Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

Degree Granting Department

Curriculum and Instruction

Major Professor

Elizabeth Shaunessy-Dedrick, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Sarah Kiefer, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Phil Smith, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Charles Vanover, Ph.D.


Appreciative Inquiry, evaluation, recruitment, retention


The purpose of this evaluation was to investigate the factors that contribute to students’ recruitment and retention in the Arabic program at my college. The two questions guiding this evaluation were: (1) what factors influence students to join the Arabic program at my college and (2) what factors influence students to continue to enroll in subsequent higher-level Arabic courses? To accomplish this evaluation, I conducted interviews with six former students --four women and two men--in the Arabic program. Eight themes emerged following analysis of data. The findings show that students joined the Arabic program for a variety of reasons. Several participants were interested in learning a non-romance language and discovering a different culture. Some were mainly career-oriented people who sought future job opportunities after graduation. Other participants were interested in learning Arabic to enrich their academic area of study while others thought that Arabic was a moderately difficult language to learn. There were other reasons that contributed to student persistence in the program. Many participants shared that they became more interested in the language and culture after completing the elementary course in Arabic. Participants were encouraged by the supportive learning experiences that accompanied their learning of Arabic. They liked the teacher’s personality and teaching style. Participants also shared that they wanted to be competent in the language so that they would meet future job requirements. Finally, I approached this investigation through an appreciative inquiry lens, which focused on the strengths and what worked well in the program rather than on the pitfalls and weaknesses.