Re/Locating Students: A Story of Transition From A Two-Year Institution To A Four-Year

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Institution Granting Degree

Miami University

Cedarville University School or Department

English, Literature, and Modern Languages

First Advisor

Morris Young

Second Advisor

Kate Ronald

Third Advisor

LuMing Mao


Education, two-year, relocation, community college-university transition


This dissertation outlines the current controversy surrounding community colleges and their impact on social mobility, and sheds light on the question of how the baccalaureate gap, which says despite similarities in aspirations, socioeconomic status, family background, and high school preparation, there are at least 17% fewer baccalaureate degrees awarded to students who begin at two-year institutions than to those who begin at four-year, can be narrowed. Through ethnographic methods, the written and oral stories of eleven students who have successfully relocated from two-year to four-year institutions are analyzed and patterns identified, offering insight into what faculty and administrators on both two-year and four-year campuses, as well as students themselves, can do to aid in relocation.

This dissertation concludes that students must make the first steps toward successful relocation by transcending their environments by seeking to fill emotional and/or intellectual needs, not simply vocational and/or financial needs. Once transcendence has occurred, educators can aid in relocation by embracing and utilizing what Mike Rose (1989) terms "humane liberal education." Institutional administrators can also aid in relocation through the employment of a liaison whose sole purpose is to serve as an advisor and companion to students who have, or who aspire to, relocate.