Education and Human Sciences, College of (CEHS)


Date of this Version

Fall 12-5-2013


Ross, Philip. (2013). Community college pathways: A narrative inquiry with one student. EdD dissertation, University of Nebraska-Lincoln.


A DISSERTATION Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements For the Degree of Doctor of Education, Major: Educational Studies (Teaching, Curriculum and Learning), Under the Supervision of Professor Susan Wunder. Lincoln, Nebraska: December, 2013

Copyright (c) 2013 Philip M. Ross


Developmental education is a field that has a long history in higher education in the United States. Some have called it remedial education, but the field promotes a pedagogy that addresses what it claims is broader in the development of the whole person, his or cognitive, social/behavioral, and vocational growth. This study, set in a Midwestern community college, acknowledges the absence of recognition of the role of developmental education in higher education and responds to a lack of qualitative research in this area. A six-month study using narrative inquiry results in the documentary Crossroads Community College: Flying Solo and following research emphasize the importance of informal interviewing and the value of a student’s voice to illuminate experience in an educational institution. This context provides the foreground for the practitioner researcher to come into relationship with the research participant and an understanding of the difficult path one person faces on an uphill path he hopes will lead to college success. By looking at the story and the meanings made through and with the accompanying inquiry, a model for teachers to collaborate in the effort to liberate these voices and build capacity to teach in this field is an important part of this study, which is connected to ancient concepts of education as Bildung and Currere. This is perhaps ironic because as an effort to erase these seemingly faceless students from higher education grows, this study attempts to honor the subject that is the person, or research participant. This work attempts to make practical philosophy a mode of living that enables praxis, a capacity to transform oneself in light of experience. This is praxis that understands conduct within and without the classroom must be evaluated on more than efficacy or efficiency but also in terms of moral and social actions.

Advisor: Susan Wunder