Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Executive Leadership

First Supervisor

Jennifer Schulman

Second Supervisor

Janet Lyons


This study examined and compared the perceived experiences of African American and African Caribbean students during their first year of college at a predominately White institution (PWI) through the lens of Astin’s theory of student involvement, Tinto’s theory of student departure and Ogbu’s theory of cultural ecology. This study explored the intersectionality of students’ racial and ethnic identifies to further uncover their shared experiences, as well as the difference aspects of their college environment, to help them develop a sense of belonging as African American and African Caribbean students. The study explored precollege characteristics and environmental and institutional factors that contributed to the retention of these two populations. A qualitative research methodology captured the experiences of 12 participants, through face-to-face individual interviews, to gain insight into the lived experiences of these two groups and to understand how African American and African Caribbean students develop a sense of belonging at a PWI. The study examined implications for the retention and college completion of African American and African Caribbean students as well as future approaches to increase the retention rates among these populations. Results show that there are distinct differences for African American and African Caribbean students especially related to precollege factors, socioeconomic status, and social and academic integration. Recommendations were made for colleges and universities including understanding the differences between different Black students’ experiences, accommodating students’ needs based on precollege characteristics, and more recruitment of Black faculty and staff.

Available for download on Saturday, November 09, 2019

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