Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Davis, James E.

Committee Member

King, Stephanie B.

Committee Member

Stumpf, Arthur D.

Committee Member

Wiseman, William M.

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Community College Leadership

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D)


College of Education


Department of Educational Leadership


The growing number of community college transfer students aspiring to attain a baccalaureate degree increases the importance of understanding their perceptions about mattering at 4-year institutions. The degree to which students believe that they matter to others, they are significant to others, and they are appreciated by others (Rosenberg & McCullough, 1981; Schlossberg, 1989; Schlossberg, Lassalle, & Golec, 1989) is paramount to 4-year institutions retaining and graduating these students. A quantitative study was conducted using the Mattering Scales for Adult Students in Higher Education (MHE) to assess the perceptions community college transfer students have about mattering at a private, 4-year liberal arts institution in five postsecondary domains: administration, advising, peers, multiple roles, and faculty. Two research questions were examined in this study: 1. Do community college transfer students perceive that they matter at a private, 4-year liberal arts institution in five postsecondary domains: administration, advising, peers, multiple roles, and faculty? 2. Are there significant differences in the perceptions of community college transfer students based on demographic factors including age, race/ethnicity, education, gender, employment, dependents, number of dependents, hours worked weekly, hours spent on campus weekly, enrollment status, years at the institution, or major area of study? The participants for this study consisted of 23 respondents from a sample of 31 community college transfer students enrolled during the fall 2015 academic semester. Statistical analysis was conducted using descriptive statistics to describe the participants in the study. Inferential analysis was conducted using independent-samples t-tests to assess the differences in the independent variables in the five postsecondary domains and the students’ perceptions about mattering. The findings from this study revealed that community college transfer students have strong perceptions of mattering in the advising and peers postsecondary domains. Differences were statistically significant for gender, race/ethnicity, age, dependents, employment, enrollment status, and education in at least one of the five postsecondary domains. Implications for this research suggest that institutions that focus on mattering and greater student involvement will be successful in creating campuses where students are motivated to learn, where retention is reduced, and where students are loyal to the institution even after graduation.