Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation in Practice

Degree Name



Higher Education

First Advisor

Christine A. Nelson

Second Advisor

Michele Tyson

Third Advisor

Guadalupe Federico-Martinez


First-generation, Learning communities, NCAA, Student-athletes


This program evaluation highlights the Key Culture, Communication, & Sports (KCCS) Program at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, CO, a learning community program dedicated to serving student-athletes. Learning communities, considered high-impact practice in higher education, have a longstanding and successful approach to supporting new college students (Mamerow & Navorro, 2014). Many of the traditional benefits of learning community participation line up closely with the needs of student-athletes (Mamerow & Navorro, 2014). A Utilization-Focused program evaluation was implemented. KCCS students and KCCS faculty and staff were interviewed to understand if and how the KCCS program was meeting its goals. The data was collected through 1:1 interviews with four KCCS students and two focus groups with six KCCS faculty & staff. The theoretical frameworks used in this evaluation are Organizational Theory (Manning, 2012), Validation Theory (Rendon, 2002), and Circumscribed Agency (Deil-Amen & Tevis, 2010). The program evaluation findings highlight the lived experiences of first-generation student-athletes in the KCCS program and provide programmatic context from the KCCS faculty and staff. Changes that can help with program improvement for KCCS and the parts of the program that are working well may influence the KCCS students’ resilience and persistence throughout their time at Colorado State University.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.


Received from ProQuest

Rights holder

Sarabeth Morofsky

File size

214 pgs

File format





Higher education