Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Executive Leadership

First Supervisor

Marie Cianca


Parental involvement at the higher education level has become an area of interest in research and practice across the country. However, often there is a lack of convergence between research and practice when it comes to facilitating parental involvement (Tierney, 2002). Much of the current research investigates this phenomenon from the perspective of college students and institutions. Often, the voice of parents is missing from the research; this is especially true of special populations, such as parents of first-generation college students. The purpose of this study was to explore the level of involvement between parents of first-generation college students and colleges/ universities. The study utilized social capital theory as a framework to investigate parental involvement from the perspective of parents of first-generation college students. The study also explored how higher education professionals defined involvement and reacted to parent interview themes. The study used a qualitative method approach to help uncover how these parents understand, define, and practice parental involvement in the higher education context. Results provide details about the involvement of parents of first-generation college students. Major findings included that parents define their involvement as setting clear expectation that their children go to college and as providing support throughout their children’s education including pre-college. Parents practice involvement by offering both emotional and academic support that is embedded in their relationship with their children. The study includes recommendations for research, higher education, executive leaders, and parents of first-generation college students.

Previous Versions

Aug 15 2017 (withdrawn)

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