DeMerritt earns Doctorate

May 26, 2011

PLAINVIEW – Wayland Baptist University Assistant Academic Vice President Stan DeMerritt was awarded his Doctor of Philosophy degree in higher education from Texas Tech University in a ceremony on May 14.

DeMerritt, who has worked at Wayland since graduating with a bachelor’s degree in 1995, has served in his current position for the last five years. A graduate of Artesia High School in Artesia, N.M., DeMerritt also holds an associate’s degree from New Mexico State University and a Master of Education degree from Wayland.

DeMerritt’s dissertation research focused on determining if there is a correlation between nontraditional student risk classifications and motivation. He said that the number of students demonstrating non-traditional characteristics is growing in the United States. These characteristics include being married, having dependents in the household, full-time employment, attending school as a part-time student and waiting a few years after high school to enter college. He surveyed students with these characteristics at three universities throughout the southern U.S., looking at motivational tendencies.

In his study of 1,140 students surveyed, DeMerritt found that motivational tendencies (reasons for pursuing a degree) do not predict risk classifications among non-traditional students. In other words, there is no relationship between motivation and non-traditional characteristics.

“For a high-risk student having four or more non-traditional student characteristics, there was no indication of what type of motivation that person had based on those risk factors,” DeMerritt said.

For DeMerritt, however, the motivation to earn his degree was personal. And after more than five years of working toward that goal he is now happy to have it behind him.

“Five years is rough. Six to eight years is the typical timeline,” DeMerritt said. “Going to work full-time, being actively involved in all those other things you have going on with your family, I’m not sure how I did it. There are a lot of lost weekends and lost ballgames. I lost three Christmases when I got to my dissertation. But was it worth it? Yeah!”