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A Comparative Study of Ethnic Minority-Serving Higher Education Institutions in the United States and China

Xiong, Weiyan (2019) A Comparative Study of Ethnic Minority-Serving Higher Education Institutions in the United States and China. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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American Indians and Alaska Natives (AIANs) in the United States and Ethnic Minorities (EMs) in China are both underrepresented groups in their higher education (HE) systems regarding access and attainment. Also, their cultures and languages confront challenges in contemporary societies dominated by the mainstream cultures and languages, as well as the trend of globalization. Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs) in the United States and Ethnic Minority-Serving Institutions (EMSIs) in China increasingly play a significant role in changing the disadvantageous situations of AIAN and Chinese Ethnic Minority (CEM) students in both HE systems. Also, they are critical in AIAN tribal nation building and CEM policy implementation, as well as in the preservation of indigenous and ethnic minority languages, cultures, and identities. TCUs and EMSIs face some common challenges such as financial constraints and student readiness for HE and preparation for the job market, as well as unique challenges caused by the specific political and HE contexts in the United States and China.

This dissertation is based on a qualitative comparative study of ethnic minority-serving higher education institutions (HEIs)—TCUs and EMSIs. To answer the central research question—how TCUs and EMSIs address challenges in serving AIANs and CEMs—the author conducted a series of in-depth, semi-structured oral interviews with 29 TCU and EMSI administrators and content area experts (CAEs) of AIAN and EM HE in the United States and China.

Findings from this study confirm that TCUs and EMSIs play significant roles in providing HE opportunities to AIAN and CEM students, as well as in preserving indigenous and ethnic cultures and languages. Both TCUs and EMSIs enjoy some similar facilitating factors including favorable external environments and internal characteristics and efforts. They also face similar challenges, some of which are opposites to the listed facilitating factors. In response to the challenges, TCUs and EMSIs present some exemplary strategies and good practices, which demonstrate the great potential of the education and services they provide to their students and communities. From a comparative perspective, the efforts of TCUs and EMSIs in addressing these challenges sometimes differ because of their respective political and HE contexts. TCUs tend to have more of a pragmatic and institutional-level focus to solve current problems and continue their successful strategies and practices. In comparison, the efforts of EMSIs are influenced largely by Chinese national policies, which are not only on HE but also in other areas like the economy, development, and foreign affairs. Therefore, EMSIs focus on efforts to better take advantage of resources brought by national policies.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Xiong, Weiyanxiong.weiyan@hotmail.comwex240000-0003-2114-0208
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Thesis AdvisorJacob, W.
Committee CoChairDonato, Richarddonato@pitt.edudonato
Committee MemberFerketish, B. Jeanferkjean@pitt.eduferkjean
Committee MemberSutin, Stewart
Committee MemberChen,
Date: 31 January 2019
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 10 July 2018
Approval Date: 31 January 2019
Submission Date: 15 January 2019
Access Restriction: 2 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 2 years.
Number of Pages: 212
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Education > Administrative and Policy Studies
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Tribal Colleges and Universities; Ethnic Minority-Serving Institutions; Indigenous Higher Education; American Indian and Alaska Native; Chinese Ethnic Minority
Date Deposited: 31 Jan 2019 16:23
Last Modified: 20 Apr 2022 05:15


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