Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department

Curriculum and Instruction

Major Professor

Victor Hernandez-Gantes, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Johanna Lasonen, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Jeany McCarthy, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Robert Dedrick, Ph.D.


Community College, Satisfaction, Student Needs


The purpose of this study was to examine if community college students in differing learning communities had different perceptions of their career and academic needs and whether students in different learning communities perceived their career and academic advisor as meeting these needs (i.e. are they satisfied with their advising). In addition, this study examined the variables of gender, ethnicity, and enrollment status and their relation to students’ needs and satisfaction across learning communities.

The Community College that provides the backdrop for the inquiry has recently transitioned to Academic and Career Learning Communities. This institution defines its communities as similar majors grouped into concentrations so students can benefit from advisors dedicated to a student’s program, a closer connection to experienced faculty, and collaboration with like-minded students.

A quantitative, non-experiential survey design was utilized for data collection. The survey utilized was adapted and modified from a survey originally developed by Leonhardy and Jimmerson (1992) and contained 43 questions, divided into 7 categories. Each category focused on an aspect of career and academic advising (i.e. academic, rules and regulations, course selection and information on majors, career development, counseling, advising climate, and general advising). There was also opportunity for students to leave additional comments.

The Qualtrics survey link was sent to 6,994 students’ college email account and was available for 4 weeks. After two reminders, the original responses totaled 578 participants. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics, multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA), and multiple regression to determine the association between the variables of interest.

The results of this study indicated that there were significant differences across three learning communities when compared to the Health and Veterinary Technology Community in four advising need categories. Asian, Black, and Hispanic students had significantly more advising need in two, three, and four (respectively) of the advising needs categories when compared to White students. Females had significantly less advising need in the category of rules and regulations. Enrollment status produced no significant differences related to needs or satisfaction. No significant differences were found across learning communities related to satisfaction. However, Black, American Indian, Pacific Islander, Native Hawaiian, Alaska Native, and Other students had statistically significant levels of higher satisfaction across learning communities compared to White students.

The results support the need for colleges to investigate the different advising needs of students within various learning communities, as well as investigate the needs of minority students in learning communities. It is in the best interest of an institution to understand student needs so that advising may be tailored to meet these needs. Information on satisfaction is equally imperative to an institution, as students who are satisfied may be more likely to persist in school. In turn, it is critical to understand the operational definition of learning communities for proper interpretation and use of results.