Community colleges are increasingly accountable for student outcomes and have been focused on closing outcome gaps among groups of students. Nevertheless, Native American students have continued to be among the lowest performing ethnic groups. Yet there has been a dearth of studies on Native American community college student experiences. This dissertation addresses the lack of research by presenting perspectives of Native American community college students. Native American students’ perspectives on their educational experiences and how those experiences supported or hindered achievement of their educational goals provide a foundation for understanding why outcome gaps persist. Further, these perspectives suggest ways the gaps can be closed. The interviews and focus group conducted with 10 Native American community college students resulted in qualitative data that revealed factors that influenced students’ educational experiences and educational goals. This study finds that students’ pathways through community college, factors within the community college (faculty, campus environment, students, services, staff), student development, factors external to the community college (family, work, financial aid, “significant life challenges,” tribal community), and cultural factors (identity, symbols, behaviors, expectations, “rez life,” racism, curriculum, historical trauma, Native American classmates) influenced educational experiences and goals. This study posits that by supporting the positive factors and mitigating the negative factors, community colleges can better support Native American students in achieving their educational goals and thus move closer to closing equity gaps. Further, this dissertation recommends further research on each of these factors and how the factors influence and impact Native American community college student success.
|Commitee:||Slayton, Julie, Venegas, Kristan M.|
|School:||University of Southern California|
|School Location:||United States -- California|
|Source:||DAI-A 78/04(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Community college education, Multicultural Education, Native American studies|
|Keywords:||American indians, Community college, Native Americans|
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