Term of Award

Spring 2018

Degree Name

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

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (open access)

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

Antonio Guitierrez de Blume

Committee Member 1

Dan Calhoun

Committee Member 2

Juliann McBrayer


The two-year college graduation rate is at an all-time low. Curricular and program designs are not making the sweeping changes needed for the outcomes desired. While higher education continues to be sold as an economic good, research is pointing to the predictive nature of intrinsic, future-oriented goal (IFOG) awareness on sub-goal adoption and its relation to course success and intention to persist. This cross-sectional, correlational study desired to uncover the relation between IFOG and graduation. A modified version of the Aspirations index was provided to a group of new students and those on-target to graduate (last semester) in an effort to understand the variable relations and variable value difference, if any, between groups.

Despite previous studies, on-target to graduate students did not have a higher presence of IFOG than new students (was not predictive), and, while not statistically significant, new students did have a higher presence of IFOG than those on-target to graduate. Also, diploma (1 year) students did have a statistically significant higher presence of IFOG than degree students. Results are discussed within Boleman and Deal’s (1999) meaning making framework. Implications for higher education leaders and recommendations for future research and design are discussed given the promise of prior research, the findings of this research, and the ongoing challenge of increasing two-year college graduation.

Research Data and Supplementary Material