Award Date

December 2018

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Psychology & Higher Education

First Committee Member

Vicki Rosser

Second Committee Member

Nancy Lough

Third Committee Member

Nathan Slife

Fourth Committee Member

Howard Gordon

Number of Pages



One major barrier to success, for first-time, full-time college students, is course workload (Bowyer, 2012). How students respond to their situation and the barriers they face may influence decisions they make about classes in which they should enroll or those they should avoid, completing or dropping a class during the semester, and persisting from term-to-term and year-to-year. In an effort to help students succeed, colleges often give them a specified set of core courses and a specific or even prescribed pathway to complete the “general education” requirements. These core courses such as mathematics, communication, and English, among others, taken separately might not present any great challenge for well-prepared students. However, for an underprepared student who is directed to take not one, but possibly three or even four of these core courses in their first semester, this could present a huge challenge.

The purpose of this case study is to determine first-time, full-time, students’ perceptions of workload in their first semester at a large southwestern community college. The study will examine students’ expectations regarding their course workload through Tinto’s (2012) conceptual framework for institutional action (Expectations, Support, Assessment and Feedback, Involvement).


Academic Workload; Guided Pathways


Community College Education Administration | Community College Leadership | Education

File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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