Date of Award



© 2016 Victoria Kemper

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)



First Advisor

Briana Parsons

Second Advisor

Michael Patrick

Third Advisor

Paul Bao


This intrinsic case study examined retention practices utilized by a dean of education at a career college where student outcomes in retention and graduation met and exceeded the standards set forth by the institution’s accrediting agency and the U.S. Department of Education. Furthermore, it seeks to understand how members of the campus leadership and faculty perceive and enact these retention practices. The guiding themes of the literature review were leadership in educational settings as related to the actions of successful educational leaders and how these actions influence student persistence and retention. Distributed and transformative leadership were of particular importance. This study had a total of eighteen participants. The dean of education and the campus president were interviewed individually, while the peers of the dean of education, the programs directors, and faculty members were interviewed in four focus groups. Interviews were recorded through an online meeting service, and transcribed by the researcher. Overall, three themes emerged from the data analysis procedure: (a) focusing campus culture on retention, (b) understanding student needs through individual engagement, and (c) engaging program directors and faculty through distributed leadership. The retention initiatives and leadership actions of the dean of education are important to several stakeholders within the educational organization and each career college campus, including educational leadership, faculty, and perhaps most significantly, retention efforts are important to the student.


Ed.D. Dissertation