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Perceptions of faculty and students of important influences on the classroom learning of African American students at predominately White institutions

Eric Stanley Bonaparte, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


The purpose of this qualitative research study was to identify how (and to what extent) techniques and practices influence the learning of African American college students in predominately White institutions (PWI) because emerging trends in the performance of African American students reveal a decrease in retention and graduate rates. This study involved a set of 14 open-ended questions used for the interview protocol, and primary participants selected were 20 full-time award winning faculty members with at least five years teaching experience; secondary participants involved 80 recent Junior and Senior level students of the faculty members.^ The analysis of the data revealed that both faculty and students indicated that the environment played a significant role in influencing learning, and a key variable included environmental dynamics such as cooperative, individualized and unbiased instruction. The study also revealed that professors who successfully influenced learning utilized a multitude of teaching techniques, and these professors also utilized a strong teaching philosophy and were described by their students as possessing strong characteristics which included being caring and compassionate.^ Furthermore, the study revealed apparent limitations in the ability to further influence learning at the PWIs studied. These limitations included a lack of good assessment planning, learning style testing, faculty instruction development, and enhanced student faculty interaction. Based on the implications presented in the study, positive influences in learning may result in improved performance, retention and graduation rates of all students—not just African American students. The conclusion expanded on the existing body of knowledge by indicating that African American students—when given a fair and equitable environment—need no special treatment to be successful at Predominately White Institutions.^

Subject Area

Black Studies|Education, Educational Psychology|Education, Higher

Recommended Citation

Bonaparte, Eric Stanley, "Perceptions of faculty and students of important influences on the classroom learning of African American students at predominately White institutions" (2009). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3354794.