Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Walker, David

Degree Name

Ed.D. (Doctor of Education)

Legacy Department

Department of Counseling and Higher Education (CAHE)


The purpose of this quantitative study was to examine the impact on students of customer service-oriented behaviors exhibited by faculty members and student advisors in a single geographic segment of a large institution of higher education in the for-profit sector headquartered in the midwestern United States. A single-case case study approach was used in order to explore students’ degree of satisfaction with customer service experiences and the extent to which these impacted their decisions to persist toward graduation from the university. A survey approach with a questionnaire distributed by email was used in order to gather data from students for statistical analysis in answering ten research questions. The work of both Tinto (1975) and Berg (2005) provided a theoretical context for this study and a basis for content of the survey items. The 111 students who responded with usable survey data also provided personal individual information regarding certain factors: age, gender, cumulative grade point average, transfer status, and degree program level and college. Analysis of the data suggests there were no statistically significant differences in student perceptions based on these factors, nor was there a statistically significant finding of a relationship between satisfaction with particular aspects of customer service and decisions to persist. The limited scope of the study, procedural barriers in gathering enough data for a sufficient sample size, and constraints inherent due to the nature of the single case-study approach prevent generalizability of the findings beyond this particular institution that was the focus of the study. Nevertheless, insights derived from this study form a basis for recommendations for policy and practice in higher education and for future research.


157 pages




Northern Illinois University

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