Degree Date


Document Type

Dissertation - Public Access

Degree Name

Ed.D. Doctor of Education

Academic Discipline

Higher Education Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Jaclyn K. Rivard

Second Advisor

Dr. Nathaniel Cradit

Third Advisor

Dr. Stephanie Krah



There are many factors that affect the graduation of collegiate student-athletes. Factors include student-athlete characteristics, academic advising, engagement, and relationships. These factors affect student-athlete retention at the university. Student-athletes must navigate their academic and athletic success with assistance from academic advisors and other university support systems. The ability of the student-athlete and the academic advisor to communicate and cultivate a relationship that is built on regularly scheduled meetings, sharing of the student-athlete’s personal goals, suggestions for personal and professional improvement culminating in trust is paramount to the success of the student-athlete. This research focuses on the relationship between the student-athlete and the academic advisor at a Division III Midwest university through survey and interviews. Through survey and interviews of student-athletes, this research shows the engagement and relationships between student-athletes and their academic advisor, and the university outside of athletics.



With sincere appreciation, I would like to thank the members of my dissertation committee. A special note of deep appreciation to my committee chair, Dr. Jaclyn K. Rivard, for her guidance and ongoing support throughout the process. I wish to express my deepest gratitude to my family, friends, and colleagues for their support and encouragement. Particularly, I am grateful for my always supportive parents, Robert and Mary Holmes, for loving and supporting me throughout the process.

Most of all, I am thankful for God’s grace granting me wisdom and fortitude to matriculate through the doctoral program.