The Resilience of First-Generation African-American Graduates from A Historically Black College: A Phenomenological Study




School of Education


Doctor of Education (EdD)


Dr. Deanna L. Keith


College Graduation Rates, First-Generation African-American College Graduates, First-Generation African-American College Students, Historically Black College, Resilience, Retention


Bilingual, Multilingual, and Multicultural Education | Curriculum and Social Inquiry | Education | Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research | Educational Psychology | Other Education


The purpose of this qualitative, phenomenological study was to describe the factors that contributed to the graduation of 10 first-generation, African-American college students who attended X University, a Historically Black College in the South during the academic years 2007 to 2014. A focus group of four graduates and one faculty member informed the study by helping to prepare the thinking of the researcher prior to the main study interviews and assist in the development of main study interview questions. The central study group was purposefully and snowball sampled. The data which were collected through the focus group discussion, in-depth interviews, and completion of the Resilience ScaleTM, were analyzed using transcendental phenomenological analysis. Through this analysis, it became apparent that FGAACGs were able to describe and implement their own resilience during their undergraduate studies using a positivist approach. Results showed that the two primary factors of their resilience were vision of graduating from college and support from others. This data could inform high school preparatory programs for college as well as orientation and support programs for college students. It is recommended that educators, administrators, and researchers include the positive cognitive/affective domain of resilience in planning programs for college and college bound students.

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