School of Education


Doctor of Education (EdD)


Alan Wimberley


Academic Engagement, Athletics Participation, Retention, Student Engagement Instrument


Education | Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research | Educational Methods | Educational Psychology | Other Education | Secondary Education


The concept of retention in higher education institutions is certainly a hot topic. Institutions have explored first year seminars, engagement with faculty and creating a culture of connectivity and belongingness among the student population to include extra-curricular activities in creating an engaged student that will persist until graduation. Furthermore, academic engagement among student-athletes is one topic that has that has been somewhat neglected while institutions look at ways to increase retention via creating a culture of involvement. In addition, the Student Engagement Instrument (SEI), initially designed to measure engagement among secondary students has rarely been utilized to examine academic engagement among students at the collegiate level (Grier-Reed, Appleton, Rodriguez, Ganuza & Reschly, 2012). Therefore, the purpose of this study is to examine the effects that athletics participation has on the academic engagement of students as measured by the SEI. Drawing upon Albert Bandura’s (1977, 2001) social learning theory, Astin’s (1999) theory of involvement, the self-determination theory (SDT) and Tinto’s (1975) student integration model, the study explored the relationship between participation in sports and academic engagement. This research is geared toward higher education exploring persistence and retention as well as exploring further use of the SEI on a college population. Conclusions can be drawn to address retention issues plaguing universities and colleges.