This qualitative study was designed to identify factors that might affect the psychological and educational wellness of nontraditional students in nontraditional graduate programs in Education. Specifically, informants were selected purposefully from three Oregon State University extended-campus graduate programs in Education. Student informants were working professionals with family obligations. Faculty informants were selected because of their extensive involvement in the delivery and instruction of these programs. The informants shared their experiences and opinions in focus group and in-depth interviews. The initial focus group interview yielded basic concepts and categories that guided subsequent in-depth interviews with nine students and three faculty members. Transcripts of the in-depth interviews, along with focus group data, were crafted into narrative profiles of the informants. Analysis and comparison of the informants' profiles enabled examination of patterns and commonalities that appeared to be present among their experiences. The following conclusions were generated from the findings: 1. Family support and involvement are foundational factors in the attainment of the degree. 2. Financial implications must be of prime concern in the student's preliminary plans to enroll in a graduate program. 3. Wellness, both psychological and physical, can be significantly impacted by preoccupation with the academic demands of the program. 4. Time management is basic to successfully balancing family and career responsibilities and the institutional demands of higher education. 5. Workplace support and the field application of course work are critical elements in maintaining career momentum while undertaking a meaningful learning experience. 6. Institutional and program requirements must be clearly understood by the student at the time of admission. 7. The program coordinator and the student's major professor are the main agents for institutional interface and outcome attainment. 8. Flexibility is required on the part of all stakeholders in these programs. This is especially important in three areas: (a) scheduling, (b) delivery, and (c) curriculum and instruction. 9. The cohort model provides a qsecond familyq that is generally the best coping mechanism within the program. This study has implications for all stakeholders in nontraditional higher education: administrators, faculty, students, and employers.Flexibility is required on the part of all stakeholders in these programs. This is especially important in three areas: (a) scheduling, (b) delivery, and (c) curriculum and instruction. 9.
|Title||:||Nontraditional Students in Nontraditional Graduate Programs in Education|
|Author||:||Allan A. Brazier|