• A Study of How Predominantly White Institutions of Higher Education in Indiana Address Retention and Graduation Rates of African American Students

      Smith, Shawn A.
      This primary purpose of this study was to examine practices of Predominantly White Institutions (PWI) of higher education in Indiana that focus on the retention and graduation of African American students. This study was guided by the following research question, are there effective practices found in the K-12 and HBCU literature that can be identified in PWIs in Indiana that positively affect the retention and graduation of African American students? For this study, a qualitative method was used. A review of the literature on K-12 and HBCUs strategies assisted the researcher in developing interview questions that were used to identify practices in retaining and graduating African American students in PWIs in the Midwest. Ten participants from PWIs participated in the telephone interviews to identify common and /or unique practices as compared to the literature. Based on the interviews the following themes were identified: 1. Supportive Environment – All attempt to provide supportive environments. 2. Remediation - The ability to remediate and support students in need of academic help. 3. Faculty - Caring faculty members who are committed to teaching. 4. The Presence of a Racially Diverse Staff - An environment that does not shout “White”. After careful review of the literature and data from this research, it was clear that hiring a caring, diverse staff may be the major difference between HBCUs and PWIs. It must be noted that differences among PWIs also exist as it relates to the retention and graduation rates of African American students.
    • Raising African American Student Graduation Rates: A Best Practices Study of Predominantly White Liberal Arts Colleges

      Pool, Robert W.
      This qualitative study sought to explore best practices at small, private liberal arts institutions that experienced large increases in African American graduation rates. Particular focus was on institutions that enrolled less than 17% minority students whose overall enrollment fell within the middle 50% of all SAT scores and the middle 50% of institutional full time equivalent (FTE) spending. Two colleges were selected for study via one-on-one interviews of key personnel, focus groups of students, and institutional document analyses. Themes from the data which participants felt contributed to the unusually large African American graduation rate increases are discussed.