Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Mackett, Muriel

Degree Name

Ed.D. (Doctor of Education)

Legacy Department

Department of Leadership in Educational and Sport Organizations


African American college students--Illinois--Attitudes; African American college students--Illinois--Social conditions; African Americans--Education (Higher); African Americans--Race identity


Female and male African-American senior undergraduate student leaders' perceptions of factors influencing their academic success at selected public doctoral degree-granting institutions in Illinois are examined. Collectively, these institutions (Illinois State University, Northern Illinois University, Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, University of Illinois in Chicago, and University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign) enroll approximately half of Illinois' African-American undergraduate students. Twenty graduating African-American student leaders participated in the study, 12 females and 8 males. The study focused on African-American students' own perceptions of factors they believed enabled them to achieve academic success. Study methodology included in-depth interviews, profiles of student demographic information, and published institutional data. Research questions addressed student perceptions of factors influencing their academic success in terms of perceived meanings of academic success, factors contributing to their success, factors making it difficult to achieve success, and recommendations for improving academic success for African-American undergraduate students. Study data provided a basis for interpretive analysis and yielded fruitful grounds for understanding factors that African-American undergraduate students may perceive as contributing to their academic success. A central finding of the study was that participating females' responses focused on both gender and identification as African-American students as related to academic success. Males' responses largely excluded gender and focused primarily on race. Female and male students' perceptions appeared similar in that they largely related their academic success to their dealing with the stigma of racial stereotyping, their motivation to succeed, their focus on academic success, and their educational and family background. Female and male students' perceptions appeared different in aspects reported by females only: attention to gender as a factor in academic success, levels of social involvement in the institution, use of institutional support services, and religious and spiritual life. Additionally, males reported more career orientation than did females. Respondent data, findings, and conclusions provide a grounded basis for institutional leadership and commitment regarding African-American student success at the baccalaureate level. Specific recommendations for institutional leadership and individual student action as well as suggestions for further research are offered.


Includes bibliographical references (pages [170]-175)


185 pages




Northern Illinois University

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