School of Education


Doctor of Philosophy in Education (PhD)


Matthew Ozolnieks

Primary Subject Area

Education, General


Attrition, Social Learning Theory, Fraternity, Sorority, African American




The purpose of this qualitative hermeneutic phenomenological study was to understand if the experiences of African American members of African American fraternities and sororities at a Predominately White Institution (PWI) impacted their collegiate experience and persistence to graduate. The researcher used Albert Bandura’s social learning theory to guide this study. Methods for African American students' persistence include leadership and modeling. The researcher chose a central question considering the perceived impact of membership in African American fraternities and sororities on its collegiate experience and persistence at a PWI. The participants of this study were a purposive type of sampling. The participants were 12 African American Alumni of the same PWI. They were student members of African American fraternities and sororities. The collection methods were an initial survey, interviews, and document analysis. The documents used for document analysis were archived yearbooks and fraternity and sorority websites. The modified Van Kaam data analysis method was used. The six themes identified from the collected data include: (a) identified hometown mentors, (b) hometown leadership examples, (c) exposure to fraternity/sorority life prior to enrollment, (d) accountability (e) elevated goals for personal achievement, and (f) personal community responsibility.

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