Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy





First Advisor

Larry Ebbers


Within the larger group of students who are placed on academic suspension for failure to meet the expectations of minimum academic performance, there is a unique subset of students who seek reinstatement to the institution and, furthermore, who are able to achieve academic success in subsequent semesters. Despite the significant amount of empirical research that exists on the topics of student achievement and attrition, there is still much to be understood about academic suspension and, in particular, the academic resilience of academically suspended college students. This qualitative study utilized a phenomenological approach to explore the academic resilience of academically suspended college students at a state-supported, midsized, comprehensive, 4-year university in the Midwest with a total enrollment of around 12,200 students. The population for this study consisted of 13 undergraduate, degree-seeking college students who were academically suspended, later reinstated, and subsequently in good academic standing at the same institution. This study was designed to explore the experience of academic suspension and to understand the deep perspective shifts and learning that may have occurred as a result of that experience through the use of Mezirow’s (1991, 2000) transformational learning theory. Furthermore, the study was designed to uncover and illuminate how students’ new frames of reference may have contributed to their subsequent academic resilience upon reinstatement to the same institution from which they were academically suspended. Conclusions were drawn based upon an analysis of the data, and they are embedded within the theoretical lens used to frame this study. It was found that being placed on academic suspension rose to the level of the disorienting dilemma; students built competence, self-confidence, and persistence as they moved through the experience; and that the experience led to perspective transformation.


Copyright Owner

Jennifer Jill Suchan



File Format


File Size

232 pages