Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Davis, James

Committee Member

Olinzock, Anthony

Committee Member

Adams, Joe

Committee Member

Wiseman, Marty W.

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Community College Leadership

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


College of Education


Department of Instructional Systems, Leadership and Workforce Development


Community colleges are in a unique position in the hierarchy of higher education. They provide quality education at an affordable price. They are strategically located in communities to provide educational opportunities for everyone. The latest prediction is that enrollment at two-year institutions is expected to increase from 5.7 million students to 6.3 million students by 2012 (Gerald & Hussar, 2002). However, research indicates that the retention and transfer rates of community college students are low. This is problematic due to the increased calls for accountability on the national education agenda which are linked to student outcomes. This is astounding for a system with a foundational belief in self-development and an unquenchable mission to provide postsecondary access to people who would likely not attend college if such avenues did not exist. Fortunately, there is one aspect of this statistic that brings renewed optimism to the university transfer mission of community colleges. Eightyive percent of Phi Theta Kappa members transfer to a four-year institution. Currently more than 600 colleges and universities in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Canada, and London offer more than $36 million in transfer scholarships to Phi Theta Kappa members ( This study examined the experiences of those students who are members of Phi Theta Kappa in an effort to identify ways to recruit and retain students and increase the transfer percentage for community college students. The Community College Student Experiences Questionnaire was used to examine their community college experiences quantitatively. Descriptive statistics and Spearman correlations were used to analyze the data. Results of this study indicated that the Phi Theta Kappans were attending their community college to prepare for transfer to a four-year college or university. As anticipated, the Phi Theta Kappans were more involved in activities related to their courses and computer technology. The Quality of Effort scale indicated a low level of engagement in cultural activities. An unexpected finding was that there was no statistical significant difference in student satisfaction based on age, sex, or gender. Additionally, the students were satisfied with their community college environment.