low romantic partner support - SCCtv

batchquonochontaugUrban and Civil

Nov 29, 2013 (4 years and 5 months ago)




Jennifer Methvin

Vice Chancellor for Academics

University of Arkansas Community College at Hope


16 OF THE 22 Community Colleges in Arkansas

My First Experience
with Factory Closure



The studies about first
generation and nontraditional
students emphasized
the impact that home and social
s have on the college experience for the student.
However, the studies examined the barriers to degree
completion for this at
risk population from a limited
majority of
studied adult and
generation student transition to and experience of
higher education only from the
perspective of the


No studies considered the college
going experience from the perspective of a student’s life

What the Literature Says

Of the studies included in this review of literature, only three reference
life partners specifically.

(2010) studied
“low romantic
partner support”

among college women and concluded that
support from family and friends did not offset the feelings of loneliness
for the women in the study (p. 8). This study did not address the role that
low romantic partner support played in students’ ability to persist and
complete degrees.

and Duggan (2008), who studied retention in
adult community college students,
found that support from a
“significant other” was a strong predictor of
(p. 92). Castle (2004) found that
partner support
was the most important factor

affecting adult learner
performance, either positively or negatively.

What the Literature Says

Castles, J. (2004). Persistence and the adult learner: Factors


in open university students.

in Higher Education, 5
), 166


, E. (2010). Friend and family support as moderators of

effects of low romantic partner support on loneliness

college women.
Individual Differences Research

), 8
16. Retrieved from Retrieved from



, K., & Duggan, M. (2008). Differential predictors of persistence

community college adult and traditional

Community College Journal of Research & Practice

), 75

The purpose of this phenomenological study was
to explore and
describe the perceptions of the college experience held by
the life partners of rural, nontraditional, first
community college students
and to discover and describe, from the
life partners’ perspectives, the communication between the life partner and
the student that took place about the experience. The study was based on the
assumption that the life partner of an adult, rural, first
generation college
student at the time of college attendance is a force of influence on the student
and is, positively or negatively, a part of the student’s social capital. Therefore,
understanding the phenomenon of being in a relationship and cohabiting
with a rural, first
generation, adult community college student is desirable as
a first step in understanding
how rural community colleges can
support both the student and the life partner in
negotiating the college
going experience.


This is not a
presentation based
on my research

Though I will share them with you.

Engage You in the

A Part of our Nation’s Completion Agenda
We Must Engage Nontraditional Learners


of the way
acted when he started taking classes, he was really
intimidated and kind of shy. He didn't have a lot of self
confidence. When he
started classes, I thought it was going to be a lot harder on him than what it
has actually , let's just say he has gone above and beyond my expectations
that I
thought that he would.
I didn't know if he would succeed or not. That's the
best way I can put it. Not that I think he is stupid. I just think he doubted

more than I did.

Participant #1


enrolled at First

Describes husband as someone who never valued education

I feel like him attending college has raised my confidence in our family unit.
Because, before he attended college, or before he began attending college, I felt
like where we were was the best it was going to get. Financially. And now I feel
like, even though right now he took a pay cut to be able to go to school, in the
future, in the long run, his opportunities are limitless. He actually told me this
week that he plans on pursuing his masters which is amazing to me because he
was the one who wouldn't even start a two
year college. So, I feel like that is a
very, very positive aspect that has come from him beginning college. Also I feel
like his confidence has been raised tremendously, which does carry over to
myself and my son. My five
old son got out of school this week and got in
the truck with me and he asked me, he said Mom, does Dad get A's and B's. I
said yes, baby, he gets A's and B's. He said, well I'm going to get A's and B's too.
He is just in kindergarten. Now that is amazing to me because he thinks that's
what you do. You don't get a C. So I feel like him doing this is giving my children a
stronger foothold and foundation in their education.

Participant #1

also something that has helped out is having people on campus that are,
that can relate with students. Because a lot of students, and facilitators, or
whatever they are called, you know, but not necessarily instructors, but
employees at the college, are on two totally different levels. They are not able to
relate with a first
generation college student that’s dad worked at an Alcoa plant
all his life or a mom that was a bank teller forever. They are not willing, and they
don't act like they care to know, where the students are coming from. They
don't. That's something to me that is, there's a few people here on campus that
have been wonderful because they do care. They really and truly do care. They
are not just a number. So, that is something that would help out tremendously at
other colleges if they are not in place.

