Date of Award

2006

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

School

School of Education

Program

Counseling Psychology, Ph.D.

First Advisor

Jimmy Kijai

Second Advisor

Larry D. Burton

Third Advisor

Hinsdale Bernard

Abstract

Problem

The Adult Degree Program at Atlantic Union College has for the past 34 years instituted innovations and practices, following new trends in adult education, to make it more accessible and viable in helping students grow intellectually and professionally and to complete their educational goals. This study was done to examine the extent to which institutional, personal, and family factors are related to adult degree program completion at Atlantic Union College.

Methodology

A survey research method was used in this study. A questionnaire was designed and administered to 365 adults: 160 alumni, 45 withdrawals, and 160 current students. Useable responses from 134 participants were included for analysis. Descriptive statistics, Chi-Square test of association, and analysis of variance were used to analyze the data.

Results

Generally, there were no significant differences among alumni, current students, and dropouts with regard to ‘triggers’ for enrolling in the Adult Degree Program (ADP). Completing a degree and fulfilling an educational dream were two factors that ultimately influenced participants to enroll in the ADP at Atlantic Union College. Compared to those who withdrew from the program, alumni and current students had significantly higher levels of intrinsic motivation, hut lower levels o f a-motivation. In addition, they were more satisfied with administrative services and supervision, and found mentoring to be more beneficial. Resolution to complete the program was stronger for alumni and current students than for those who withdrew from the program. Suggestions for strengthening the program included expanded marketing, addition of faculty, and improved communication.

Conclusion

Most adults felt the need to reinitiate the pursuit of formal studies and obtain a degree. Significant differences between completers and dropouts, however, do exist, particularly with respect to motivation and satisfaction with the program. Adult programs should strengthen services to aid students in persisting and completing their studies.

Subject Area

Adult education--Research.

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