Date of Award

5-2016

Culminating Project Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Higher Education Administration: M.S.

Department

Educational Administration and Higher Education

College

School of Education

First Advisor

Steven McCullar

Second Advisor

Christine Imbra

Third Advisor

Jodi Kuznia

Fourth Advisor

Melanie Guentzel

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Keywords and Subject Headings

Graduate Student, Engagement, Master’s Student, Graduate Degree

Abstract

This study evaluated the way in which master’s degree students report engagement at three institutions within the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System (MnSCU. Utilizing a quantitative online survey, participants’ perspectives were compared based on age, relationship status, and family status to determine factors which influence their engagement. Overall, the population reported engagement as related to both academic and social factors; however, their views of the statistically significant factors differed.

Key factors included family, academic, and work demands. Single participants, 20-24 year olds, and single participants who either had no children or were expecting were more likely to report statistically significant factors as having a positive influence on their engagement, whether academically or socially. Conversely, those who identified as engaged or married, 31-61 year olds, or those who have children reported more challenges in their engagement. The study successfully provided framework as to the views and needs of master’s students, including examples of sub-populations who would benefit from increased support, it also demonstrated the need for additional research on master’s students, both overall and within sub-populations.

Comments/Acknowledgements

I am incredibly thankful for the support of so many individuals who helped me to be successful through the journey of the creation of this thesis. First, to my committee: Dr. McCullar, Dr. Imbra, Dr. Kuznia, and Dr. Guentzel, thank you for your patience and belief in me. I appreciate your continual support, in the unique ways you each provided it. It is because of all of you, I have a thesis I can be proud of.

Thank you to all of the participants who completed my survey, without whom I would have no research, and to Randy Kolb and the Statistical Consulting and Research Center at St. Cloud State University for all of the help in the analysis process.

I would also like to thank my supervisor, Sami Bosacki, and my practicum supervisor, Peggy Sarnicki, for their flexibility within my roles, as well as for providing support when my frustration or stress overwhelmed my motivation. Similarly, thank you to my cohort members, especially Cody Ryberg and Natalie Sitter, who listened to me talk in circles as I tried to determine phrasing, provided work space outside of my apartment, and support when I felt overwhelmed.

Finally, thank you also to my parents and sister, who understood that even when I traveled seven hours to see them, a significant portion of my time would be spent glued to my laptop as I searched for references, wrote, or made edits to the document. I am immensely grateful for the support I received though the entirety of this process.

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