Student attrition from distance and limited-residency doctoral programs is significantly higher than that from traditional programs. The focus of this paper is the development and application of a survey instrument, the Doctoral Student Connectedness Scale, designed to identify students at risk of dropout. The study focused exclusively on students currently working on their dissertations with results indicating that low feelings of student-to-student and student-to-faculty connectedness in the learning environment may be predictive of departure from the program. This study supports the work of Lovitts (2001) and others who have also recognized connectedness as an integral part of the dissertation experience. Recommendations are made for addressing these issues through various initiatives that administrators, faculty, and students can support including the design and development of a doctoral student community of practice (CoP).
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/steven-terrell/41/