All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Linda J Searby

Advisory Committee Members

Shirley S Kahn

Jason Fulmore

John Dantzler

Document Type

Dissertation

Date of Award

2012

Degree Name by School

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) School of Education

Abstract

Developing and maintaining alumni support of higher education institutions is continuously an area of interest for institutional administrators. The role that alumni play in the overall picture has somewhat changed throughout the decades, but what encourages this support has remained the same. A graduate of a higher education institution must have a sense of loyalty, along with other contributing factors, that will create the necessary motivation in order for an alumnus to support his or her alma mater. The purpose of this study is to identify the psychometric properties of an instrument intended to assist institutions with determining the level of loyalty that undergraduate alumni have toward their alma mater. Two primary research questions guided the study: (a) how is the construct of alumni loyalty best described and measured; and (b) what are the psychometric properties of the developed and validated Alumni Loyalty Scale? By using a quantitative cross-sectional design supported by an extensive review of the literature and framed in organizational and social identification theory, an expert panel and pilot study shaped the items that are included in the final instrument. As a new instrument estimating validity and reliability were primary considerations and were estimated using exploratory factor analysis of the underlying construct and each subscale. In developing the items for the Alumni Loyalty Scale a panel of 9 content experts were used to provide insight into the construct of loyalty based on experience in the field of university advancement and provided responses to the necessity of each item and suggestions for improvement. The content validity ratio was calculated on each item and adjustments were made accordingly resulting in only minor changes to individual items. Following these changes, the revised instrument was distributed for pilot testing with a response of 1,029 participants. The analysis yielded a reduction from 31 to 24 items and resulted in a final three factor solution explaining 59.8% of the total variance. Through the use of this design, the researcher was able to combine previous research, content experts and an exploratory factor analysis to provide a better understanding of the three primary factors that contribute to the determine the strength of loyalty of an alumnus: student experience, alumni perspective, and institutional reputation.

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