Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Legacy Department

Educational Leadership


First, Patricia F.

Committee Member

Satterfield, James W.

Committee Member

Cawthon, Tony W.

Committee Member

Scott, D. Travers

Committee Member

Mazer, Joseph P.


In this research, the process by which honors students interact with the institutional brand and become part of their university is examined. Branding and the brand experience is the process by which institutions differentiate themselves from other competing organizations. It was assumed that the degree to which honor students consume the brand impacts not only how they understand their student identity on campus but also their beliefs about their education, their campus community, and their own intellectual and social development. A single-site case study approach was employed to illuminate and provide an in-depth description and analysis of the effects of a college brand on honors students in their campus learning community. The case study and multiple qualitative methods used allowed for a rich description and exploration of the participants experiences, which were triangulated through focus group, photo-elicitation, and document review collection points. In this study it was found that the participants are aware of the institutional brand and their role in maintaining and upholding the values that their university brand supports. Further, they see the necessity of the brand for their institution with regard to recognition on the national landscape. However, the participants shared the belief that the branding efforts on the part of the university do not value the academic learning community which they were recruited to as much as the efforts value athletics and social activities--the implications of which lead the participants to situate themselves between two worlds--the scholars they are and the students the university wishes to see.