Master of Arts in Higher Education (MAHE) Theses

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

First Advisor

Drew Moser

Second Advisor

Skip Trudeau

Third Advisor

Tim Herrmann


Every year, students of color across the United States diversify their university campuses; in return, many of them fail to engage with their peers or succeed in their class work due to feelings of neglect or fear that contribute to a lack of engagement and success. To begin to explore the challenges students of color face when enrolled at a predominantly white institution, one must look into how their experiences help or hinder their thriving.

Beyond surviving in a college environment, thriving conveys a student’s full engagement in his or her intellectual, social, and emotional experiences. A sense of psychological well-being contributes to their persistence to graduation and to life (Schreiner, Pothoven, Nelson, & McIntosh, 2009). To best help students of color thrive throughout their college experience, this study asked students of color two questions. The first related to their perceptions of their own thriving, and the second explored the factors of thriving students of color excel in while enrolled at a predominantly white institution. Five factors determine students’ thriving: academic determination, diverse citizenship, engaged learning, positive perspective, and social connectedness.

This study used the Thriving Quotient by Laurie Schreiner (2010). Forty-five students of color completed the survey, and the data was analyzed in two data sets: first-year students and upperclassmen. The results indicated students of color are indeed thriving, and most of them are represented in four of the five thriving factors. However, there are still students of color who are not thriving, and they should not be overlooked.