Date of Award

Spring 5-7-2018

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in First Year Studies


First-Year and Transition Studies

Committee Chair

Ruth A. Goldfine, PhD

Additional Committee Member

Richard S. Mosholder, J.D., Ph.D.

Additional Committee Member

Hillary Hettinger Steiner, Ph.D.


Non-traditional learners are the fastest growing educational demographic in colleges throughout the country (Carney-Crompton and Tan, 2002). As they transition into college, some of these students participate in first-year seminar courses – courses that assist students in making the transition to college. Given the focus of these courses it is assumed that the first-year seminar faculty member influences student’s retention decisions. This thesis investigated the relationship between non-traditional learners and their first-year seminar faculty members at Kennesaw State University using a grounded theory approach. A total of 15 participants answered open-ended questions to determine emerging themes. These themes were examined to explain any re-enrollment behaviors. Additionally, 94 participants participated in a seven-point Likert scale survey modelled after Dr’s. Creasey, Jarvis, and Knapcik’s, (2009), “A Measure to Assess Student-Instructor Relationships” The results of that survey were used to measure descriptive statistics. The study found there to be no relationship a non-traditional student’s relationship with the first-year seminar instructors and retention beyond the first-semester.