Murray State Theses and Dissertations


This study focused on persistence, and graduation rates of traditional students attending four-year public institutions. The study highlighted the complexity of persistence and degree completion by examining risk factors that impact persistence and degree completion. The purpose of this study was two-fold. First, the study sought consensus from a group of stakeholders, graduates from Murray State University’s (MSU) Teacher Education Program (TEP), to determine a list of specific expectations of a postsecondary institution in persisting to degree completion. Secondly, the study gathered data from the stakeholder of how each expectation was met while enrolled in the TEP at MSU.

This study incorporated two differing designs to answer four primary research questions. The first study used a modified Delphi study to generate a list of stakeholder expectations of a university through an iterative process. The second study used a descriptive survey process to analyze stakeholder perceptions on factors that impacted degree completion. Stakeholders also had the opportunity to provide information on precollege attributes and personal behaviors while attending college as well as demographic data that allowed comparison across different groups. The data were analyzed using frequency analysis and means comparison. Qualitative data was categorized and addressed using narrative.

Comparative analysis of means revealed few significant relationships. A ranking of the means from the surveys showed that faculty student interactions, quality of programs, and professor experiences were the most important expectations of the respondents while faculty expectations, professor experiences and expertise, and faculty and student interactions had the highest level of satisfaction.

Year manuscript completed


Year degree awarded


Author's Keywords

Postsecondary, persistence, retention, teacher education program, Delphi study

Degree Awarded

Doctor of Education


Educational Studies, Leadership and Counseling


College of Education & Human Services

Dissertation Committee Chair

Richard L. Dodson

Committee Member

David C. Whaley

Committee Member

Susana C. Bloomdahl

Document Type