Term of Award

Winter 2015

Degree Name

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

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (restricted to Georgia Southern)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Department of Leadership, Technology, and Human Development

Committee Chair

Teri Melton

Committee Member 1

Stephen Jenkins

Committee Member 2

Christine Ludowise


Although there are volumes of research available about the retention, progression and graduation rates of undergraduate students, there exist little to no information about graduation rates of students from one Army ROTC program. Student retention, specifically undergraduate retention, continues to be a significant challenge faced by students and institutions of higher education today. Therefore, many young adults, as a result of delayed graduation or not graduating at all with an undergraduate degree never receive the benefits of higher education. Research concludes that college graduates in America will earn more income over their lives, live healthier lives, make better financial decisions and ultimately enjoy a better standard of life. The research indicates that institutions that utilize student engagement techniques tend to retain and ultimately graduate students at higher rates.

Student engagement, the time and energy students put into educational activities and the efforts the institution places on educational practices, according to the research increases retention and ultimately graduation. This research also demonstrates that the employment of student engagement in smaller subsets or smaller entities at higher education institutions, such as Army ROTC, can increase retention of freshmen students, improve academic performances, and increase graduation rates. However, no empirical studies exist to support this hypothesis.

In order to determine whether or not implementation of student engagement techniques improved graduation rates at one Army ROTC Program, a mixed methods study is used. Former Army ROTC students at one institution of higher learning are surveyed utilizing “Chickering and Gamson” “Seven Principles of Good Practice in Undergraduate Education.” The mixed study included a Likert-type scale for the quantitative portion and this study includes open-ended questions to further understand the participant’s responses. The survey was emailed anonymously using SurveyMonkey©.

Findings of this study are consistent with the literature in the implementation of effective student engagement techniques. Identified themes that lead to effective implementation of student engagement techniques that are consistent with the literature and identified in this study are: Frequent Contact between the Faculty (Army ROTC Cadre) and students (Cadets), Communication of High Expectations and Utilization of Active Learning Techniques.