Date of Award

11-19-2009

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)

Degree Program

Global Leadership - with a specialization in Corporate Leadership

Department

College of Business and Management

First Advisor

Eldon Bernstein

Second Advisor

Ralph Norcio

Third Advisor

John Cipolla

Abstract

According to the American Council on Education (2006), it is estimated that more than 41% of students enrolled in degree granting programs in higher education are nontraditional, adult students age 22 or older. Many of these 6 million students are entering graduate school as working adults. According to previous research on non-traditional students, participants may be motivated by a variety of reasons both intrinsic and extrinsic. Understanding adult students' motivations to enroll in a graduate school degree program is critical for graduate schools to remain viable and sustainable as they seek to attract tuition paying students.

The purpose of this study is to determine the motivations of adults enrolling in an evening graduate degree program and to determine if specific variables predict the program of study. The study utilized a non-experimental, quantitative, correlational design to survey adult students currently enrolled in an evening graduate degree through the School of Business at Pfeiffer University, a small liberal arts college in North Carolina. The Graduate School has several satellite campuses across North Carolina. Students in the Master of Business Administration (MBA), Master of Health Administration (MHA), Master of Science in Leadership and Organizational Change (MSL), the dual degree of MBAIMHA, and the dual degree of MBAJMSL programs at all campuses were invited to participate in the study. The sample consisted of adults between the ages of 22 and 65 enrolled in one of the graduate degree programs offered through the School of Business and will consist of at least 290 participants. Participants will be surveyed in the classroom during class time. The researcher utilized multinomial logistic regression and factor analysis to test relationships of the independent variables (demographics, motivational orientation, and specific life triggers) on the log odds of being enrolled in a particular graduate program.

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