Date of Award



© 2022 Megan Williams

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)



First Advisor

Debra Welkley

Second Advisor

Gizelle Luevano

Third Advisor

Rebecca Mirick


The purpose of this quantitative study was to determine the factors that correlate to successful outcomes on honors theses at an undergraduate public institution compared to findings collected from several private liberal arts colleges. Utilizing Kuh’s (2008) theory of engagement and success as a theoretical framework, this study sought to understand how participation in a single high-impact practice – a culminating senior experience – impacted sense of belonging, engagement and success in an honors senior thesis. An anonymous online survey (Trosset & Weisler, 2018) was deployed to answer two research questions: does a positive student-faculty relationship correlate to engagement and success for students at an undergraduate public institution; and are there differences in findings of factors that correlate to success on a culminating senior experience at a public institution compared to the private liberal arts colleges (Trosset & Weisler, 2018). Graduating seniors and recent graduates of an honors program with a required senior thesis served as the study population. Results of the quantitative correlational analysis demonstrated a moderate relationship between student-faculty relationship and student commitment or quality of engagement with their thesis and a near moderate relationship between student preparation for their thesis and student commitment. Future studies will incorporate measurable evidence of success with a larger sample of capstones and independent ratings of student work to achieve generalizability of data. Finally, this study recommends further investigation between faculty advising, independent rubric scores, and thesis grade to analyze the relationship between quality and effort.


Ed.D. Dissertation