Degree Date


Document Type

Dissertation - Public Access

Degree Name

Ed.D. Doctor of Education

Academic Discipline

Community College Leadership

First Advisor

Dennis K. Haynes

Second Advisor

Judah Viola

Third Advisor

Rudolph Smith


The purpose of this research was to identify the components of first-year first semester college success courses specifically designed to foster student success in single campus Illinois community colleges. The study provides a historical background of community colleges as it develops a context for the need for college success courses. A qualitative case study approach was used. The research conceptual framework encompassed Alexander Astin’s Theory of Student Involvement (IEO), Stufflebeam’s Theory of Course and Program Evaluation (CIPP), and The Center for Community College Student Engagement (CCCSE) seven key principles for student success to analyze the findings.

To generate qualitative data twenty one community colleges responded to the on-line survey. Based on maximum variation from those responses, six institutions’ administrators agreed to a face-to-face semi structured interview. Eleven interview questions were matched to the four research questions, which helped in providing a comprehensive and concise overview of the research findings. As a consequent of the survey and face-to-face interview sessions findings and analysis; four emerging themes surfaced.

This study concludes, based on findings; identifying components of first-year first semester success courses can foster students’ college success. The findings indicated strong support systems such as, early, before the start of the semester, orientations, introductions, and remediation, as well as, providing support services beyond the first year and as often as need throughout the college experience is perhaps the key to persistence and ultimately college completion. Implications and recommendations are presented for now and future best practices. Lastly, there is an introduction to the Roland Success Course Analysis Model.