Degree Type

Dissertation

Date of Award

2017

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Education

Major

Education

First Advisor

Janice N. Friedel

Second Advisor

Larry Ebbers

Abstract

The purpose of this phenomenological study was to explore and gain an in-depth understanding of the day-to-day lived engagement experiences of six adult ELL students enrolled in an advanced-manufacturing program at a midwestern community college. Specifically, this study collected the rich engagement stories andmeaning participants assignedto their stories and experiences. The essence of these experiences was solicited by asking two questions: (a) What are the perceived on-campus engagement experiences and social networks that support and promote success amongadult ELL students in advanced manufacturing and(b) Are there perceived engagement experience issues and barriers for adult ELL students? Two theories, Alexander Astin’s student involvement theory and Malcolm Knowles’adult learning theory, provided theoretical lenses for the study. A constructivist epistemological foundation, postmodernist perspective, and qualitative phenomenology methodological approach guided the collection and analysis of the data. During one-on-one semistructured interviews, participants were asked to describe their interaction experiences with program faculty, peers, and staff and how they perceivedthese experiences. Based on participants’feedback and my in-class and lab observations, four major themes emerged as meaningful orbarriers for students’engagement: (a) multiple life roles,(b) language, (c) faculty and employer partnerships, and (d) online technology. Given that students placeda high value on interaction with and between faculty and employers, thatstudents benefited from the use of online technology due to their limited English skills, and that positive interactions seemedto increase the likelihood for student success, three recommendations to enhance student interaction emerged.

xCommunity colleges seeking to build robust programs to support adult ELL students in advanced manufacturing programs should consider: (a) forming partnerships with local and regional employers;(b) providing ongoing professional development for faculty andstaff;(c) forming partnerships with local nonprofit organizations;and (d) exploringthe use of technology to engage students,thereby expanding and supporting adult ELL students in higher education. Recommendations for future research include conducting additional investigations into the engagement experiences of (a) adult female ELL students in advanced manufacturing,(b) ELL students in degree programs that adopt a distance learning platform (c) ELL students in the K–12 system, and (d) faculty perceptions of adult ELL students.xCommunity colleges seeking to build robust programs to support adult ELL students in advanced manufacturing programs should consider: (a) forming partnerships with local and regional employers;(b) providing ongoing professional development for faculty andstaff;(c) forming partnerships with local nonprofit organizations;and (d) exploringthe use of technology to engage students,thereby expanding and supporting adult ELL students in higher education. Recommendations for future research include conducting additional investigations into the engagement experiences of (a) adult female ELL students in advanced manufacturing,(b) ELL students in degree programs that adopt a distance learning platform (c) ELL students in the K–12 system, and (d) faculty perceptions of adult ELL student

Copyright Owner

Ahmed Kwasi Onwona-Agyeman

Language

en

File Format

application/pdf

File Size

184 pages

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