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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Pathways to Success: Black Women's Perspectives on Successfully Completing Doctoral Education
by Flowers, Theresa Danielle, Ph.D., Adelphi University, 2017, 140; 10902270
Abstract (Summary)

Schools of social work are facing a challenge of a lack of social workers with a doctorate to fill faculty positions expected to open due to faculty retiring. There is also a need for more ethnic diversity among social work faculty and schools are struggling to recruit and retain more faculty. This qualitative study used phenomenological methods to explore the factors that 20 Black women attribute to earning their doctorate degree in social work. It used Tinto’s theory of graduate persistence, critical race theory, and Black feminist thought to contextualize the findings.

All of the participants were first generational doctoral students. Two factors motivated them to earn their doctorates (1) influence of family, friends and mentors and (2) their desire to help others. Findings also revealed that participants encountered a number of internal and external obstacles during their studies. While these obstacles delayed many of the women, they did not stop them. The women perceived these obstacles to be connected to their race, gender, and class. All of the women prevailed against the obstacles they encountered utilizing internal supports such as their faith and determination. They also relied on external supports from those with whom they had interpersonal relationships, including family, friends, and their institutions. These findings suggest that having support from their institution and encouragement from their family and friends served as a protective factor to the obstacles they encountered. These findings also outline the dichotomy of finances in this study. Overall 90% of participants received some type of funding for their, however all of accumulated financial debt in pursuit of their doctorate. Based on the findings of this study the following suggestions are made for schools of social work. A) Address issues of institutional racism by providing mentorship training courses for faculty. B) Conduct research to test the effectiveness of recommendations outlined in this study. C) Provide more training and resources to prepare Black women who aspire to pursue their Ph.D. in social work.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Lane, Shannon
School: Adelphi University
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-A 79/11(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Black studies, Educational sociology, Social work, Higher education
Keywords: African American, Black women, Doctoral education, Female, Qualitative research, Social work education
Publication Number: 10902270
ISBN: 978-0-438-10676-5
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