Support systems: A comparison of factors that influence adult doctoral and undergraduate students who are employed full time

Iris Michele Saltiel, Fordham University

Abstract

This study investigated factors that influence adult students in the familial, work, and college environments. Mid-level career professionals employed in corporate or educational settings who were undergraduate or doctoral students and alumni comprised the sample.^ Drawing on the literature of support systems, higher education, adult learners, and the workplace, the assumption was made that adult students are affected by the home, work, and college environments. Network theory provided an analysis of each environment as a system of support.^ Principles of qualitative research were employed in a comparative case study. The sample consisted of two groups of 20 adult students over the age of 30. The first group of 20 consisted of adults employed full time in business and industry; half were enrolled in an undergraduate degree program designed for working adults and half were recent alumni. The second group of 20 consisted of adults employed full time in education; half were enrolled in an accelerated cohort-based doctoral program and half were recent alumni. All participants were interviewed once using a structured interview guide. In addition, the "Acknowledgments and Dedications" section of doctoral alumni dissertations and workplace documents were also examined. Analysis of the data revealed supports and barriers in each environment. It was found that the two groups studied were more similar than dissimilar. Both groups indicated using supports within all three environments. All participants used resources in combinations which previous literature had not suggested as being useful or necessary to successful completion.^ The findings suggest that an adult student with multiple responsibilities needs to utilize resources within all three environments of support. ^

Subject Area

Educational administration|Adult education|Individual & family studies

Recommended Citation

Saltiel, Iris Michele, "Support systems: A comparison of factors that influence adult doctoral and undergraduate students who are employed full time" (1994). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI9511244.
https://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI9511244

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