Dissertation: Angelo Williams

Cohort 1, published 2010


Leadership Implications of Inreach: Qualitative Study of Retention Intervention for African American Community College Students


Too few African American community college students in California, complete, persist or graduate and the expansion of successful programs to mitigate these conditions are cost prohibitive or programmatically restricted to small traditional student populations. Faced with this situation, one college expanded an informal, low-cost retention intervention, INREACH. This study is concerned with interactions between student and institution within inreach interventions and focuses on the student-institution interaction as its basic unit of analysis.

Data Sources: Sources of of data include information from intake/use forms, interviews with selected students and in depth interviews with students. Additional data was collected from college employees involved in the INREACH intervention and from observations of the INREACH interventions over time. Finally data was college from document review comparing student reports to college reports about a student’s success/progress.

Conclusions Reached: Within the three types of INREACH (informal, formal , radical) employed a common implementation of early, intrusive, consistent and unusually close contact between students, specifically non-program aligned African American students and INREACH practitioners was present within the interventions. INREACH intervention participants reported an overall positive effect specifically the practices ability to bind students closer to the institution. Students reported the INREACH interventions, especially peer to peer communications, as a significant investment of student psychological energy. Relationships between student and institution within the INREACH intervention were characterized as non-transactional, inspirational/spiritual and familial. The underlying method of the three types of INREACH identified can be summarized in one five principled model for interventions and administrative practice (Wonder, Wander, Check In, Check Up, Check Out). Although student participants reported that INREACH was an expression of institutional integrity and institutional commitment to student welfare, certain micro-abrasions presented by extra institutional forces (Police Department, Contracted Food Services) threaten to retard institutional connectivity with non-program aligned African American students. Leadership implications include overall reorganization of the institutional organizational structure within community colleges based on increasing and enhancing one on one contact with students by every executive, administrator, faculty and staff employee. Specific leadership implications include reorganization of executive, administrator, faculty and staff duty statements and practices. Enhancements to student services practices including the introduction of an Office of INREACH to coordinate all ‘student contact’ activities campus wide.

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