Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Engineering and Science Education

Committee Chair/Advisor

Dr. Karen High

Committee Member

Dr. Matthew Boyer

Committee Member

Dr. Matt Voigt

Committee Member

Dr. Bridget Trogden


This study explored the lived experiences of eleven transfer students as they described their experiences in Calculus 2 at very high research land grant institutions (R1). This qualitative investigation focused on the psychological phenomenon of transition as the transfer students perceived, reflected, made sense, and understood their transition experience. Furthermore, this study explored transfer students’ understanding of how they perceive the attributes of their success or lack of success in Calculus 2.

Employing the use of Schlossberg’s Transition Framework along with Tinto’s Persistence/Departure Framework, the perceptions of the transition experience was analyzed through the lens of this conceptual framework. The experiences of eleven transfer students, Amanda, Andrew, Brandon, Brian, Claire, Jake, James, Joshua, Kay, Lauren, and Mary, who lived and are living the transition experience in Calculus 2 are described in this dissertation work. Their rich descriptions provide an understanding into the experiences transfer students encounter in Calculus 2 at a R1 institution. They emphasized their successes and challenges with their transition and described their feelings while enrolled in Calculus 2 and their reflections after completing Calculus 2 at the R1.

This work highlights four emergent themes viewed through the lens of a conceptual framework that describes the perceptions and reflections of the transition process. This study finds transfer students describe challenges and optimism facing Calculus 2. The emergent themes reveal feelings of being unprepared for Calculus 2 at the R1, understanding the crucial need for support during Calculus 2, recognizing perseverance matters during Calculus 2 and taking individual responsibility as they describe determination and motivation for understanding content in Calculus 2 as transfer students at the R1 institution. Through the interpretations, the reader of this work will gain further insight into descriptions of the emergent themes and lives of the transfer students from this study.

Their experiences truly illustrate the need for improving how mathematics instructors and departments at R1 institutions approach incoming transfer students from non-R1 institutions enrolled in Calculus 2. By presenting the transfer students perceptions and my interpretations, the findings reveal transfer students internalized their own responsibility and transfer status for their success in Calculus 2, recognize a shift in support systems at the R1 institution, and describe a high motivation for understanding the content in Calculus 2.



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