A Restorative Momentum Model of Academic Success for Students Returning from Academic Dismissal: A Mixed Methods Approach
While much research on student success has been conducted on retention, attrition and college completion among those that voluntarily withdraw from college, few studies have focused on involuntary withdrawal in the form of academic dismissal. More importantly, even less scholarship has been devoted to the subsequent restoration of academic momentum for returning students. The purpose of this study was to conceptualize a more holistic approach in examining and understanding the academic and psychosocial experiences of students returning from academic dismissal at a community college that centered on pre-college influences, classroom teaching and learning experiences, support services and student motivational attributes. Based on a Restorative Academic Momentum Model of Success, the study sought to examine the characteristics of students returning from academic dismissal with a focus on student experiences while they were involved in a program designed to restore academic momentum. Using a sequential, partial mixed methods approach, descriptive and qualitative data were collected through a survey (N = 171) and student interviews (N = 11). The findings disconfirmed the stereotype that academically dismissed students come to college severely underprepared scholastically. Moreover, the results also confirmed the importance that faculty and active learning play in the classroom as well as the value of advisors as contextualized change agents in the academic restoration process for students having experienced a critical incident like academic dismissal. Finally, the findings provided evidence that returning students exhibit a strong growth mindset, academic resilience and are highly self-determined, factors that play a significant role in restoring their academic momentum.