Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)




Pamela Eddy

Committee Member

Carol Tieso

Committee Member

Mitchell Williams


The community college has one of its missions to provide access for students who intend to transfer to a 4-year university using a vertical transfer pathway. As potential advocates for students in the transfer process, faculty who work in community colleges need to recognize the importance of supporting transfer students and help to improve the transfer pathways. Yet, little is known about the role faculty have in promoting transfer. The purpose of this dissertation study was to investigate the role of community college faculty in the vertical transfer process. The study addressed two research questions: How do community college faculty perceive their role in the transfer process? and How do community college faculty interact with potential vertical transfer students? A case study of a rural community college in Virginia with a high percentage of its students transferring and a dedicated transfer center served as the research site. Data analysis used the theoretical framework of momentum. Faculty perceived their role as a connector for transfer students and interacted with aspiring transfer students both in and outside the classroom. The community college faculty worked with content area faculty at the local 4-year schools and collaborated with the college’s transfer center to inform students of transfer resources. In particular, a faculty member was highlighted as a role model in advocating vertical transfer and bridging academics and advising. This advocacy role helps extend the understanding of the momentum theory. The study contributes to new insights into faculty’s essential role in building transfer students’ momentum toward a successful transfer and showcasing rural community college faculty involvement in vertical transfer to inspire higher education institutions to engage faculty in achieving institutional transfer mission, supporting transfer students, and fostering more equitable transfer pathways.



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