Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Abraham S. Fischler College of Education


Sherilyn Poole

Committee Member

Theodore Kinasewitz


academic advisors, distance learning, quality assurance, student retention


The popularity of distance learning has increased among higher education students owing to its flexibility and convenience, as it enables learning from any location and at any time. Despite the substantial number of enrollments, distance learners are experiencing high attrition rates, leading to low completion rates compared to students enrolled in traditional in-person courses.

Academic advising is a significant contributor to student retention and an effective intervention used to support students at-risk of dropping out; therefore, advisors must provide the same degree of support to their distance learners as they do to their face-to-face advisees. This applied dissertation was designed to assess the quality of academic advisers' practices and determine if their current retention strategies need to be enhanced to successfully minimize attrition rates among distance learners.The researcher designed a web-based survey with multiple-choice and Likert-scaled questions to capture data for the study. The instrument was sent to academic advisors at a college in South Florida who advise distance learners. The researcher examined what specific academic advising approaches are applied to engage and retain distance learners, how academic advisors foster cognitive development for academic success, and how academic advisors identify and support at-risk distance learners. The study reveals the findings of advisors’ practices, implications of findings, and suggestions for future research.