Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department

Higher Ed/Community College Ed

Major Professor

Donald Dellow, Ed.D.

Co-Major Professor

William Young, Ed.D.

Committee Member

Thomas Miller, Ed.D.

Committee Member

W. Robert Sullins, Ed.D.

Committee Member

Alan Balfour, Ph.D.


Academic Development, Intercollegiate Athletics, Life-Long Learning, NCAA, Student-Athlete, Student Experiences


The primary purpose of this investigation was to examine the perceived development of life-long learning skills of Division I student-athletes and their non-athlete general student peers. Using grade point averages and graduation rates, athletics administrators are constantly evaluating the academic performance and growth of student-athletes by comparing their results with those of non-athlete general students. Though these traditional metrics are useful in many ways, there is little research on the self-reported development of life-long learning skills.

Due to a changing global economy, employers are less concerned with the knowledge students possess at graduation and are more interested in a student’s ability to adapt to changes, think critically, and acquire information on their own and apply this new knowledge in an effort to create solutions to existing problems in a team based environment repeatedly over time. Collectively, these skills can be described as life-long learning skills.

The Capacity for Life-Long Learning Index (CLLI), which is comprised of fourteen items from the College Student Experiences Questionnaire (CSEQ), purport to measure students’ perceived gains on academic skills relevant to life-long learning. This study compares scores on the CLLI for several different variables, including student-athletes, non-athlete general students, gender, class, and ethnicity to determine whether there were differences in the perceived gains in life-long learning skills.

On the basis of the results of this study, the following conclusions seem warranted:

1. There were no significant differences in the CLLI score for student-athletes and non-athlete general students. viii

2. There were significant differences between the CLLI scores for female students, both student-athletes and non-athlete general students, and their male counterparts.

3. There were significant differences between the CLLI scores for senior students, both student-athletes and non-athlete general students, and their freshman student counterparts.

4. There were no significant differences between the CLLI scores among students of different ethnic groups. "