The hardest part is through: support services and graduate student persistence in the social sciences and humanities disciplines

Greene, Melanie Jennifer (2014) The hardest part is through: support services and graduate student persistence in the social sciences and humanities disciplines. Doctoral (PhD) thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Student development is an integral process of graduate education, requiring a delicate balance between challenge and support. While a lack of sufficient support has been identified as a contributing factor to non-persistence, there is an absence of literature that matches the provision of specific types of support services and programs with student and institutional outcomes at the graduate level. This study makes an original contribution to the study of graduate education in exploring the following question: What support services are available to assist graduate students and what effects, if any, do they have on persistence? A mixed methods approach was taken, consisting of an online survey, interviews, document analysis, and informal observation to attain a better understanding of the role of formal, institutional-based support services in students‟ decisions to stay (persist) or to leave graduate studies at the master‟s or doctoral level. There were a total of 152 survey respondents. This included individuals who were currently or had been previously enrolled in a graduate degree program in the Faculty of Arts at Memorial University between 2005 and 2012. Twenty follow-up interviews were conducted from a sample of those who completed the survey. Overall findings point to the need to make transparent to graduate students the role of institutional units and the support services they provide; and the need to promote and raise awareness of these services. Financial, departmental, and supervisory support were found to be the most important types of support having the most influence on students‟ decisions of whether or not to persist. Recommendations for policy, practice, and further research are presented.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral (PhD))
Item ID: 8081
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references (pages 163-176).
Department(s): Education, Faculty of
Date: October 2014
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Universities and colleges--Graduate work; Graduate students--Services for; Student affairs services; Student assistance programs; Social science students--Services for

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