A PERSISTENCE MODEL FOR AFRICAN AMERICAN MALE URBAN COMMUNITY COLLEGE STUDENTS
ABSTRACT A considerable amount of effort is expended encouraging students to enroll in higher education programs. It is, therefore, disappointing to all concerned when students fail to complete their programs. It is even more distressing when one particular group of enrollees is identified as failing to persist with their studies at a disproportionately high rate. This was the issue faced by Kennedy‐King College during the early 1990s. The African American male, nontraditional student (either more than 24 years old, or part‐time enrollee, or live off campus), was identified in this category with the withdrawal/departure behavior becoming a serious and increasing problem.Kennedy‐King College is a non‐residential, two‐year community college located in a neighborhood of Chicago that is predominantly African American (97%), low income (70% below the poverty level), with a comparatively high crime rate and a public school system that has been described as “somewhat ineffective.” More than 30% of the students are residents of this community.The study consisted of a literature review; consideration of the variables identified from the review that had previously been thought to affect student persistence; quantitative and qualitative data collection and analysis carried out with the African American male students; the development and testing of a persistence model incorporating previous and newly identified variables; and the development of a college strategy designed to increase the persistence of these students.
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ABSTRACT: The majority of our nation‟s academic institutions fall short in their efforts to ensure that African American students successfully persist from admission to graduation. Since the majority of African American students attend Predominately White Institutions (PWIs), these institutions must be held to the highest standard of accountability for African American student retention. Therefore, PWIs must explore alternative retention mechanisms that will increase the African American student‟s integration into campus life. This study examined the perceived effects of gospel choir participation on the retention of African American students at a PWI. Qualitative methodology was utilized to assess whether or not participation in this specific extracurricular activity had implications in support of African American student persistence. Using the social integration component of Tinto‟s retention theory, this researcher explored whether or not gospel choir participants maintained stronger linkages to the campus and their African American and spiritual heritage, thereby decreasing feelings of marginalization and increasing persistence. Individual interviews and focus groups were held with student choristers and the choir‟s musical staff to assess perceived feelings of integration. Through the summarization of qualitative responses, it was found that African American student choristers felt an overwhelmingly strong sense of support from their peers and the musical leadership of the gospel choir. Some students reported that the choir was their primary reason for remaining at the institution. This study concluded that gospel choir participation decreased feelings of marginalization and enhanced feelings of social integration. Therefore, this study encourages PWIs to consider college gospel choirs as an additional resource when attempting to positively impact African American student persistence at a PWI. Dissertation Chair: Dr. Wenfan Yan Dissertation Committee Members: Dr. Cathy C. Kaufman and Dr. Monte Tidwell
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ABSTRACT: An increasing number of students are selecting for-profit universities to pursue their education (Snyder, Tan & Hoffman, 2006). Despite this trend, little empirical research attention has focused on these institutions, and the literature that exists has been classified as rudimentary in nature (Tierney & Hentschke, 2007). The purpose of this study was to investigate the factors that differentiated students who persisted beyond the first session at a for-profit university. A mixed methods research design consisting of three strands was utilized. Utilizing the College Student Inventory, student’s self-reported perceptions of what their college experience would be like was collected during strand 1. The second strand of the study utilized a survey design focusing on the beliefs that guided participants’ decisions to attend college. Discriminant analysis was utilized to determine what factors differentiated students who persisted from those who did not. A purposeful sample and semi-structured interview guide was used during the third strand. Data from this strand were analyzed thematically. Students’ self-reported dropout proneness, predicted academic difficulty, attitudes toward educators, sense of financial security, verbal confidence, gender and number of hours worked while enrolled in school differentiated students who persisted in their studies from those who dropped out. Several themes emerged from the interview data collected. Participants noted that financial concerns, how they would balance the demands of college with the demands of their lives, and a lack of knowledge about how colleges operate were barriers to persistence faced by students. College staff and faculty support were reported to be the most significant supports reported by those interviewed. Implications for future research studies and practice are included in this study.
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ABSTRACT: Efforts to improve retention and graduation among minority students have been commonplace in higher education, but few such efforts have been undertaken in sociology. In this presidential address, I document that in sociology, as in other disciplines, disproportionate numbers of African American and Latino/a students do not graduate. I examine sociological research on the barriers to success that face students of color in predominantly white colleges, and on what can be done to help overcome these barriers. An example of a successful program to increase the graduation rates of minority and working-class students in sociology is discussed, and the sociological discipline is challenged to use its knowledge and insights to help improve opportunities for minority and working-class students in sociology.Sociological Quarterly 12/2001; 43(1):1 - 25. DOI:10.1111/j.1533-8525.2002.tb02381.x · 1.14 Impact Factor