Exploring Black student perceptions of institutional factors related to persistence in a central Texas community college system
This exploration and analysis of Black student perceptions of institutional factors that support and impede their persistence in an urban community college system provide information for college administrators and personnel to use in the development of college policies and retention initiatives. Thirty-four Black students of varying ages and educational backgrounds participated in focus group and individual interviews for eightweeks. Several common supportive factors emerged from the collective narratives: a welcoming atmosphere on one of six campuses and select exemplary faculty and staff on several campuses. Perceptions of common impeding factors included mono-cultural campus climates; ineffective communication methods; under prepared faculty and counselors; a lack of academic support; and limited opportunities for social interaction. Participants’ articulated needs included better-prepared faculty and counselors, enhanced communication; and an increase in opportunities for academic integration and ethnic group social integration within the college system and the community. Researcher recommendations to college administrators included using the organization’s values as a means to develop retention policies, as well as conducting additional qualitative studies to further explore the perceptions of older students and other ethnic minority students.