Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Doctor of Education




Bishop,Pamela, W

2nd Supervisor

Faubert, Brent



Social Capital can have a positive impact on a student’s ability to be successful in their schooling (Coleman, 1987, 1988, 1990 & 1994). Coleman’s research identified norms, networks, and trust as being crucial to the definition of social capital. This dissertation explores the manifestation of / or what it “looks like” and particular outcomes of social capital within the context of a college in Ontario. Specifically, this exploratory case study (Yin, 2014) examined the perspectives of senior leadership on the ways social capital is currently evident in their college and how it contributes publically to positive outcomes for students. Data collection included the use of semi-structured interviews (n=7), collection of college documents, and other relevant, publically available materials. The data were analyzed using a modified version of constant comparative method to identify key themes. In broad terms, the findings, aligned with Coleman’s norms, networks, and trust (1987, 1988) suggested that college leaders can help to underpin student success through the creation of supports and networks for students, and if this occurs for all students (not just for those students of privilege), there is a prospect of reducing inequality (Loury, 2003). Trust was also found to be an import underpinning norm. The findings may provide important insights for use in institutional strategic planning and direction-setting to assist college leadership to consider and strengthen the college environment so as to support students’ social capital. Recommendations for future research on social capital are discussed.