Theses and Dissertations


Winkler, Christa E.

Committee Member

Seal , Susan D.

Committee Member

Molina, Danielle

Committee Member

Moyen, Eric

Date of Degree


Original embargo terms

Immediate Worldwide Access

Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Educational Leadership (Higher Education Leadership)

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D)


College of Education


Department of Counseling, Higher Education Leadership, Educational Psychology, and Foundations


The increasing enrollment of nontraditional students in online degree programs has underscored the importance of effective academic advising practices. These students, often over the age of 25 and juggling full-time employment and family responsibilities, encounter unique challenges in navigating the asynchronous, online learning environment. Academic advisors play a pivotal role in mitigating these obstacles by fostering trust and delivering comprehensive support systems tailored to the needs of online learners. While previous studies have explored various advising models and approaches in connection with student satisfaction, inadequate attention has been given to assessing the quality of advising specifically tailored to nontraditional, online students and their persistence. The purpose of this quantitative study was to determine if advising quality impacts persistence among nontraditional, online students enrolled in a baccalaureate degree program as to what extent specific dimensions of advising quality (reliability, responsiveness, assurance, empathy) impact their persistence. Data were collected using an anonymous online survey that was shared with potential participants via email. Data were analyzed through SPSS software using a multiple linear regression model to determine significance between the independent variables, the dimensions of advising quality, and the dependent variable, self-report impact on persistence. Results indicated that three dimensions of advising quality were highly significant; reliability, empathy, and assurance. These findings indicate that higher education administrators should focus efforts on implementing advisor training programs tailored to the needs of online learners, creating a centralized advising structure which offers a streamlined approach to student services, and executing advisor evaluations to collect student feedback and inform practice. Future research should be conducted to confirm the findings of this study and to explore other institutional factors that impact the persistence of nontraditional students enrolled in online baccalaureate degree programs.