Participant #1

Sometimes I think within the admissions process, we don't involve the family
enough, give them enough knowledge to know how life is going to change. A lot
of students, and we were fortunate.
M’s wasn't
one. A lot of students have to
work while they're going to school and that balance of responsibilities, how they
are going to change things out, I wish we, that colleges could do more on that
line. In working with the families and spouses.

Participant #2


Husband laid off from long
time employment

Employee of a community college

Children grown

Yeah. We'll see she was over there at Xerox. She would go to college, then come
home for a little bit, and then go to work over there four until midnight. And
then get off at midnight and come home. Then we could hardly see
only time we could see her was when she was walking out the door. She was
going to school, and then after school she was going back to work

Okay. And so were there were stressful things about that

Yeah, because I didn't know if I was going to make it home and get the kids off
the bus or what. So now it is more better

Because her hours are better and more like the kids hours


Participant #3


Highway and Construction Work

Small Children

No. She just says she wished she could, she wished she could go longer over
here at the college, you know, and get a better, get more of a feel of what she's
doing. And everything. You know instead of going

off to go to
college, I wish she could finish over here
you know. I know she's going to
graduate, you know, but get a better feel of what she's doing, get more training
on it.



semester, it was pretty close to what I imagined it. But
she just
down. I mean, we have a mentality. I mean
we, I don't want to say just her, we have a mentality that
regardless of if it's good or bad or you don't want to or it is
stressful or anything like that, our mentality is that if you just
finish it. If you do it, do it right. Do the best you can. You
know, so, the first semester was pretty trying to me. The
stress. It wasn't like, you
know . . .
youngest, became
depressed because mommy couldn't spend time with him
or nothing like that.
It was just minor adjustments.
But, you
know the little things can kill, is what they say

Participant #4


Childhood Sweethearts

Mainly it is just the scheduling. The trying to meet in the
middle. You know, anymore, we can't plan anything. That is
probably been the biggest negative. I mean it seems like
every time we plan to do something, that gets hit. Like you
said that sounds kind negative but we've been together
since were 14 so
is my best friend so I don't go out and
hang out without her or anything like that. And vice a versa.
You know we’re about to be 37 and I am getting to the point
where I say hey, we need to do more stuff. You know but
we’re not. So I think that will be the biggest negative.

Participant #4

remember I'm very conservative. The biggest impact has
been financial. I mean, I will be honest. Yeah, you know, you
get grants and all that and you will see some people and
they will get all these grants and all that stuff and they got a
house and they get a new car and all that stuff. My wife, not
only is she going to college but she also works. So we've
gotten, and I'm not dogging her job by no means, and all
that, she is a work
study. And you know you dress for
success. So wardrobe. That stuff costs lots of money. Make
up. All that stuff. Hairstyling. And there is just nowhere near
enough to conceive all of that in any form of grants.

Participant #4

can tell you the exact story. I won't bore you with a lot of background, but
T is
from a mostly rural family and has always been, didn’t graduate from high
school. Had a child young. So it was not about going to school. She did, though,
want to go to massage therapy school. So when we met, I put her through
massage therapy school. She has been in massage therapy ever since. She owns
her own business. She's doing very well. She's about the most expensive one
town, actually. And she does very well. Has loyal customers. They love her.

Anyway, she came home from work one day, and she was just plowing concrete
with her butt. I mean she was just tired. I looked at her and I said, Baby Girl,
you're 34 years old, what are you going to do in 10 years? When you can't do
this anymore? You're 34 now, when you can do five or six a day, and you're done.
You can’t even cook dinner. I mean you're done. What are you going to do in 10
years when you're 44 or 45, and you can't. Are you going to start getting a
degree then? Then you'll be 10 years behind the power curve

Participant #5

in Boyfriend

Both have children, some living with them.

There may have been some unspoken or
subconscious in that our daughters were
getting ready to start college. I have an 18
old daughter, and she has an 18
old. And I think she thought it would be nice
to be a good example for the girls.

Participant #5

Negative, the added stress. The workload. I am already, I feel like I am already
kind of pushing my max with just my work. Adding hers is a lot, and the, and of
course, with having a kid come back to roost, which I am thrilled about, but you
know. So the negative is the impact, the workload. That I have picked up. Her
moods from time to time, if I am being honest, she can be. It impacts me. It
does. She can be volatile when she is not getting something or when it is too
much. It really pushes down on her.
And she can be volatile. And so, not
that we fight a lot, but there is tension. There is some, just more
negative emotion. In some form or another, you know, whether she is
doubting herself or maybe she's literally crying from the stress or
whatever. Just angry. Negative emotion of some sort that more than
what she should be experiencing. You know fatigue.
She is not able to
contribute financially as much as she wants was. I mean like I said, she was one
of the most expensive therapist in town. She was making pretty good money.
Less so now, but we are making it. It is fine, it's just it was nice to just be able to
jump in the car and go to New Orleans and see a Saints game. Now that doesn't
happen, you know. But, so that the negative. More just the fatigue and
emotional stress.

