Date of Award

Summer 8-1-2020

Degree Type

Open Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

First Advisor

Sheri Hardee

Second Advisor

Donna Gessell

Third Advisor

Adam Jordan

Abstract

ABSTRACT

The purpose of this case study is to conduct research on the impacts of the University of North Georgia’s (UNG) Blue Ridge Scholars (BRS) program offered on the UNG Blue Ridge campus in Fannin County, Georgia. The UNG Blue Ridge campus, one of five campuses that comprise the entire UNG institution, provides college courses for the first and second years of study only. Fannin County is located in the most northern service area of the university. The location is significant due to the purposeful selection of a north Georgia area in the Appalachian region that had no post-secondary institution for local students to attend; thereby the creation of the Blue Ridge campus was incentivized to increase the opportunity for rural students to begin their collegiate education. The Appalachian region, including Fannin County, Georgia, constitutes culture and community to be celebrated, yet demographics continue to show low college completion rates. The BRS program was created with the intention to identify students at risk of not completing college. Being a first-generation college student, having lower test scores, and holding a job are some of the recognized factors for risk of leaving college. The UNG BRS program provides additional advising, academic support, and student engagement by service-learning activities to increase retention, reduce barriers and provide a pathway for students to continue their post-secondary education at a four-year campus. Findings were centered on transitions from high school to college, and from a small college campus to a larger, four-year campus, and show positive results stemming from participating in the BRS program.

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