Degree Name

EdD (Doctor of Education)


Educational Leadership

Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Russel West

Committee Members

Rick Osborn, Terrence Tollefson, Jay Reese


The purpose of this qualitative study was to understand why women from Scott County, Tennessee, left home to attain the baccalaureate degree and returned home to live and/or work. More specifically, understanding (1) the educational aspirations, motivations, and discouragements prior to attending college; (2) the educational persistence, motivations, and discouragements while attending college; (3) and the reasons for returning to Scott County after attaining the baccalaureate degree. The population of this study included all females over the age of 25 who had a bachelor's degree, attended grades 1–12 in Scott County, Tennessee, and returned there to live. The primary form of data collection for the study was in-depth interviews. The interviews were arranged serially. This study also provided a forum for the participants to explain their experiences in their own voices. Data analysis occurred at the same time as the data collection. The open coding system developed into theoretical sampling, whereby the data was examined the emerging relationships and categories. From the data emerged 11 concepts that fit within the boundaries of the research questions and emerged from the collective responses. Participants were motivated to attend college by: (1) Hearing parents and grandparents speak regretfully about their own lack of education and (2) Having parents who viewed education as means of taking care of their daughters. The major deterrent was a lack of community support for higher education. Participants were motivated to persist at college by: (1) Parental influence (fear of displeasure); (2) Need for a job; (3) Developing or continuing a love of learning; (4) Developing self-awareness; (5) Raising self-esteem. Participants reasons for returning home were: (1) Family ties; (2) The need to payback educational assistance; and (3) Belief in life-long learning.

Document Type

Dissertation - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.