Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

A Comparative Study of Ethnic Minority-Serving Higher Education Institutions in the United States and China
by Xiong, Weiyan, Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh, 2018, 213; 13872038
Abstract (Summary)

American Indians and Alaska Natives (AIANs) in the United States and Ethnic Minorities (EMs) in China are both underrepresented groups in their higher education (HE) systems regarding access and attainment. Also, their cultures and languages confront challenges in contemporary societies dominated by the mainstream cultures and languages, as well as the trend of globalization. Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs) in the United States and Ethnic Minority- Serving Institutions (EMSIs) in China increasingly play a significant role in changing the disadvantageous situations of AIAN and Chinese Ethnic Minority (CEM) students in both HE systems. Also, they are critical in AIAN tribal nation building and CEM policy implementation, as well as in the preservation of indigenous and ethnic minority languages, cultures, and identities. TCUs and EMSIs face some common challenges such as financial constraints and student readiness for HE and preparation for the job market, as well as unique challenges caused by the specific political and HE contexts in the United States and China.

This dissertation is based on a qualitative comparative study of ethnic minority-serving higher education institutions (HEIs)—TCUs and EMSIs. To answer the central research question—how TCUs and EMSIs address challenges in serving AIANs and CEMs—the author conducted a series of in-depth, semi-structured oral interviews with 29 TCU and EMSI administrators and content area experts (CAEs) of AIAN and EM HE in the United States and China.

Findings from this study confirm that TCUs and EMSIs play significant roles in providing HE opportunities to AIAN and CEM students, as well as in preserving indigenous and ethnic cultures and languages. Both TCUs and EMSIs enjoy some similar facilitating factors including favorable external environments and internal characteristics and efforts. They also face similar challenges, some of which are opposites to the listed facilitating factors. In response to the challenges, TCUs and EMSIs present some exemplary strategies and good practices, which demonstrate the great potential of the education and services they provide to their students and communities. From a comparative perspective, the efforts of TCUs and EMSIs in addressing these challenges sometimes differ because of their respective political and HE contexts. TCUs tend to have more of a pragmatic and institutional-level focus to solve current problems and continue their successful strategies and practices. In comparison, the efforts of EMSIs are influenced largely by Chinese national policies, which are not only on HE but also in other areas like the economy, development, and foreign affairs. Therefore, EMSIs focus on efforts to better take advantage of resources brought by national policies.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Donato, Richard
Commitee: Donato, Richard, Ferketish, B. Jean, Jacob, W. James, Sutin, Stewart E.
School: University of Pittsburgh
Department: Higher Education Management
School Location: United States -- Pennsylvania
Source: DAI-A 80/08(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Higher Education Administration, Higher education
Keywords: Chinese ethnic minority, Minority serving institution, Native American
Publication Number: 13872038
ISBN: 9781392042601
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