COMMUNITY COLLEGE ADULT ACCELERATED PROGRAM: FACULTY EDUCATIONAL PHILOSOPHY INFLUENCE ON STUDENT RETENTION
Although there has been a surge in the number of adults entering accelerated academic programs at community colleges over the last decade, there has not been a similar increase in the number of adult learners who persist and achieve their degrees. This qualitative inquiry uses a case study methodology to explore in what ways educational philosophies of educators influence the persistence and graduation rates of adult students in community college accelerated programs. Data collection methods will include the creation of focus groups of both faculty and adult students in the accelerated program and faculty members taking the online version of the Zinn (1991) Philosophy of Adult Education Inventory (PAEI).
Analysis of the findings will utilize the results of the Zinn’s PAEI, Knowles’ (1980) six assumptions of adult education as well as the emerging themes arising from the data. This study will provide information that will improve the understanding of the role of faculty educational philosophy on the successful achievement by adult learners as measured by persistence and graduation. These insights will also provide the information needed by community colleges to create a positive adult learning environment as they formulate and implement adult accelerated courses and programs and recruit faculty to teach in them.
There was no consensus among the student graduates regarding if the manner in which faculty taught had any influence on their decision to persist in the adult accelerated program. The results indicated that students reacted more positively and related better to faculty who brought real life, practical knowledge into the classroom than faculty who lectured from a theoretical perspective. Additional findings made it quite apparent that the student graduate participants possessed an intense internal desire and self-determination to be persistent and complete the necessary courses to finish a degree. Lastly, students strongly voiced the need for faculty and the college administration to create an environment which promotes a desire to learn, which in turn motivates them to persist and complete their degree.