Respiratory Care Professor Earns Doctoral Degree

March 1, 2024 — Dr. Nick Johnston is an assistant professor in Respiratory Care at Kettering College. Several of his students juggle attending college with caring for their families, and he empathizes with this balance because he has experienced it as well. He has a wife and five kids (who, combined, currently have 13 sports/events they are involved in), yet he committed time and energy to earning his doctoral degree—a journey he started four years ago.

Dr. Johnston says, “I wanted to keep advancing my degree and have as much knowledge about the inner workings and the process of developing programs and courses as I could have.” He decided pursuing a doctoral degree in leadership with an emphasis on business and a focus on education would be the best route to further support his teaching at Kettering College.

His dissertation was titled “The predictors of graduation and the impact of age, gender, ethnicity, income level, and college entrance exam scores on graduation success.” To conduct his research, he gathered data from nearly 5,000 Kettering College students from 2005 – 2022. He says, “I was analyzing which of those demographics impacts the likelihood of graduation.”

As he worked to uncover predictors of success at Kettering College, he says, “It was exciting to see that our non-traditional students who are age 25 or older graduated at higher rates than ‘traditional’ students, which is against what most literature says. Students who took the ACT and tested 18 or less graduated at a higher rate than those who scored 19-22 on the test.”

This data that is specific to Kettering College students can be used to further understand what our students as unique individuals and not general statistics need to succeed. Dr. Johnston says, “We can develop student success initiatives that are really geared toward the students who are more at risk of not graduating. Higher education normally goes off relevant literature, but if we have Kettering College-specific literature, we can make programs geared toward the success of our specific students.”

As Dr. Johnston continues tapping into his passion for teaching students in Respiratory Care, we are grateful for his accomplishment of earning his doctoral degree. We know he will lead them with continued understanding, empathy, and insight.


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