Date of Degree


Degree Name

Ed.D. (Doctor of Education)


Department of Counseling and Higher Education (CAHE)


Mac, Jacqueline

Committee Members

Dr. Quortne Hutchings, Dr. Katy Jaekel


Black students, art education, retention, Critical Race Theory, student success, Community Cultural Wealth, poetic transcription


This critical narrative inquiry explored the strengths of Black undergraduate students who study the creative arts. The research centered on the unique wealth that Black students bring to their institutions, as highlighted through the Community Cultural Wealth model. The study found that participants: used aspirational capital to fuel them in attending college and pursuing the arts; used linguistic capital in general, and code switching in particular, to navigate various cultures and spaces, to facilitate hard conversations on topics such as racism, and to ensure that their voices were heard and respected; networked with other artists to create strong work through their collaboration; created their own opportunities, in direct opposition to oppressive systems or racist individuals; and identified peer, staff, and faculty mentorship as key to their success. Students expressed their Blackness through their art and sought to increase racial representation in their field by featuring Black identity in their creative work. Thus, they developed as creatives while cementing their racial identities. The researcher collaborated with the participants by distilling the interview transcripts into found poetry. Each poem represents one research finding as illustrated through the student experience. These poems are meant to present the data creatively and honor the student voices, as they are co-creators in this research. This knowledge will help higher education to better understand the strengths and practices that Black creative students utilize to succeed and graduate.


Northern Illinois University

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