Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Social Justice and Retention: A Study of Marginalized Statistical Minority Students at a Predominantly White Rural Midwest Institution
by Whitiker, Erica, Ed.D., University of South Dakota, 2019, 159; 27665075
Abstract (Summary)

Access to quality education for African Americans, Latinx, Hispanic, and Native Americans, are among the worst in the United States. This, among many other factors, contributes to these Marginalized Statistical Minority (MSM) populations having the lowest retention rates at Predominately White Institutions (PWIs) of any other group. The purpose of this research is to study the experiences of MSM students attending a PWI in the rural Midwest. The research has identified the extent to which student perceptions of social justice practices and their campus experiences impacted their persistence and retention. Africentrism and Critical Pedagogy were used as guiding theoretical frameworks for this study. This study used a qualitative approach with a phenomenological research design. Ten students participated in the study, five juniors and five seniors. Racially, the participants identified as African American (2), Latinx and/or Hispanic (4), and Native American (4). Five emerging themes, along with nine subthemes, were identified from the data through an in-depth analysis of the individual interviews and focus group transcripts. The emerging themes expansively explored in this study are access to Higher Education, systems of support, culture shock, campus climate, and identity development. The results indicate for 60% of participants, access to Higher Education was met with difficulty. Systems of support emerged as a critical role in the success of all the participants. Advising and counter-spaces were identified as the most important systems of support. Culture shock, the third emerging theme, was discussed by all participants as an area that had initially challenged their ability to adjust and succeed. Forty percent of the participants dropped out of the university for at least one semester due to the inability to adjust. Campus Climate emerged as a critical theme in their success, both as an asset and detriment. Subthemes that arose from campus climate were; not belonging, experiencing prejudice, tokenism, and inability to be authentic. The final theme of identity development was explored in the study. Fifty percent of the participants discussed taking elective courses or adding a major or minor in racially or ethnically related subjects to learn more about themselves. The results indicate that the campus climate needs to reflect a promise of inclusive education. There also needs to be resources unambiguously allocated to the development and support of MSM students.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Avoseh, Mejai B.
Commitee: Card, Karen, Marcus, Urla, Popova, Dyanis
School: University of South Dakota
Department: Educational Administration
School Location: United States -- South Dakota
Source: DAI-A 81/10(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Educational administration, Higher Education Administration, Native American studies
Keywords: African American, Hispanic, Marginalized student, Native American, Retention, Social justice
Publication Number: 27665075
ISBN: 9798607321314
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