A Case Study of College Persistence for the Dean's Future Scholars Program
AuthorBeattie, James William
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AbstractThis qualitative case study supplemented by quantitative data was employed to explore the understandings that 13 undergraduate students from a single Dean's Future Scholars (DFS) cohort held concerning the contributions of the six major components of DFS to their persistence into the second semester of their sophomore year of college at the University of Nevada, Reno. To examine these understandings, the history of each component was investigated. The 13 DFS students in this case study were first-generation / low-income students of color. The six major components examined included: (a) Summer Middle School Enrichment; (b) School Year Mentoring; (c) Summer Math; (d) Summer College Bridge; (e) Summer Internship; and (f) The Lounge. An open-ended survey was administered to 13 students regarding individual program components as well as overarching program experiences. In-depth interviews were conducted with three program administrators exploring programmatic history, development, intent, and implementation. This study examined 13 student's perceptions of individual components as well as overarching program experiences. An intrinsic case study design coupled with a constructivist grounded theory approach was utilized. Tinto's (1993) theory of Individual Departure was utilized as a Theoretical framework. Four major themes were constructed from the student survey: (a) Support, (b) Joy; (c) Gratefulness; and (d) Growth. Three key findings were extrapolated from the survey data, (a) DFS is family, (b) DFS creates cultural capital, and (c) DFS creates social capital.