Date of Award

Summer 8-1-2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctorate of Education, Ed.D.


College of Education



First Advisor

Chris Jenkins, Ed.D.

Second Advisor

Mary Robinson, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

John Yoder, Ed.D.


The purpose of this study is to explore the perceptions of the effectiveness of a first-year experience program at one institution from the perspectives of the students, faculty, and staff through interviews and observations. This study was conducted at a community college located in Palm Desert, California on their first-year experience program, also referred to as EDGE. First-year experience programs were designed to focus on incoming students and their developmental education to enhance the students’ academic preparedness, social integration into college, and decrease social barriers to education. Many students entering college, particularly community colleges, are underprepared in their basic skills of English, math and/or reading and are not prepared for the rigors of college. Due to community colleges open admissions, it has created a large surplus of students entering underprepared for college level course rigor and needing various levels of remedial education in English, math and/or reading prior to beginning college level coursework. This has led to lower completion rates and resulted in community colleges implementing first-year experience programs to assist students with basic skills and in navigating through college. Although first-year experience programs are slowly becoming institutionalized in various community colleges, this study investigates the perceived effectiveness of the students, faculty, and staff who have experienced the program. Institutions of higher education may find the results of this study helpful as they examine implementing a first-year experience program at their institution or review their current practices.