Date of Award
© 2017 Lisa Myers
Doctor of Education (EdD)
This qualitative study explored the narratives of ten post-traditional students enrolled in a degree completion program in a small, regional public university. The narratives provide insight of post-traditional students and their experiences with self-authorship: a way of knowing that empowers people to skillfully navigate life from consciously constructed epistemological, intrapersonal, and interpersonal paradigms. The findings in this study revealed that 6 of 10 of the participants demonstrated decision-making at lower levels of self-authorship, with half those indicating movement toward self-authorship and the other half exhibiting no indication of self-authorship. The participants also demonstrated the same patterns of self-authorship development as that revealed by traditional students. Self-authorship does not automatically generalize across situations or developmental dimensions, and it is not a permanent attribute once attained. Its presence fluctuates throughout life and requires ongoing reflection and exercise to remain active.
The majority of the participants revealed some degree of underdeveloped self-authorship, which reflected the already established research, and demonstrated the same struggles with self-authorship development as traditional students. The findings of this study suggest the need for holistic developmental models of support to the growing post-traditional student population in higher education, specifically in the area of self-authorship development. Extending support for self-authorship development to the growing population of post-traditional students in college can address concerns that many adults do not exhibit self-authored behavior. Lack of self-authorship may limit successful interaction with complex and/or ambiguous situations in professional and personal settings. Such support can also help students realize the self-development potential in the journey toward earning a degree and hopefully lead them to understand their own self-authorship as an ongoing life-learning project.
Myers, Lisa Wardlaw, "Exploring Self-Authorship In Post-Traditional Students: A Narrative Study In Students’ Meaning-Making" (2017). All Theses And Dissertations. 119.