Rich, Wesley D ; Kevin Brady, Committee Chair,Paul Bitting, Committee Member,Bonnie Fusarelli, Committee Member,Kevin Oliver, Committee Member,Rich, Wesley D ; Kevin Brady ; Committee Chair ; Paul Bitting ; Committee Member ; Bonnie Fusarelli ; Committee Member ; Kevin Oliver ; Committee Member
This qualitative action research study investigates the common barriers encountered bysuccessful undergraduate ethnic minority students enrolled in majors that serve as apipeline for professional health sciences. Through specialized focus group interviews andindividual interviews, this study explores the perceived barriers to student successencountered by successful undergraduate ethnic minority students. Student strategies forsuccess are also examined and discussed. A review of the related literature on studentretention in college and characterizations of barriers faced by undergraduate minoritystudents is included. This study employs action research methodology in an effort tocommunicate the experiences and proposed solutions of successful undergraduateminority science students at a small, predominantly white, private university in ruralNorth Carolina. Study findings indicate that participants encountered barriers related tocommunication, prejudice, resources, academic preparation, family responsibilities andconnections with students of the same ethnicity. Findings from this study also indicatethat participants used several broad strategies to ensure their success which includenetworking, joining campus clubs and organizations, taking reasonable risks, accessingon-campus support services, and being persistent about getting their needs met.Recommendations are provided to the focal university aimed at reducing the barriersidentified by participants in this study. Finally, a number of suggestions are provided forfuture research.
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Reducing Institutional Barriers to Minority Student Success at a Predominantly White University: A Qualitative Action Research Study