Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Educational Leadership, Research and Technology

First Advisor

Dr. Mary Anne Bunda

Second Advisor

Dr. Donald Thompson

Third Advisor

Dr. Charles Warfield


Hundreds of studies of student retention have been conducted at colleges and universities over the years, and invariably they have focused on identifying student characteristics and other factors related to retention, as well as on causes of attrition which can help us identify ways to improve this situation.

Importantly the literature on student retention has identified academic and social integration as playing key roles in student retention, although admittedly some studies have shown more promise on these variables than others.

The purpose of this study was to determine if members of any one of three organizational types (social, professional, ethnic) perceive themselves to be more socially and/or academically integrated into the university life than members of the other organizational types. Differences were sought between groups of individuals in these three organizational types.

An academic and social integration questionnaire consisting of 55 items was administered to the experimental sample. Thirty items measured academic integration, 17 measured social integration, and 6 identified demographic characteristics. The scoring was on a 5-point Likert Scale. Test -taking time was estimated at 12 minutes.

The sample included 121 ethnic minority students. These students were selected on the basis of their membership in at least one of three organizational types: (1) social, (2) professional, or (3) ethnic. The students were freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors at Western Michigan University.

Overall, there were no significant differences in academic and social integration found between members of any of the three organizational types. In other words, there were no differences in students’ perceptions regarding their social and/or academic integration into the university life. However, when secondary analyses were carried out, a difference in social integration was found between members of professional and social organizations. The data showed that members of social organizations perceived themselves to be more socially integrated into the university life than did members of professional organizations. This difference was most noticeable in the junior year.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access