School of Education


Doctor of Education in Curriculum & Instruction (EdD)


Mark Lamport


Academic Support, Andragogy, Medical Education


Education | Higher Education | Medical Education


The purpose of this instrumental case study is to understand what role faculty play in providing academic support to first- and second-year medical students at an osteopathic medical college in the United States. Academic support is defined as instructional methods or educational services provided to students in an effort to help them meet learning standards, The theory guiding this study is andragogy, developed by Malcolm Knowles (1913- 1997), as faculty’s beliefs about the needs of adult learners may affect how they provide academic support to students demonstrating poor academic performance. One central question and three sub-questions guided this study. The central research question for this study is: How do faculty provide academic support to first- and second-year medical students? Participants included six faculty and six students from the research site who met selection criteria. The researcher explored the phenomenon of interest using individual interviews, a group interview, and observations. Data analysis included reading and memoing, detailed descriptions, emergent coding, classification and development of themes, interpretation, naturalistic generalizations, representation of data, and member checking. An analysis of the data revealed three themes: responsibility, willingness, and effectiveness. The major finding of this study was that the academic support provided by faculty to first- and second-year medical students was extremely complex. A multitude of factors influenced the provision and access to academic support, some which were previously found by research and others not. Further research is recommended on the academic supports provided in medical education to aid policymakers, administrators and faculty in designing effective academic support initiatives.