Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

Degree Granting Department

Educational Leadership

Major Professor

Howard Johnston, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

Judith Ponticell, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Paul Cottle, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Elizabeth Shaunessy-Dedrick, Ph.D.


Belonging and social engagement, academic and social growth, Concurrent Enrollment


The purpose of this research was to examine educators’ perceptions of high school students’ academic and social growth in a collegiate college program. Collegiate high school programs afford opportunities to minorities and the economically disadvantaged, as well as first-generation college students (Aviles-Reyes, 2007). This research used a qualitative case study framework to collect information about educators’ perceptions of the academic and social integration of students in a collegiate college program. Data were collected in phases—educator focus group interviews and individual interviews—and subsequently coded and reviewed using thematic comparative analysis. The guiding question was as follows: What are educators’ perceptions of students’ academic and social growth in a collegiate college program? In addition, the following question was explored: What are educators’ perceptions on the ways school culture affects students academically and socially?

Eight educators participated in a focus group and individual interviews for this study. The participants’ perceptions of students’ academic and social growth and effects of the school culture were grouped into three themes and several subthemes. The three main themes included belonging, customizing, and common purpose.

The themes were analyzed and resulted in six findings which had a positive effect on student academic and social growth: (a) students and educators exhibited a high degree of belonging; (b) belonging membership and social engagement have a positive effect on instructor morale; (c) educational customization promotes students’ academic and social growth; (d) a synergetic motivation of “wanting” was present and had a positive effect on school culture; (e) a common purpose dictated all program members’ expectations and behaviors; and (f) post-secondary skills were cultivated and developed.