Graduation Term


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Educational Administration and Foundations: Educational Administration

Committee Chair

James C. Palmer


Using focus groups, this study sought to understand whether instructors at community colleges who teach developmental education perceive that they act as institutional agents. Institutional agents are instructors who go beyond classroom instruction to advocate for students, provide regular advice and guidance, or act as a "bridge" to resources for the purposes of helping the student build social capital within the institution. The findings of this study suggest that faculty are committed to helping students in developmental education adapt to and be successful in college. However, the conditions under which most instructors work can make it difficult for them to focus on building or leveraging social capital. Significantly, instructors in the sample interpreted the concept of the institutional agent to reflect the unique characteristics of students enrolled in developmental education at community colleges and also their own material conditions within the institution.


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