Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



College of Education and Human Services


Counseling, Rehabilitation Counseling & Counseling Psychology

Committee Chair

Elizabeth A Dooley

Committee Co-Chair

Sebastian R Diaz

Committee Member

Bernadette M E Jungblut

Committee Member

Ann M Richards

Committee Member

Nathan M Sorber


This study conceptualized the desired domain of student learning in the first year of college as it pertains to a success program serving first-time, full-time undecided students at a land-grant and high research activity classified university. Trochim's Concept Mapping/Pattern Matching approach, an exploratory mixed methods research methodology, was used to collect and analyze data. The researcher sought the contribution of 23 participants including sixteen students, and seven faculty and staff members involved in the success program. As a group, participants generated 100 statements representing desired learning outcomes. They individually sorted the items into groups and rated them for relative importance and institutional efficacy. Multidimensional Scaling and Hierarchical Cluster Analysis were conducted to create various concept maps, the final one being a six-cluster concept map, representing the stakeholders' conceptualization of the domain being studied. The findings revealed the highest rated clusters for outcome importance---Independence and Academic Identity---and for institutional efficacy---Help/Resource Seeking and Interdependence. The faculty/staff group rated all clusters higher in terms of importance, compared to students. Both groups agreed on which clusters were the most and the least important. Regarding university efficacy, students rated all clusters higher than the faculty/staff group. The findings were also explored through document analysis and it was determined that they align with nationally established aspirational principles of excellence in the first year. The value of this study is that the findings can be translated into a valuable set of activities, strategies, and intervention areas that can be used to enhance student success.