Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy





First Advisor

Janice N. Friedel


As workforce shortages continue to emerge in the industries of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), the United States’ economic global competitiveness rides on higher education’s ability to produce a highly trained STEM workforce. To fill this workforce shortage and expand access to post-secondary degrees, higher education institutions must develop solid pathways to from the associates level to advanced degrees.

The applied baccalaureate (AB) degree has been present in higher education since the 1970s, and seen a re-emergence in recent years to create a pathway for students who have obtained the historically terminal Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree and help fill the STEM education gap. As the need for and interest in AB degrees continues to grow, it is critical for researchers, practitioners, and policymakers to examine the factors affecting the environment of these degrees to enhance the likelihood of successful integration. This qualitative study explored university and college administrators’ and faculty members’ perception of AB degrees and the internal, organizational, and external factors that affect perceptions of such degree. The results suggest that administrators and faculty members’ background characteristics and program type are associated with, academic position, and type of courses taught are associated with their viewpoints on internal, organizational, and external factors that affect the environment of AB degrees. The findings of this study are informative to academic leaders, faculty, administration, and policy makers who are interested in the development and/or sustainability of AB degrees at four-year institutions.


Copyright Owner

Lee John Geisinger



File Format


File Size

147 pages