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Faculty Validation and Persistence Among Nontraditional Community College Students

By: Elisabeth A. Barnett


This paper examines the extent to which community college students' experiences with validation by faculty contributed to their sense of academic integration in college, and their intent to persist in college. Previously, research on persistence has focused on student characteristics, academic preparedness, financial challenges, or out-of-class experiences; until now, faculty's role in influencing student persistence decisions has been largely unstudied.

The study was designed as an elaboration of constructs within Tinto's Longitudinal Model of Institutional Departure, incorporating Rendon's concept of validation—defined as interactions with students, initiated by faculty and others in the campus community, that engender feelings of self-worth and belief in the students' ability to succeed in the college environment. Using correlational methods, this study yielded evidence that faculty/student interaction involving validation influences students' sense of academic integration, which, in turn, influences their intent to persist.

A version of this paper was published as an article, "Validation Experiences and Persistence among Community College Students," in The Review of Higher Education, vol. 34, 2011.