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Mitigating Student Barriers to Office Hour Visits to Support Early Success for First Semester Health Science Majors

Avery, Karen (2023) Mitigating Student Barriers to Office Hour Visits to Support Early Success for First Semester Health Science Majors. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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The early college experience is different for everyone, but most would concede that the
transition to college requires students to develop new social and academic habits. This transition
can be daunting, especially in light of early coursework that sets the groundwork for competitive
admission to professional programs. Further, the literature suggests that this adjustment is less
intuitive for some students. This study focuses on the role of student-instructor interactions
during office hours in the early success of first-year pre-physician assistant students through their
first semester of introductory biology. The aim of this work is to improve persistence through
undergraduate courses and acceptance rates into physician assistant programs. Ultimately, this
work would increase the diversity of healthcare practitioners in local healthcare systems.
Using the improvement science model, I introduced a series of interventions designed to
learn how these changes affected student office-hour attendance for my introductory biology
course. One such intervention, a video providing explicit directions on how to get to instructor
offices and what the office hour experience would look like, was effective in removing barriers
to office hour attendance for some students. Specific reminders to students inviting them to
attend office hours were also influential. Finally, the office hour experience seemed to support
students’ self-efficacy, feelings of community, and development of academic practices, which, in
turn, contributed to their classroom success. Further study is required to understand if these
interventions will affect student transfer of office hour practices and resulting skills to other


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Avery, Karenkla57@pitt.edukla57
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairCrowley,
Committee MemberVasudevan,
Committee MemberCooley,
Date: 7 July 2023
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 25 April 2023
Approval Date: 7 July 2023
Submission Date: 14 June 2023
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 112
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Education > Instruction and Learning
Degree: EdD - Doctor of Education
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Office hours, first-year students, early college success
Date Deposited: 07 Jul 2023 15:33
Last Modified: 07 Jul 2023 15:33


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