social integration. This study utilized the 2011 National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) to assess the impact of social integration and answering the following research questions: 1) Is there a significant difference in the scaled measurement of social integration of first-year and senior level students; 2) Is there a significant difference in the scaled measurement of social integration for African American and Latinx graduates and dropouts; 3) Does social integration predict graduation among African American and Latinx students? The results of this study highlight the importance of social integration and its relations to retention and graduation.
Redix, Ashley Taylor, "The Social Side of Retention: Examining the Social Integration of African American and Latinx Students and their Retention to Graduation. " PhD diss., University of Tennessee, 2020.