Title page for ETD etd-07272010-144656

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Robinson, Audrey
Author's Email Address arobinso@vt.edu
URN etd-07272010-144656
Title Black and Hispanic Male Transfer Students' Experiences of Persistence at a Four-Year Research Institution
Degree PhD
Department Teaching and Learning
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Stewart, Daisy L. Committee Chair
Burge, Penny L. Committee Co-Chair
Price, William T. Jr. Committee Member
Sobrero, Patricia M. Committee Member
  • Male
  • Hispanic
  • Black
  • Persistence
  • Academic Success
  • Transfer Students
  • Community College
  • Parental Influence
Date of Defense 2010-06-30
Availability unrestricted
Education is important for keeping people productively employed and gaining important credentials for making positive life changes. Despite the gains in educational access, a gap in education achievement still exists between White and minority students in America. Many people of color are unemployed and continue to experience high poverty rates compared to the non-Hispanic White population. The racial minority population continues to be disproportionately underrepresented in higher education and degree attainment.

The purpose of this qualitative study was to describe the phenomena of persistence to graduating senior status for Black and Hispanic students who transferred from a two-year degree granting community college to Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech). Data were collected using two face-to-face, semi-structured, in-depth interviews with each of the Black and Hispanic male transfer students. A constant comparative technique was used to analyze the data. The data collection and analysis was used to answer the following research question. How do Black and Hispanic transfer students who have persisted to graduating senior status describe: (a) their academic experiences, (b) their social experiences, (c) motivators that contributed to their persistence in undergraduate studies, (d) personal characteristics necessary for successful post-transfer persistence in undergraduate studies, and (e) institutional attributes necessary for successful post-transfer persistence in undergraduate studies at Virginia Tech?

The data analysis resulted in the identification of five themes: (a) transfer students had a personal commitment to achieve their academic goals despite the hindrances they experienced; (b) transfer students’ academic performance was influenced by family expectations; (c) encouraging support from family, friends, faculty, and peer students was a factor for transfer students’ persistence; (d) building relationships within the campus community influenced transfer students’ persistence; and (e) learning from life lessons contributed to the transfer students’ persistence.

This document concludes with a discussion of the results that may be used to inform future practice, policy, and research in higher education about five Black and Hispanic male transfer students’ experiences of persistence. These students successfully adjusted to the university, made meaningful academic and social connections, became attached to the university, and are continuing in higher education.

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