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ERIC Number: ED545421
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 208
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-2675-4973-0
Student Conversations: How Diverse Groups of Students Perceive College Culture, Supports, and Challenges in College Education
Cole, Kimberly Ann
ProQuest LLC, Ed.D. Dissertation, California State University, Fresno
The purpose of this study was to identify and examine student perceptions of the lived experience of college and what supported or challenged their adaptation to college culture. Focus groups divided by gender and race or ethnicity served as the primary "self-contained" data collection method. Although the questions surrounding this purpose are many and varied, this study focused on selected aspects that make up student identity and college culture. Theories examined in this study come from various academic disciplines including the social and cognitive sciences, language acquisition, theories of identity and categorization, critical thinking and others. Polyculturalism is a relatively new ideological approach and provided the conceptual framework for this study. The 2-hour focus groups were used as the primary data collection method. Ten focus group questions were used to explore the perceptions of 32 student participants from the population groups with changing presence on the California State University, Fresno campus: Black/African Americans, Hispanics or Latina/o, Southeast Asians, and White/Caucasians. Three research questions provided the basis for the protocol developed for the focus groups. Each of the questions explored in further detail how students perceived the culture of college and their place within the institution. Analysis of the data gathered for this qualitative investigation provided insight into the world of students and their perceptions of their widening culture. Results of the study provided a look into the lives of racially and ethnically diverse students and how they navigate and adapt to the complex, often unfamiliar culture of college. All of the students indicated their appreciation and enjoyment as a student on a diverse college campus. At a time when public higher education seeks to streamline services and maintain a consistent level of service, many students felt that additional help from faculty, counselors, and other support personnel on the campus would improve their ability to continue and graduate, also preparing them for future careers in an ever-widening environment. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: California