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Faculty perceptions of developmental education delivery changes in Nebraska community colleges

David W Hamilton, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


This dissertation studied changes in developmental education delivery within the six Nebraska community colleges. Nationally, developmental education is under intense review, but published research has mostly been conducted by university researchers. The faculty interviewed for this research are largely not aware of the crisis in developmental education, the research currently being done, or states' efforts at reform. Without their voice, involvement in change, and their "buy-in" and acceptance of proposed reforms, substantive change in developmental education will not occur. This research described the current state of developmental education in Nebraska and presents best practices as perceived by faculty. Qualitative data were gathered from interviews with 26 faculty employed by Nebraska's six community colleges. The research found that the most frequent changes related to developmental education in Nebraska's community colleges were altering admissions testing and placement procedures to make them more effective and accelerating student progress through developmental education courses by combining levels of developmental math and English. The faculty perceived that new instructional delivery methods that work well with one group of students may not work well for another group of students and, consequently, they are skeptical of efforts to computerize instruction. The interviewees were emphatic in their belief that student successes came by spending one-on-one time with students and, because the students in their classrooms were so varied, no one solution was possible. Although the faculty believed they are effective in working with students who need developmental education, they recognized their need for more specific training in this area. It is essential to the success of Nebraska's future workforce that community colleges help students transition more effectively through developmental education and into credit-bearing courses. Based on the results of this research which shows how change is occurring in Nebraska's community colleges, the author proposes a theory of staged change in community colleges.

Subject Area

Community college education|Mathematics education|Literacy|Reading instruction

Recommended Citation

Hamilton, David W, "Faculty perceptions of developmental education delivery changes in Nebraska community colleges" (2014). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3632210.