Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)



First Advisor

Karen Card


DFW rates at intuitions of higher education for students from underrepresented populations trended higher than majority students. A single explanatory case study provides insight to the factors impacting DFW rates in first-year gateway courses at a four-year, public, comprehensive institution. The study employed the use of focus groups of students, non-tenure-track faculty, and tenure-track faculty. In addition, institutional data was collected and used to triangulate to the data collected from focus groups. The inductive results showed multiple institutional barriers causing DFW rates among first-generation, Pell Grant, and/or students of color. Using Turner and Angulo’s (2018) theoretical framework of high-risk decision-making in organizations, the second section of the results highlighted how the propositions were supported with respect to the institution in the case study. Finally, a report was crafted to share with administrators highlighting the key takeaways and recommendations for the institution under study.

Subject Categories

Educational Leadership | Higher Education


attendance, decision-making, equity, faculty, social justice, students

Number of Pages



University of South Dakota



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