Campus Location

Dallas Campus (Online)

Date of Award


Document Type



Organizational Leadership

Degree Name

Doctor of Education

Committee Chair or Primary Advisor

Dr. Myron Pope

Second Committee Member or Secondary Advisor

Dr. Scott Self

Third Committee Member or Committee Reader

Dr. Rick Zomer


First-generation college students are a growing and unique population in the United States. First-generation college students face far more barriers to success when compared to their continuing-generation peers. Student retention and success is a primary concern for institutions of higher education in the United States as economic challenges and pressures grow. Therefore, retention and success for the growing number of first-generation college students is a priority for higher education leaders. A vital component of student retention and success is effective social integration. A proven high-impact practice for increasing student social integration is participation in a living-learning community. A descriptive phenomenological study was conducted to describe the social integration experiences of first-generation college students involved in a leadership-based living-living-learning community. Data collected consisted of semi-structured in-person interviews with 7 first-generation college students involved in a leadership-based living-learning community during the 2018–2019 academic year. The findings illuminated the specific social integration experiences and transitional issues faced by this specific population. The findings suggested that this specific population faces a myriad of unique barriers and challenges to social integration and success but that involvement in a living-learning community positively impacts the student social integration experience.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



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