School of Education
Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (EdD)
Military, Student Integration, Community College, Persistence
Adult and Continuing Education | Educational Leadership
Sivells, La Toya Nicole, "Mission to Persist: A Phenomenological Study of the Academic and Social Experiences of Active Duty Military Students at a Virginia Community College" (2021). Doctoral Dissertations and Projects. 2869.
The purpose of this transcendental, phenomenological study was to examine the academic and social experiences of active duty military students at a Virginia community college. The theory that guided this study was Tinto’s student integration theory because it examines the academic and social experiences of active duty military students and how they are key to successful integration into college community and persistence. The central research question that guided this study was: What are the academic and social experiences of active duty military students at Virginia community colleges. Additionally, to answer the central question, four sub-questions were developed using Tinto’s Integration Theory: (1) What are the motivations/reasons for attending college while on active duty? (2) How do active duty military students describe their educational persistence? (3) What types of academic supports do active duty military receive from their college’s administration, faculty, and staff? (4) What types of social supports does active duty military receive from their college’s administration, faculty, and staff? To examine active duty military students' experiences, a transcendental approach was used to gather individual stories to understand their personal experiences. Furthermore, 10 participants were purposefully selected. The participants’ experiences were uncovered through an online questionnaire, semi-structured interviews, and a focus group. Moustakas’ steps for data analysis were used to explore the data, create initial codes, combined codes into themes, and develop textural and structural descriptions. Generally, the themes that emerged from the data sources were support systems, obligations, attributes, goals and advancements, and concerns. The participants voiced that their military lifestyle mandates often did not allow the additional time needed for degree completion.