Title page for ETD etd-03082011-110835

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Alexander, Quentin Renard
Author's Email Address qrt6205@vt.edu
URN etd-03082011-110835
Title Adjustment Experiences of African American Graduates of Historically Black Colleges or Universities Attending Graduate School at a Southern Predominantly White University
Degree PhD
Department Counselor Education
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Bodenhorn, Nancy E. Committee Chair
Burge, Penny L. Committee Member
Day-Vines, Norma L. Committee Member
Hirt, Joan B. Committee Member
  • PWU
  • HBCU
  • social adjustment
  • African American
  • personal-emotional adjustment
Date of Defense 2001-02-22
Availability unrestricted
The purpose of this study was to examine the adjustment experiences of African American graduates of historically Black colleges or universities (HBCUs) attending graduate school at a Southern predominantly White university (PWU). A discussion of narratives and themes across participants provided information about the adjustment experiences of African American graduate students who transitioned from a university community where the student population was predominantly African American to one where African American students were the minority. This information can be utilized by both PWUs and HBCUs to develop resources that address issues related to adjustment for African American graduate students.

This study was phenomenological by design and focused on analyzing the adjustment experiences of 11 female African American graduate students attending a Southern PWU. Participants were between the ages of 22-28, graduated from 10 different HBCUs across 8 states, represented 8 different graduate majors and had been in graduate school an average of 3.5 semesters. Research methodology included participant interviews, demographic questionnaires and investigator field notes. Collected data were analyzed using a coding iteration strategy.

Descriptions of participant experiences were documented and ten prominent themes emerged from the data: support systems, negative emotionality, distrust, academic frustration, lack of African American presence, non-cohesive African American community, racial microaggressions, prior acquaintances and resilience.

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