Doctor of Education
Higher and Adult Education
Katrina Anne Meyer
Beverly G Bond
Jeffery L Wilson
The purpose of this grounded theory study was to generate a theory that explained the persistence and attrition of African Americans who integrated a southern, urban university. Using a grounded theory methodology from a constructivist paradigm, the following research questions guided this study: (a) What factors contribute to African Americans staying and graduating from an institution he or she integrated? and (b) What are the reasons participants identify for departure from the institution? Data were collected using in-depth unstructured interviews, document analysis, and the co-construction of knowledge between the researcher and the participants. Seven individuals participated in this study. The participants identified four factors that contributed to their graduation and three factors that resulted in their departure. The factors that encouraged the participants to persist and graduate were strong commitment and intent to graduate, self-motivation and determination, the socialization received from the mother, and parental and community support and encouragement. Three factors influenced the participants to depart the institution: unfriendly campus climate, lack of fit with the collegiate environment, and having achieved the goal of integrating the institution.The emergent grounded theory indicated the participants’ decision to attend was based on cost of attendance, parental and community encouragement, and the opportunity to right an injustice. After enrolling in the institution, the decision about whether to stay or depart was based on parental and community involvement, institutional fit and attitude, and campus climate. These results are both similar and divergent from results of other research studies conducted in higher education on student persistence and attrition.
Dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.
Cox, James Charles, "Building the Bridges to Opportunity: Understanding the Persistence and Departure of African Americans Who Integrated a Southern Urban University" (2012). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 410.