LaTonya Branham, Ph.D. is a 2018 graduate of the PHD Program in Leadership and Change at Antioch University.

Dr. Branham at her Dissertation Defense.

L-R: Dr. Frederick Aikens, Committee Member Dr. Lize Booysen, attending virtually on monitor, Committee Member, Dr. Jon Wergin, Committee Chair.

Dissertation Committee

  • Jon Wergin, Ph.D., Committee Chair
  • Lize Booysen, DBL., Committee Member
  • Frederick Aikens, DM, Committee Member

Document Type


Publication Date



The lived and collegiate experiences of adult learners, who are among the fastest growing student population in 21st century higher education, is the essence of this study. The study was conducted using interpretative phenomenological analysis. Fifteen baccalaureate level degree-seeking study participants consented to share their respective journeys. Twenty-one interviews were conducted for the study. Code-listed categories, themes and sub-themes emerged from two interview sessions, and member-checking sessions. Several themes were aligned to two research questions: In what ways, if any, are the distinctive needs and expectations of adult learners fulfilled through a baccalaureate level adult learner program; and, what does an adult learner do to address the challenges of meeting degree requirements in a timely manner? The diversity, character, and transparency of each study participant led to extensive interpretative analysis that validates how their needs and expectations were fulfilled, and the efforts made to conquer challenges that allowed them to persist in an accelerated adult learning program. This study further examines how met and unmet needs impact the desired optimum experience for adult learners. A model on The Impact of Met and Unmet Needs for Adult Learners was developed to introduce how certain influential factors can either decrease (unmet) or increase (met) confidence levels, degrees of expectation, and learning outcomes. The relationship of this study to existing adult learning theory and how the findings build upon the research on adult learners makes a significant contribution for future researchers, college leaders, organizations, and others invested in the experiences of adult learners in uniquely designed programs. This dissertation is available in open access at AURA: Antioch University Repository and Archive, and OhioLINK ETD Center,


LaTonya Branham, Ph.D.

ORCID Scholar ID #: #000-0001-8642-8240

LaTonya Branham currently serves as the University Registrar with the rank of Assistant Professor at DePauw University. During the span of her career in higher education, LaTonya has worked at a community college and a historically black university in Ohio. She is committed to advancing efforts that lead to optimum collegiate learning experiences and faculty enrichment in higher education through scholarly research and professional engagement. LaTonya earned a Bachelor of Science in Organizational Management from Wilberforce University, a Master of Arts in Management from Antioch University McGregor (now Midwest), a Master of Arts and Ph.D. in Leadership and Change from Antioch University. She is a published author and supports various literary initiatives. Her motto is to “educate and elevate!”

Dr. LaTonya Branham’s LinkedIn: