Graduate Research Papers


Open Access Graduate Research Paper


The academically deficient student entering postsecondary training faces a difficult challenge. Not only must he or she look for sources to aquire [sic] the missing academic competencies, but the individual must also deal with the psychological effects of past academic failure and cope with the present stresses of being back in school. The Developmental Education Program at the Hawkeye Institute of Technology, a vocational-technical school in Waterloo, Iowa, offers prospective students the opportunity to increase not only their academic skills, but also the chance to examine and increase their personal psychological strength. Students enrolled in the Developmental Education Program are required to take Personal Strength Building, a course designed to address the psychological needs of underprepared students. This class teaches students about their psychological needs and challenges them to evaluate current inefficient behaviors to decide if it is appropriate to choose more efficient behaviors to meet their needs. The premise is that the greater the psychological strength of the individual, the greater the chance of success in training. The feedback received from students who have taken the Personal Strength Building class and from instructors who have had these students in vocational courses supports the concept that Personal Strength Building is an integral part of effective preparation for training. The purpose of this paper is to explain the necessity of a program such as Personal Strength Building, to present the curriculum, and to discuss its effectiveness. The author has researched and developed the concepts of teaching psychological strength since 1978. By reading related literature and attending a series of workshops presented by Dr. Gary Applegate, Director of the Center for Skill Development in Los Angeles, she has written and presented the curriculum contained in this paper to 345 academically deficient students during the last three years.

Year of Submission


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Education


Department of Educational Administration and Counseling

First Advisor

Robert T. Lembke

Second Advisor

Robert L. Frank


If you are the rightful copyright holder of this dissertation or thesis and wish to have it removed from the Open Access Collection, please submit a request to and include clear identification of the work, preferably with URL.

Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (76 leaves)



File Format


Included in

Education Commons