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ERIC Number: ED552357
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 231
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-2679-4121-3
Understanding the Relationships and Experiences That Contribute to African Americans' Decision to Enroll in Doctoral Education
McCallum, Carmen Michelle
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Michigan
African Americans have made great advancements in postsecondary education. Over the last thirty years, enrollment and degree attainment has increased over 65% at undergraduate and graduate degree levels (National Center for Education Statistics, 2008). Yet despite these gains, African Americans continue to severely trail behind other racial and ethnic groups at critical places in the postsecondary educational pipeline. Regardless of academic ability, social, economic, and cultural barriers frequently prevent African Americans from enrolling and succeeding in college at the rate of their racially diverse peers. Consequently, many high-achieving African American students do not transition into doctoral education. The statistics on doctoral degree attainment speaks volume to this phenomenon. Out of the 60,616 doctorates awarded during the 2006-2007 academic year only 3,727 were earned by African Americans (NCES, 2008). African Americans are not earning the doctorate at the rate of their peers, but perhaps more importantly, researchers have neglected to learn from those who have successfully navigated the educational pipeline and enrolled in doctoral programs. The doctoral literature is replete with studies that identify why African Americans are not enrolling but few scholars' research how students overcome barriers to succeed. Studies which focus specifically on African American's doctoral decision processes are almost nonexistent. Hence, we have very little knowledge of how and why African Americans pursue the doctorate. This study uses a social capital framework to explore the factors that influence African Americans to enroll in doctoral education. Using a strength base-approach this qualitative study utilizes semi-structured interviews to explore the role of family relationships, college experiences, and community values in the decision to enroll in doctoral education. Findings revealed that African Americans levy resources from family members, faculty, and their community in order to persist towards doctoral education. Resources participants' received were both intangible (e.g. encouragement) and tangible (e.g. assistant with personal statements). Male and female participants varied in the type of resources they were provided and needed. Additionally, narratives confirmed that African Americans desire to earn their PhD as a means to earn credentials that would qualify them to become leaders in the African American community. [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