First Advisor

Douglas L. Robertson

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Educational Leadership: Postsecondary Education


Educational Leadership and Policy




College dropouts, Counseling in higher education, Mentoring in education



Physical Description

3, ix, 250 leaves 28 cm.


This study examined the general hypothesis that student interactions with front line staff members in higher education settings have a positive impact upon student experiences, and ultimately, their persistence in colleges and universities. This study also examined the reciprocal hypothesis that this same interaction has a positive impact upon staff job satisfaction and service quality. Several bodies of literature were reviewed as a framework for the examination of these questions, including student persistence and related factors, job satisfaction, total quality management and service quality. A quasi- experimental research design was employed to examine an intervention linking new freshmen with individual staff members in a mentor/adviser relationship, and to test the effects of this interaction upon student persistence and satisfaction, staff job satisfaction, and service. The effects of the intervention upon staff and students were measured through the use of pre and post intervention surveys. Also, interviews of subjects were conducted to provide insight into the effects of the intervention, and the day-to-day experience of students and staff'. In addition, data were gathered from student and staff control groups for comparison to the experimental groups. Results suggest that positive student interaction with staff does have an effect upon persistence and satisfaction with the institution. Factors related to this outcome include high levels of interaction with community members, especially faculty, and a feeling of connection and integration with the institution. Also, data suggest that poor relationships with staff can have the opposite effect, contributing to student dissatisfaction and disconnection. Similarly, data indicate that staff benefit from this relationship also, as demonstrated by increased job satisfaction, satisfaction with interactions with students, and the feeling that their work has value for the educational process. Other findings reveal that certain factors contribute to positive interactions with students and the promotion of quality service (empowerment, teamwork, reward, training and association with other service providers), while other factors detract from that relationship (hierarchy, lack of empowerment, territoriality of information, dissociation from other service providers). Recommendations for improvement of student persistence and staff job satisfaction are made as a result of these findings and conclusions.


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