Date Approved


Embargo Period


Document Type


Degree Name

EdD Educational Leadership (Doctor of Education)


Educational Services and Leadership


College of Education

First Advisor

Coaxum III, James

Second Advisor

Walpole, MaryBeth

Third Advisor

Spearman, Patrick


Minorities--Education (Higher); Values clarification


Higher Education


The literature examining the retention of students of color is very much like a puzzle. Many scholars have contributed to the puzzle attempting to make a complete body of knowledge regarding student departure. However, a void in the literature seems to be the role of students' values in the retention puzzle, specifically, whether the process of clarifying personal values would affect the retention of students of color in higher education.

A transitional summer bridge program was modified using a conceptual framework anchored in the examination of espoused values versus values in use. The model was developed using Argyris and Schon's (1974) single-loop/double-loop learning. Participants engaged in a four-step values clarification process aimed at developing an awareness of personal values that guide action patterns, attitudes, and beliefs.

This action research project encompassed nine cycles. The study reports how students engaged in a values clarification process through a transitional summer bridge program. The findings suggest that clarity in personal values can be useful in impacting factors associated with retention. Additional studies should be considered to deepen an understanding of this framework in student retention.