Date of Award



© 2021 Kim Emery

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)



First Advisor

Ella Benson

Second Advisor

Ashwini Wagle

Third Advisor

Sara Flowers


High student achievement translates into high retention and graduation rates yet raising retention rates continues to be a challenge in U.S. health professions colleges. Institutions of higher education use a variety of program strategies to improve student success. Studies show that student success, although multi-factored, is most strongly influenced by faculty-student interactions. Radiologic technology programs have better retention rates compared to nursing programs but there is a lack of literature explaining this phenomenon. The purpose of this study was to explore how health professions faculty and students in radiologic technician and nursing programs understand faculty leadership behaviors related to the quality of faculty-student interactions and their impact on student success. Faculty and students from nursing and radiologic technology programs were interviewed to gather their views, and a cross-case analysis was used to compare similarities and differences between groups. Findings suggest that faculty and students of both divisions had similar understandings regarding the role of faculty leadership in student success. Both groups felt that faculty beliefs and faculty-student interactions were the most important factors in student success. Faculty noted that their perceptions, expectations, and prior experiences with students strongly influenced how they behaved towards students. Both faculty and student groups agreed that student self-efficacy was essential for student success and that it is vulnerable to fluctuation. Results indicated that negative experiences directly impacted student self-efficacy and success. Both student groups believed that faculty interactions impacted student success but expressed marked differences in their academic experiences and in their opinions about the culture of their programs. Nursing students were predominantly negative while radiology students were predominantly positive. Improvement in student experiences and retention rates would require examining where negative experiences occur, and establishing a positive program culture and educational partnerships with healthcare facilities to promote a culture of collaboration and learning.


Ed.D. Dissertation