Theses and Dissertations


Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Winkler, Christa

Committee Member

Gadke, Daniel L.

Committee Member

Stratton-Gadke, Kasee K.

Committee Member

Molina, Danielle, K.

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Educational Leadership in Higher Education

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D)


College of Education


Department of Educational Leadership


While enrolling in a college for a degree is still considered to be more of the expectation than the rule in households across the United States it is facing public criticism regarding its overall cost versus long-term benefits. This has prompted researchers to reevaluate practices in higher education to determine ways in which post-secondary institutions can improve their overall outcomes. In part, research indicates that this should include revisions to assessment, evaluation, and research (AER) practices. Currently, higher education faces many challenges associated with rigorous AER practices, which include an institutional focus on accountability measures, organizational challenges, and difficulties in operationally defining and measuring constantly changing definition for students, faculty, and higher education. These challenges have forced higher education to move away from rigorous quantitative designs that show causality. Additionally, higher education’s focus on large N research struggles to capture the unique identities and experiences of today’s college campus, which also poses challenges for the use of AER by practitioners across academic and student affairs. At present, new approaches to AER must be considered. The purpose of the current study was to propose and investigate one potential way to supplement large N AER with the use of single-subject research design (SSRD). Using visual analysis and the calculation of effect sizes with nonoverlap of all pairs (NAP), archival data from a unique behavioral program in a post-secondary transition program located at a land-grant institution in the southeastern United States was evaluated to determine if its implementation reduced student referrals at the program (N =25) and cohort level between Fall 2019 to Spring 2020. Results indicated that the behavioral program was most effective at the program level but had variable results at the cohort level. These results indicate that SSRD can be an effective approach to AER practices in higher education and would adequately supplement and potentially inform further large N research with its ability address to assess smaller populations.