Date of Award

Winter 2008

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educ Foundations & Leadership


Community College Leadership

Committee Director

Dennis Gregory

Committee Member

Molly Duggan

Committee Member

Jaime Lester


Participation in an orientation program course and several student engagement and satisfaction factors have been identified as positively related to desirable student outcomes. This study explored student engagement, satisfaction, academic achievement, and retention for students based on their enrollment in an orientation course at Tidewater Community College (TCC) in Virginia. This study used a cross-sectional, static group comparison secondary data analysis approach to explore four research questions. The Community College Survey of Student Engagement (CCSSE) data used for this study came from the TCC spring 2005 Community College Student Report (CCSR) this study determined whether or not participation in an orientation course at TCC significantly impacted student engagement, satisfaction, academic achievement, and retention, and supported or challenged previous empirical evidence on the subject, especially the four-year university and college research abundantly available. The data was factor analyzed and explored using both descriptive and inferential statistics.

Findings yielded significant results in terms of student engagement, satisfaction, academic achievement, and retention at the community college level. Orientation participants interacted more with faculty and used academic support services (peer or other tutoring, skill labs, financial aid advising) than students who did not participate in orientation. Students who participated in orientation were significantly more likely to use. Also, students who participated in orientation reported that the institution encouraged them to spend significant amounts of time studying, offered the support services needed for success at this college, encouraged contact with students from different economic, social, and racial or ethnic backgrounds to expand appreciation of their peers, the primary objectives of the course. On the measure for student satisfaction, students appear to get along better with their peers and faculty than they do with the administrative personnel and offices, regardless of participation in orientation.

This study contributed to the gap in the research literature on community college students, particularly concerning participation in orientation. Several recommendations are provided for future research and practice.