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First-generation African American Upper-level Students’ Perceptions and Stories of Resiliency at a Predominantly White Institution

First-generation and African American students attending predominantly White institutions (PWI), experience challenges adjusting and performing academically. Several academic and nonacademic issues adversely affect the persistence and retention of this population. The findings of this qualitative study adds to the field of multidimensional student retention initiatives for the retention of first-generation African American students. The heart of the experience of being a first-generation, African American student included lack of knowledge of a higher education environment, implicit biases, questioned intellectually, and most importantly, no sense of belonging. Implications for multidimensional student success strategies are presented.


Committee Members: Dr. Nissa Ingraham, Dr. Tim Wall, Dr. Everett Singleton, and Dr. Sara Taylor

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