Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Educational Leadership, Research and Technology

First Advisor

Dr. Louann Bierlein Palmer

Second Advisor

Dr. Jianping Shen

Third Advisor

Dr. Kay L. Keck


Community college, student success, faculty behaviors, motivation, persistence


This study explored how community college students perceive certain faculty behaviors, its relationship with students’ classroom motivators and how the perception of those behaviors and motivators predicts students’ persistence and academic success. The statistics about the low rates of completion in higher education institutions is an issue that researchers and educational organizations are concerned about (Apolinar, 2013; Kolodner, 2015). Addressing this issue, a body of inquiring is focusing on the student-faculty relationship (Kezar & Maxey, 2014) revealing that faculty behaviors and student motivation are related to several students’ outcomes (Lancaster & Lundberg, 2019; Wilson & Ryan, 2013). However, less is known regarding effective behaviors for community college faculty that help foster student success (Alexander, Karvonen, Ulrich, Davis, & Wade, 2012; Khandelwal, 2009). Such knowledge is needed in the Dominican Republic (DR), where the community college model is recently being implemented.

The research design of this study was a quantitative descriptive and predictive nonexperimental research design, using an online survey. The sample consisted of 352 students from the first and only DR community college. The data was analyzed using independent T-Tests, ANOVA, Canonical Correlation Analysis, logistic and hierarchical multiple regressions.

Overall, results indicate that faculty qualities and behaviors accounts for 48.5% in the variance in students’ classroom motivation. Findings reveal in more detail which faculty qualities and behaviors directly or indirectly have a higher influence in student motivation, persistence, and GPA. For example, it was found that encouragement behaviors such as demonstrating cares for student’s well-being and praising a student for a job well done, were good predictors of student intent to persist. Fairness, such have realistic expectations for students, has significant positive correlation with students’ expectancy for success, while control behaviors, such being authoritative, establishing academic goals, and managing class time, also are relevant, increasing the sense of interest and usefulness for non-traditional students. Success, usefulness, and interest when considered in isolation are good predictors of students’ GPA, explaining 17%, 10%, and 6% respectively of the variance.

These findings offer more detailed insights to serve as reference for building faculty development programs, fostering faculty instructional methods and practice that meets the diverse student needs in higher education contexts. This study adds to the literature base about community college student success and how it is connected with students’ perceptions of faculty behaviors and classroom motivators. Also, it contributes to the empirical work to the limited amount of research currently available on the Dominican higher education context.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access