Master of Arts in Higher Education Theses

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

First Advisor

Scott Moeschberger

Second Advisor

Randall Dodge

Third Advisor

Tim Herrmann


Black students are attending Predominantly White Institutions (PWIs) in greater numbers each year (Aries, 2008). Simultaneously, they are facing unique obstacles that have the potential to either impede persistence or affect success (Davis, et al., 2004; Greer & Chwalisz, 2007). Understanding the perceptions of the Black student population at a given institution is extremely valuable in implementing necessary change. Focus groups were used to garner the experiences of 23 Black students, staff, and faculty at a faith-based, PWI relating to their perceived sense of belonging and perceptions of the campus racial climate. Participants reported challenges and obstacles throughout their experiences as well as a variety of responses that are important to acknowledge and understand. Findings from this study present implications necessary for the future success of students of color at PWIs, especially for those institutions of similar racial makeup.