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Examining the Implementation of Appreciative Advising and its Relationship to Community College Students’ Intent to Persist

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More than half of the students who start this year at a community college will not return to the same institution the following year. This persistent problem negatively impacts students, institutions, and society at-large. However, institutions that experience greater success

More than half of the students who start this year at a community college will not return to the same institution the following year. This persistent problem negatively impacts students, institutions, and society at-large. However, institutions that experience greater success in retaining students place academic advising initiatives at the core of their retention efforts. The Appreciative Advising Model (AAM) may be uniquely suited to promoting student persistence because the AAM engages a student in long-term planning, showing how their current and future academic efforts can be aligned to achieve their goals. Employing the AAM, advisors use open-ended questions to uncover a students’ dreams, and then co-construct, with the student, a set of systematic goals uniquely tailored to help the student reach their dreams. As part of this study, the AAM was implemented as an innovation at a community college advising center. Guided by a framework that includes theories of social constructivism, positive psychology, and appreciative inquiry, this qualitative action research study employed semi-structured interviews and focus groups with students and advisors to explore their perceptions and experiences related to the AAM as a potential tool to enhance community college
retention. The goal of this study was to chronicle the implementation of a new advising model for a community college—the AAM—study the perceptions and experiences related to the new model, and to assess the model’s influence on a student’s likelihood of persisting at their community college. This work increases the understanding of the AAM
in a community college setting and results may have implications for community colleges, advising centers, and retention efforts.

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2021