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Student Success in a Learning Paradigm Environment: Student Affairs and Academic Affairs Partnerships

Monique R Drucker, Johnson & Wales University


Colleges and universities across the country continuously pursue ways to improve student success. Kuh (1996) cited Terenzini and Pascarella's (2005) argument for the creation of "seamless learning environments" where in-class and out-of class experiences are supported and institutional resources are delegated to achieve complementary learning outcomes. Barr and Tagg (1995) asserted, "a college is an institution that exists to produce learning" (p.13). Academic and student affairs are identified as the principal functional areas equipped to create and sustain this kind of educational setting (Schroeder, 1999). Schuh (1999) identifies student learning as the primary purpose of academic and student affairs partnerships. Research has focused on how partnerships are formed; however, minimal research exists which addresses specifically how partnerships are related to student success (Kezar, 2003; Kinzie & Kuh, 2004; Magdola, 2005; Schroeder, 1999; Schuh, 1999). This sequential explanatory embedded mixed methods study examined data at a private, mid-sized university in New England. Quantitative and qualitative research questions were utilized to support the embedded research design. Phase I data collection analyzed ex-post facto data provided from a Datatel© file of students who participated in orientation in 2011 (N=1348) and those who participated in a revised orientation in 2013 (N=1579). Data analysis included descriptive statistics and t-tests to describe and measure student success (i.e., GPA and retention) comparison between cohorts. Elite interviews (N=2) were conducted in Phase II to qualitatively explore the perceptions of administrators in a learning paradigm environment regarding revisions made to the orientation program. The analysis revealed that no statistically significant relationship was found between those who participated in the 2011 orientation compared to those who participated in a revised 2013 orientation, with regards to GPA or persistence after controlling for incoming SAT scores. Supplemental results from interviews with elite informants suggested that a strong partnership was created between academic and student affairs to evaluate the orientation program and implement changes that were consistent with the institution's learning paradigm environment. The results may benefit educators at institutions of higher education interested in engaging in optimal partnerships with academic and student affairs to increase student success.

Subject Area

Higher Education Administration|Higher education

Recommended Citation

Drucker, Monique R, "Student Success in a Learning Paradigm Environment: Student Affairs and Academic Affairs Partnerships" (2015). Dissertation & Theses Collection. AAI3685583.