Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Stephanie A. Hartzell


Sara C. Jackson


Ann D. David


This dissertation investigated the perceptions of alumni who participated in a civic leadership program (LP) in a large, metropolitan city with over 1.7 million residents in its local community. The program, with a 42 year-long history, had no formal data on its participants, the program, or its efficacy. The research investigated the expectations, experience, and engagement of participants over its 42-year history. To examine these concepts, the study was motivated by three research questions: (1) What is the relationship between the participants’ program satisfaction and the program elements? (2) To what extent did the program meet expectations, based on participant experience? and (3) Did the experience of participating in the program provide motivation for personal engagement in the participants’ organizations, communities, or careers? If so, why and how?

The study used a mixed methodology to examine quantitative results from a 31-question on-line survey, and the respondent population volunteered for a face-to-face, semi-structured interview to establish qualitative findings. Additional qualitative documentation was used to triangulate and verify findings. The quantitative data was analyzed using SPSS® and performing Factorial Analysis of Variance (ANOVA), along with multiple regression and correlation modeling to measure several independent variables (Gender, Years of Work Experience, Expectations of Program to Meet State Mission, Expectations of Program Elements, Post-Program Engagement, and Post-Program Follow Up), to discover relationships with the dependent variable (Satisfaction). The qualitative data from the open-ended survey questions, interviews, and documentation was analyzed using NVivo® qualitative data analysis software to find patterns in word frequencies which contributed to five broad themes.

The results and findings from the research suggested Gender (IV1) and Years of Work Experience (IV2) had no effect on participant Satisfaction (DV). However, when participants had low Expectations (IV3, 4), they were more likely to become Engaged (IV5, 6) in their community post-program. Likewise, when participants had a high rate of Satisfaction, they were also likely to become more engaged following the program conclusion.

The results and findings provide support that the program is effective and offers insights to how participants perceived the program, how they felt about their participation, and how they may have been motivated to participate in their business or community differently, following the program conclusion.