Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Jeris, Laurel

Degree Name

Ed.D. (Doctor of Education)

Legacy Department

Department of Counseling, Adult and Higher Education


African American college students--Illinois; Academic achievement--Illinois


In this study, I examined the experiences of African American students in a predominantly White community college and the effects of these experiences on academic success using a basic form of qualitative research and through the lens of Critical Race Theory. Colaizzi's 1978 Seven Step Method of Analysis was used for the analysis of data with the modification of adding story mapping to these steps. The results produced two categories: racial identity and attitude toward college learning. Under the category of racial identity, three themes emerged: comfort level, insensitivity of faculty, and stereotyping. Under the category of attitude toward college learning, two themes emerged: adjustment to college and family support. Through the use of the story mapping technique, participants were able to tell their stories and give their own unique voices to their experiences as an underrepresented minority in a predominantly White community college. Personal narratives included meaningful stories from the participants' pasts, presents, and their hopes for the future. Participants related experiences that they felt impeded or slowed their academic progression such as negative stereotyping, cultural assumptions, and faculty insensitivity. Feelings of discomfort from witnessing stereotypical behavior were described by some participants. They described the insensitivity of faculty with regard to Black culture and historical accuracy surrounding Black history. Some participants noted that White faculty always appeared to be on edge, being careful not to offend. Participants described their successes as well as their failures in adjusting to college study. They related experiences that propelled them along their academic paths. These included learning experiences as they adjusted to the rigors of college academia with regard to time spent in class, in study away from class, and in setting priorities. They related that feeling support from biological family members or significant others in their academic endeavors was a major influence on their success. This study does not explore new territory, as it is well represented in the literature surrounding four-year college institutions. However, it does investigate a relatively unexplored problem that exists at the community college level. It offers potential for replication with other underrepresented groups that matriculate through the community college system.


Includes bibliographical references (pages [149]-161)


ix, 179 pages




Northern Illinois University

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