Degree Attainment

Date of Award


Degree Name

Ed.D. in Leadership for Organizations


Department of Educational Administration


James Olive


The Upward Bound Math Science (UBMS) program is a 100% federally funded grant program from the U.S. Department of Education designed to serve first-generation and low-income students by providing pre-college programming. The program has six objectives, the final objective being degree attainment for past participants. This action research study focuses on Tinto's (1988) longitudinal model of institutional departure, along with grounded theory which shows how the participants responded to transitional changes from high school to college, and produces findings that may answer the research question of "Why are students not graduating with an associate or bachelor's degree within six years, and what resources are needed?" The implementation of a suggested action plan, designed from the data collected in the interviews, includes social and emotional intelligence, trauma-informed care, increased participant contacts, and professional development for staff. An analysis of organizational change and leadership best practices is also reviewed. The implications of this study show that first-generation and low-income students are resilient, but also face major life changes, which again, supports Tinto's theory that transition from high school to college is indeed linear. It also shows that prior participants need the continual support of their UBMS program to guide them throughout their college careers.


Department of Educational Administration., Educational Theory, First-generation, low-income, UBMS, pre-college program, social emotional learning, trauma-informed care, critical theory of love, Appalachia

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