Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Pamela L Eddy

Committee Member

Leslie W. Grant

Committee Member

Steven R. Staples


My case study focused on the message communicated through the university’s fundraising campaign titled For the Bold and sought to determine if the campaign messaging influenced decision-making of first-generation sophomores (FGS) attending William & Mary as they selected majors and formed career choices. The campaign message emphasized the benefits of boldness, and, for FGS, the campaign’s message could have shaped their self-efficacy beliefs as they pursued majors and professional aspirations. The study applied Bandura’s (1986) social cognitive theory to determine how self-efficacy contributed to the decisions made by participants. Additionally, the use of Bronfenbrenner’s (1993) developmental ecology model helped situate the participants’ motivations tied to the backgrounds and surroundings of FGS as they progressed through their second-year experience of higher education. An online survey was administered in Fall 2020 to all 149 FGS at William & Mary to determine the levels of self-efficacy beliefs among the group. A total of 42 students responded (28% response rate), and 30 volunteered to participate in a follow-up interview. Ultimately, 12 students participated in individual virtual interviews. Most of the 12 participants came into college with a major in mind or decided on a major in their first year after taking a series of courses. Findings from these interviews determined a high awareness of the For the Bold campaign among participants yet scant influence of the branded fundraising campaign on the decisions the participants made regarding their choice of major or career paths.



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