Finding the Right Guide to Successful Academic Pathways: The Significance of the Academic Advisors and the Completion Rate Success of Students within the California Community College Guided Pathways Program

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The purpose of this phenomenological study was to explore the perspectives of academic advisors who are servicing the needs of students within the California community colleges participating in the Guided Pathways initiative. In addition, the study sought to provide a detailed understanding of the perceptions of (a) the academic advisor’s role in the community college meeting the goals outlined by the California Guided Pathways initiative and (b) the community college’s role in affecting the success rate of students enrolled in the Guided Pathways-based programs. For this study’s theoretical framework, the researcher looked at human relations and classical organizational theories, tying in how behavior outcomes are connected to one’s relationship with perceived leaders and the environment. The researcher interviewed 12 academic advisors from two California Guided Pathways Project institutions. Through the modified Stevick-Colaizzi-Keen (SCK) method, the researcher identified six themes that have successfully impacted academic advisors’ attempts to guide students within the Guided Pathways Project. This research found that the lack of an effective student onboarding method harmed the success of the Guided Pathways program as well as how the indecisiveness/unpreparedness of students contributed to higher caseloads for academic advisors. As the California community college system is about to embark on its Guided Pathways 2.0 initiative, it would be beneficial to review these findings as they are still evident.
A dissertation submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree Doctor of Public Administration
Public Administration, Educational Leadership, Higher Education