Date of Award

January 2016

Degree Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

First Advisor

Charles S. Hausman

Second Advisor

Ryan M. Wilson

Third Advisor

James R. Bliss


This study examined the effect of GSD 101 Learning Communities (a cohort program for freshmen at Eastern Kentucky University) on the retention and first-year grade point average of first-time, full-time freshmen at the university. The study specifically examined students enrolled in GSD 101Z and ENG 101Z (the learning communities sections) in the Fall 2014 semester versus the students enrolled in the regular GSD 101 and ENG 101 classes during the same semester. A large institutional database was used to identify the students in the study and their demographic differences. Results showed that participation in learning communities did not make a significant difference in the fall-to-fall retention or the cumulative GPA after the first year. It did show, however, that students who have higher high school grade point averages are more likely to be retained and that high school GPA was a higher indicator of retention than ACT scores.