Participant #5

Yeah. Yeah. As far as me, I wasn't too worried about my needs or anything like
that. I was worried more about
the impact on the family as far as
. Because we have gone down from three cars to two cars. That
wasn't a problem because she could take one and I could take one to work. Since
my son graduated, he was coming to college too, and then I was concerned
about how that was going to impact the hours. I was worried that they would
have to get the same hours. And my other son is a senior in high school, and he
needed a vehicle to get to there. Because he only goes to school for half of the
day and then he goes to
work. . . . My
main concern was we were going to get in
a situation where somebody's going to say well you know just forget it. I'm not
going to go to work. My son or she’s

say it's not worth it. The boys need
to go to work and school, so I will just drop. So I made every effort I could to just
walk to work. Which is only like 5 min. away. And I'm not coming home for lunch,
now. And just give them the vehicles, make them available to them. And if she
would take late classes it wouldn’t fit the boys.
there to make dinner. Have
the house clean and so we all started to have to just pitch in and start doing
things which we weren’t normally used to doing. Because the boys even if they
aren’t lazy, they have always depended on her to

Participant #6

No. she just told me she wanted to go and I said

well like get on it. Get started.

Participant #7


Journey Plummer currently out of work

Young couple whose lives revolve around the kids and their sports

No there hasn't been nothing different. The only thing that has changed is
personal like housework. I'm laid off at the moment so. I've been with my
company for 11 years so, so you know I've always got a job

as far as I know.
And so I'm laid off and so I find myself doing a whole lot more housecleaning so
she uses school as an excuse a lot. (Laughter

Me: Okay. Tell me what you mean by that

Participant: If there's something that needs to be done, you know, I shouldn't
have to do everything. I do still bring in money still and I still work when my
boss calls and says I have something for you to do. I still go and I still do it. But I

do housework and she doesn't help us much as I wish she would. She
doesn't want to be a housewife. She doesn't like that. That's another reason
she's going to college. She doesn't want to be a housewife. She wants to have a
career. I went to school for four years and become a licensed plumber. I am a
journeyman plumber, so I have a career. And she wants a career.

Participant #7

Sigh. I'll

probably it is because she does not have a steady income. That's
probably the only thing that really bothers me. You know I am constantly
humping to make bread. And she goes to class and sits there and learns, you
know what I'm saying? And it takes so long when you go to college for a career
of your choosing. And you got to take the classes and put in the time. But it's a
term waiting for you to get there, to get that career and have that steady
income that you worked so hard to get, you know?

Participant #7

I do get to missing my wife, though.

Okay. I think they should be in school all day long. An eight hour school day in
school when it is in session. And then you would not have to go as long to learn
things. Do you know what I mean? Instead of having to go for four years, they
could break it down into a lot sooner. Because you are acquiring more
knowledge. Of course then you would have to go to a bigger campus. I don't see
why you have to go to a bigger campus. Why can't you do that here. Just
because there are no dorms. Is that why? I mean it is still eight hours like a
public school. You know my kid, he goes to a public school. He goes five days a
week, eight hours a day

Participant #7

If I can remember. She has been talking about going
to school for a while, so. Well after we moved down
here, from Hughes, we moved here probably at the
end of 2009, so we, ever since we have been talking
about going to school, and since we were so close
to the college here, she just went on and decided
she wanted to go to college for early childhood
development. So she went to the school and she
did all the necessary paperwork and got her
transcript and all that. She enrolled in school.

Participant #10

My Reflection Journal:

L and V
are an inspirational couple. As I observed
them today, it was clear that they were both vested
in each other, their children, their parents, and the
people around them. Because the public library
was closed today, I got to spend extra time with
to interact with
more than I meant to. It will
be difficult to stick to the research questions. Their
story is rich.

Participant #10


partners experienced

family and relational

perceived transformation of the

willingness to make sacrifices so the student can be

prominent concern about financial

consideration of the impact of college scheduling on
the life partner and

a need to balance the school and work relationship.

experiences paradoxically were sometimes positive and
sometimes negative for life partners and, from their perspectives,
for the students.

If life partners so significantly impact
the success and retention of
nontraditional students, then we can’t
ignore their experiences. We have to
support life partner as they

negotiate the college
going years

My Point