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Stories of Greatness and Honor: A Narrative Inquiry of First-Generation College Students Who Are Community College Honors Program Graduates

Ryan Hunter Diehl, University of Nebraska - Lincoln

Abstract

This narrative inquiry tells the stories of first-generation community college students who were honors program graduates to discover what led to their joining the honors program, how it affected their college experiences, how it may have assisted with their persistence and completion of their associate’s degree, and how the honors program opportunities may have benefited them after graduation. The study was guided by the following research puzzles: (1) What experiences led to first-generation college students becoming involved in a community college honors program? (2) How do first-generation college students recall/relate their experience navigating a community college honors program? (3) What experiences in the community college honors program did first-generation college students have that played a role in the completion of their associate’s degree? (4) What experiences in the community college honors program did the first-generation college students have that affected their lives after they graduated from the community college? Data collection involved semi-structured interviews with nine first-generation college students who completed the requirements to graduate with honors at a community college in the Midwest. To further leverage the narrative inquiry of participants’ stories, Renn and Arnold’s (2003) reconceptualized Bronfenbrenner’s (1993) ecological model of student development was utilized to analyze the peer culture the participants encountered and the influences that externally surrounded them. The participants’ stories demonstrated how honors programs fit within the mission of community colleges and assist with fighting a negative stigma regarding two-year institutions in the macrosystem. The study concludes by offering implications for both research and practice based upon the participants’ stories.

Subject Area

Higher education|Community college education

Recommended Citation

Diehl, Ryan Hunter, "Stories of Greatness and Honor: A Narrative Inquiry of First-Generation College Students Who Are Community College Honors Program Graduates" (2020). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI27955800.
https://digitalcommons.unl.edu/dissertations/AAI27955800

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