Date of Award

January 2016

Degree Type

Open Access Dissertation

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

First Advisor

Charles S. Hausman

Department Affiliation

Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

Second Advisor

Deborah L. West

Department Affiliation

Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

Third Advisor

James R. Bliss

Department Affiliation

Educational Leadership and Policy Studies


This dissertation depicts the lives of ten students who are enrolled in developmental education courses at a rural community college in Appalachian Mountains. They share their home life, life experiences and struggles faced; however, they want to better themselves and that motivation keeps them going. This study is important study due to the fact little qualitative research has been conducted in the past reflecting the lives of the Appalachian student. Also, this dissertation provides a historical background of developmental education and how it plays an essential role in community colleges. The problem is that students are coming to college unprepared for college level courses. Also, there has been an increase in the number of students who must take a developmental education course. The staggering fact is these students are traditional students who recently graduated from high school. This study will shed light on factors that affect student’s college readiness at the community college level in the rural Appalachian Mountains. Moreover, the purpose of this study will articulate the students’ beliefs of what issues affected their academic pathway.