A case study of the experiences of black students at a council for Christian colleges and universities member institution

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University of Alabama Libraries

Black students continue to be underrepresented at Predominantly White Institutions and persist at lower rates than their White counterparts. Council of Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU) member institutions with evangelical missions continue to struggle more than other private institutions with racial inequality as it relates to retention and graduation rates. The overall purpose of this qualitative study was to better understand the experiences of Black students at a CCCU institution. Specific objectives were to better understand how Black students experience campus, academic, and religious life at a CCCU institution. Using a descriptive case-study approach, I interviewed 22 participants at Private Christian University (PCU) and analyzed the data using In Vivo Coding, constant comparison, and thematic analysis. The findings indicate that Black students at PCU face a number of academic and social challenges. They rely on relationships with peers, faculty, and staff to help navigate those challenges and in many cases are able to look back on them in constructive and positive ways. Findings also suggest formal religious activities that are required and presumed by the institution to be nurturing are having the opposite effect for some Black students at PCU. I also found that Black students are turned off by the style of worship and in particular the type of music that is central to the religious services. Many of them cope with disliking the campus convocations by seeking other religious outlets on campus and in the local community. Understanding the experiences of Black students at an individual CCCU institution may provide insights for improving retention and graduation rates for Black. A better understanding of how Black students experience this CCCU institution can also help practitioners create programs and initiatives that improve their experience. Educating faculty and staff regarding the importance of relationships with Black students should be a priority.

Electronic Thesis or Dissertation
Higher education administration