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American Journal of Business Education, v2 n5 p107-118 2009

A recent study by O'Donnell and Sauer (2008) indicated, that over time, the benefit of launching new majors to reduce freshman attrition dissipated. In 2004, new majors had a significant effect on reducing attrition. By 2007, however, these same new majors were no longer significant predictors of attrition. What happened between 2004 and 2007 to cause this erosion in the affect of new majors on attrition? In this study, we examine the differences in perceptions of the innovative characteristics in an effort to explain why this erosion might have occurred. Results of a two-way between subjects ANOVA reveals that new majors began to be perceived as similar to old majors along certain dimensions of innovative characteristics. In particular, differences in the prospects of getting a better job, the perception that the new major was easier, hearing from others that new majors offered better job prospects and that employers preferred new majors, and that new majors were less compatible with student needs and goals, all disappeared by 2007. Nevertheless, new majors were still perceived as requiring more prerequisites, being more likely to require an extra course, and as not being offered at other area colleges and universities relative to old majors. This article discusses the impact and consequences of these findings and proposes future research to be pursued.

Descriptors: Educational Innovation, Majors (Students), Student Attrition, Factor Analysis, Statistical Analysis, Higher Education, Academic Persistence, College Students, Student Surveys, Measures (Individuals)

Clute Institute. 6901 South Pierce Street Suite 239, Littleton, CO 80128. Tel: 303-904-4750; Fax: 303-978-0413; e-mail: Staff[at]; Web site:

Autor: O-Donnell, Joseph B.; Sauer, Paul L.


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