Date of Award

Fall 11-7-2023

Document Type


Degree Name

PHD - Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Dr. Ulas Kaplan

Second Advisor

Dr. Louise Michelle Vital

Third Advisor

Dr. Shannon Brady


The purpose of this mixed methods phenomenological study was to explore undergraduate students’ experiences of academic probation by examining changes or stabilities in the quality of their motivation and students’ basic psychological needs, i.e., autonomy, competency, and relatedness, using Self-Determination Theory (SDT) as the theoretical framework. The study was conducted during the Fall 2021 and Spring 2022 semesters. Students were recruited from three 4-year private and public research universities located in the Southern and Northeastern parts of the United States. Fifty-nine undergraduate students completed the survey, and five participated in semi-structured interviews. The key findings of this study identified three types of motivational trajectories: High-Motivation-High Rebound, Medium-Motivation-Slight Rebound, and Low-Motivation-High Growth trajectory. The trajectories helped to identify moments and provide context for when students’ motivations and need-fulfillment declined. Trajectories also showed the possibility of a rebound in students’ motivation during academic probation placement. However, rebounds depended on students’ circumstances and the severity of decline before academic probation. These findings suggest that the before periods of academic probation may be more important for understanding the motivational impact of academic probation. Moreover, these findings present new perspectives on students’ motivation for academic probation research that benefits academic advisors and support staff working with this student population.

Number of Pages


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