The relationships among Leadership Studies Program participation, retention, and grade point average
The purpose of this study was to examine the relationships among participants and nonparticipants in the Leadership Studies Program, university cumulative grade point average, retention, selected characteristics. This study focused on a cohort of students at a selected southern, public, four-year university. Retention was measured as a continuous variable utilizing the number of semesters during a six semester time-frame that students enrolled; these semesters included only fall and spring semesters beginning with the fall of 1996 and ending with the spring of 1999. 208 students were selected in the total sample from the first-time, full-time freshmen class of 1996. None of these students had ever attended college; all of these students were full-time with a total of 12 semester hours or more. 104 students were identified as all of the participants in the Leadership Studies Program; program participants were required to live in a residence hall of the university. Another cohort of 104 students not participating in the Leadership Studies Program were identified. The student characteristics of Leadership Studies Program participation/nonparticipation, age, ethnicity, gender, and the interaction between participation and age, ethnicity, and gender were compared closely with student retention and separately with university cumulative grade point average. The statistical technique of multiple linear regression was utilized to analyze the data for the full model and the independent effect of each variable. In the first test, student retention was considered as an equal variable with other characteristics. Eight additional tests were done to determine the independent effect as each variable was removed from the entire group. In the second test, university cumulative grade point average was considered as an equal variable with other characteristics. Eight additional tests were done to determine the independent effect as each variable was removed from the entire group. The results indicated a relationship between grade point average and the characteristics in the full model. Additional results indicated a relationship between grade point average and each of the following, Leadership Studies Program participation/nonparticipation, age, ethnicity, gender, and the interaction between participation and age. There was no statistically significant relationship between student retention and the full model or each of the independent variables. There was a difference in the means of the descriptive data. Further research should be conducted by the university to determine if retention and/or grade point average have statistical significance with these characteristics and the interaction of defined characteristics over a longer period of time. The descriptive data in this study revealed that there are statistical observations noteworthy of additional study.