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Supporting and Empowering Black and Latinx Students at Lehigh Carbon Community College

Johnson, Andrew (2021) Supporting and Empowering Black and Latinx Students at Lehigh Carbon Community College. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Graduating from college can enhance one’s life significantly, however, Black and Latinx students may face significant barriers in this process. This is a problematic concern at Lehigh Carbon Community College which is in the predominantly white area of the Lehigh Valley in Pennsylvania. The local demographics have rapidly changed and so has the college’s student population. Over the last 20 years the enrollment gap has closed between White, Black and Latinx students but the gap in degree attainment continues. Black and Latinx students are not graduating in a three-year period at the same rate as White students at Lehigh Carbon Community College. The overall graduation rate for the college is 20%; when disaggregated by race, White students graduate at a rate of 25%, Black students at 11%, and Latinx students at 10% (United States Department of Education, 2021).
A review of literature showed that a sense of belonging is key to Black and Latinx students desire to persist. Several factors can contribute to a sense of belonging, but campus climate, out of class learning, mentoring programs and faculty representation were shown to have a significant impact. I hypothesized that students did not feel comfortable or supported on campus due to a lack of sense of belonging. I implemented the Black and Latinx Student Empowerment and Support workshop to provide students with tools to be successful in college and to empower them to take control of their academic journey which can contribute to self-efficacy.
Thirty participants attended the virtual workshops and qualitative data was gathered from discussion, focus groups and surveys. The results showed that the campus climate is not conducive to a healthy learning environment for Black and Latinx students. The college does not offer enough opportunities for Black and Latinx students to engage, there is a lack of awareness of college policies and procedures, and the college lacks faculty representation for Black and Latinx students therefore lacking opportunities for mentorship. The findings show that Lehigh Carbon Community College needs to strategically plan to support the Black and Latinx students on campus to increase their chances of persisting and graduating.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Johnson, Andrewanj91@pitt.eduanj91
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairDelale-O’Connor,
Committee MemberDancy,
Committee MemberOuting,
Date: 31 August 2021
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 28 June 2021
Approval Date: 31 August 2021
Submission Date: 5 August 2021
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 123
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Education > Administrative and Policy Studies
Degree: EdD - Doctor of Education
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Support, Empowerment, Black, Latinx, Students, Sense of Belonging, Community College
Date Deposited: 31 Aug 2021 18:13
Last Modified: 31 Aug 2021 18:13


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