Date of Dissertation


Document Type



Social Work


This banded dissertation is comprised of three scholarly works. Each of these products examines the impact of self-efficacy on the educational experiences of students who are criminal justice involved. Social cognitive behavior theory serves as the conceptual framework for this banded dissertation.

The first manuscript of this banded dissertation is a conceptual analysis that focuses on the intersection between self-efficacy and social capital. Bandura’s Social Cognitive Theory describes the connection between self-efficacy and collective efficacy meaning the group impacts the individual. This work explores the impact of social capital and self-efficacy on student populations that have similar characteristics to those with criminal histories including first generation college students and students with low socioeconomic statuses and applies that knowledge to students who are criminal justice involved.

The second manuscript of this banded dissertation describes qualitative research that evaluates the barriers students with criminal histories face and the significance of self-efficacy with respect to educational outcomes. Participants in the study identified both internal and external barriers they faced while meeting their educational goals.

The third product of this banded dissertation presents a summary of a peer-reviewed workshop presented on November 14, 2016, at the National Conference on Effective Transitions in Adult Education in Providence, RI. The paper encapsulates the information presented about Project PROVEN, a reentry program, located at a Western Wisconsin technical college and the findings from the qualitative study focused on the impact of barriers and self-efficacy of students who are criminal justice-involved.

Social cognitive theory is highly researched and widely applied to many populations and organizational settings. This banded dissertation focuses on one aspect of Bandura’s theory, self-efficacy, and applies it to justice-involved students, a population that has been overlooked in research. The findings from this work include the importance of building self-efficacy, including increasing social capital and linkages within educational systems in order for students to increase the likelihood of successful educational outcomes. Understanding these students’ experiences is imperative for education and criminal justice professionals in order to better respond to the needs of these students and to increase retention and reduce recidivism.