Publication Date



Open access

Embargo Period


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EDD)


Educational and Psychological Studies (Education)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Debbiesiu L. Lee

Second Committee Member

Scotney Evans

Third Committee Member

Blaine Fowers

Fourth Committee Member

Molly Ott


This phenomenological study explored community college students’ perspectives on the impact of student-faculty interactions on their development of competence and of purpose (Chickering & Reisser, 1993). The study was conducted at one mid-size campus of a large, predominantly Hispanic-serving community college in Southeastern Florida, where most students are first generation college students. A total of eight student volunteers engaged in one-on-one interviews designed to understand how community college students experienced the influence and effects of student-faculty relationships on the development of (1) their competence and (2) their purpose. Through a combination of coding methods, 13 meaningful categories describing the phenomenon were derived. Four themes emerged from deeper analysis and consolidation of the categories, to include: (1) the impact of faculty availability coupled with genuine care on students’ development of competence and of purpose; (2) the value of academic rigor combined with faculty teaching excellence in the development of students’ competence and improved confidence; (3) the motivational effect of faculty success stories and student involvement in faculty initiatives on the development of students’ purpose and self-esteem; and (4) the role of faculty in student development through transitions and in overcoming fear. Possible implications of the study findings for community college faculty and administration are discussed.


community college; student development; student-faculty interactions; developing competence; developing purpose