Date Approved


Embargo Period


Document Type


Degree Name

EdD Educational Leadership


Educational Services and Leadership


College of Education


Walpole, Mary Beth

Committee Member 1

Sernak, Kathleen S.

Committee Member 2

Linfante, Felix A.


Action Research, Developmental Education, Faculty Development, First Year Experience, Learning Communities, Student Development


Community colleges; Professional learning communities


Community College Leadership


The purposes of this action research study were to: examine the (a) impact of linking basic skills English and College Success courses on the engagement and satisfaction of students and faculty at a branch campus of a large community college, (b) chronicle changes in scheduling, registration, and assignment of faculty as the initiatives are grown, and (c) examine my espoused servant leadership and social justice orientation, as I lead the project using Kotter's (1996) eight-step process for creating major change.

The quality of the relationship between the learning community faculty members had an impact on satisfaction for students and faculty. Faculty who chose to work together because of shared traits or interests were more engaged and satisfied than those who chose a partner of convenience, or those assigned to teach a learning community. Positional power plays a significant role in growing learning communities, as does the development of personal relationships with key stakeholders. Action research methods allowed me to participate and lead the change project through four cycles of data collection: a quantitative study; a qualitative questionnaire; interviews with faculty and students; and an ad hoc work group of professionals from across the college community. Student learning communities and their potential impact on the college's culture is discussed in the context of the community college mission and learning organizations.