• 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.
    • Mentors’ perceptions of a university–school partnership through a student African American mentoring initiative

      Gilman, Amanda
      The participants in this study were 10 African American male college mentors at Indiana State University who participated in the Indiana State University Student African American Male Mentor Program, one school counselor, and two members of the Student African American Brotherhood administration. The study examined potential benefits to mentors, such as an enhanced feeling of connection and motivation, alleviation of feelings of alienation or isolation, counteracting of negative peer impact, and increased attachment to the university. All participants took part in semi-structured interviews and three mentors took part in a focus group. Grounded theory was used to analyze the data and create a description of the experiences and perceptions of the mentors. Several themes emerged from the data collected. The findings were that being a mentor held significant personal meaning for the mentors. Being a mentor did provide the mentors with a sense of belonging to the university. Mentoring also served to help the mentors stand out as role models and helped them create connections to campus leaders. Sharing experiences and making connections with those that were mentored was a valuable experience for the mentors. Black men’s issues, such as lacking role models, feeling stuck and feeling excluded, and acting White, were themes that were discussed extensively by the mentors. Overall, the participants in this study used their role as mentor to serve the younger generation of African American men they were mentoring. The young African American mentors in this study were not hindered by the stereotypes and negative expectations that have historically plagued them.