Date Dissertation Completed


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctorate of Education


Education Studies

Dissertation Advisor

Dawnette Cigrand

Dissertation Committee Members

Carrie Brouse, Donghyun Kang


Winona, MN


Magnifying the historical challenges faced by graduate students, the COVID – 19 global pandemic caused significant disruption to graduate education and forced abrupt changes to personal, professional, and academic aspects of life. Though high attrition rates plague many graduate programs, advising is recognized as crucial to graduate student persistence and success. This qualitative phenomenological study explored graduate student perceptions of advising during the COVID – 19 global pandemic. The sample consisted of eight individuals who were enrolled as full-time graduate students during the 2019 – 2020 and 2020 – 2021 academic years. Four components of Situated Learning Theory, as identified by Stein (1998), provided a framework for this study, and include content, context, community of practice, and participation. Data collection methods included questionnaires and individual semi-structured interviews which were analyzed using initial and pattern coding. Four themes emerged from the data analysis process: advisor access and responsiveness, meaningful advisor relationships, change in setting and shift in student priorities. Some participants provided insights as to how quality advising promoted persistence and feelings of support. Others expressed frustration and additional stress stemming from perceptions of poor advising practiced. This study illuminates the important role of advising in student persistence through times of disruption, like the COVID-19 global pandemic. The foundation of a meaningful relationship and communication are vital for developing an individualized approach to advising, which is vital for graduate student success.



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