David Edwards

Date Approved


Embargo Period


Document Type


Degree Name

Ed.D. Educational Leadership


Educational Leadership


College of Education

First Advisor

Kerrigan, Monica


Underprepared community college students


Community College Education Administration


The purpose of this embedded single-case study is to explore and better understand what social and institutional factors account for the success or lack of success in developing, delivering, and sustaining learning communities in support of at-risk, underprepared students enrolled at the community college where the research was conducted. Towards that end, theories of social capital, social justice education, and emergent organizational strategies are aligned with practitioner perspectives in an examination of two student learning community initiatives at the college. Faith capital (Hanson, 2001) is a secular notion aligned with the principles of social capital as an integrative locus for institutional effectiveness and as a means to socially-just educational practice. It is collectively engendered by members of social networks whose principles, espoused values, and associability interact without strict dependence on a prevailing organizational hierarchy at the college. In practicing faith capital, members of social networks lend their knowledge, expertise, and determination to the production of social capital and the provision of public good. The public good produced by these social networks are student learning communities providing enhanced pathways to postsecondary degrees for at-risk, underprepared students at the college.