Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Education/Leadership in Urban Schools

First Advisor

Patricia Krueger-Henney

Second Advisor

Franchine Menashy

Third Advisor

John Saltmarsh


This research addresses issues of inequity in completion rates at the community college level for historically marginalized students. This Participatory Action Research (PAR) project allowed community college students to not only document what it is like to be a student in a small New England community college; it also shares student-generated findings, actions, and suggestions that push toward improving completion rates. This PAR project was rooted in transformative praxis, critical race theory, and desire-based theory to empower those who have been silenced by institutionalized, colonial, and positivistic educational policies. The interwoven approach of the project allowed for a complexity of experiences to be articulated by the students themselves. This project used a mix of standard and evolving methods, such as cognitive bio-mapping, focus group interviews, narrative reflections, data analysis, literature review, and student-run presentations that culminated in the students taking action on campus. The results of this multi-modal approach reveal that while students experience feelings of isolation, struggle with inflexible course schedules, and articulate feeling a general lack of a “community feeling” on campus, they are willing and able, to make relevant suggestions for change at the institutional and policy levels.


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