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Michael D. Eisner College of Education

College of Education

Personnel Directory

Nathan Durdella

Nathan  Durdella
Associate Professor
Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies
Office:ED 2234
Phone:818 677 3316


Nathan R. Durdella is an associate professor in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at California State University, Northridge (CSUN), where he teaches graduate-level courses in action research, academic planning, and qualitative research methods and focuses his research on student-faculty interaction and college student transitions. Durdella serves as project evaluator for CSUN's HSI-STEM/AIMS2 project designed to promote community college transfer and baccalaureate degree completion in engineering and computer science fields. Durdella also serves as an associate editor of New Directions for Community Colleges, a quarterly sourcebook on leading community college issues published by Jossey-Bass/Wiley.

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Durdella, N.R. (2010, Spring). Evaluations that respond: Prescription, application, and implications of responsive evaluation theory for community college instructional support programs. Journal of Applied Research in the Community College 17(2), 13-23.


This study examines two community college instructional support programs to explore the effectiveness of an evaluation model—responsive evaluation theory—that may ease the tensions between a concern over programs’ processes and reporting requirements for program outcomes. The study uses a comparative qualitative case study design and applies responsive evaluation’s prescriptive steps to assess the research questions: How effectively does responsive evaluation theory operate as an evaluation model? How does responsive evaluation theory articulate with systematic evaluation theories? Results indicate that responsive evaluation can be an effective model if evaluators consult program faculty and staff, who in turn express an interest in building a collaborative evaluation, and if the purpose of the evaluation is to examine process-oriented issues. Results further indicate that responsive and systematic evaluation models articulate well in that outcomes-oriented issues can be examined within the context of a responsive evaluation. Finally, results demonstrate that the responsive evaluation process can be highly politicized and, consequently, addresses the concerns of stakeholders to varying degrees.

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Sheldon, C.Q., & Durdella, N.R. (2010, January-February). Success rates for students taking compressed and regular length developmental courses in the community college. Community College Journal of Research and Practice, 34(1/2), 39-54.


In recent years, developmental education in the community colleges has received much attention. However, there has been little research examining the relationship between course length and course success in developmental education. Using historical enrollment data from a large, suburban community college in southern California, this study examines the relationship between course length and course success in developmental education when social and academic background characteristics are controlled. The study hypothesized that there would be no significant or practical difference in success rates for students taking compressed (i.e., courses less than eight weeks in length) or regular length developmental English, reading, or math courses when social or academic characteristics are controlled. Results demonstrate that developmental course length was associated with statistically and practically significant differences in course success observed across all categories of age, gender, and ethnicity. Students enrolled in compressed-format courses were more likely to succeed than students enrolled in regular-length courses. Higher successful course completion rates for compressed courses were observed across all departments, with the highest successful course completion rates in eight week format in English. Further, students—irrespective of age, race, or gender—were more likely to successfully complete compressed format courses than their counterparts in regular length courses. Findings point to an educational benefit for students who enroll in compressed courses. Future research in this area includes an examination of students’ progress through a sequence of developmental education courses and a look into the effect of college experience and environment factors related to success in compressed courses.

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Durdella, N. R., & Kim, Y. K. (2012). Understanding patterns of college outcomes among student veterans. Journal of Studies in Education, 2(2), 109-129.    
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Korgan, C., Durdella, N., & Stevens, M.  (2013).  The development of academic self-efficacy among first-year college students in a comprehensive public university.  Higher Education in Review 10, 11-37.
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Korgan, C, & Durdella N.  (2016, April).  Examining capacity for meaning-making in relation to educational resilience in first-year, full-time college students.  Journal of The First-Year Experience & Students in Transition, 28(1).   
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Understanding Leadership with Women Community College Executives