Educational Administration, Department of


Date of this Version



A DISSERTATION Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy, Major: Educational Studies (Educational Leadership and Higher Education), Under the Supervision of Professor Marilyn L. Grady. Lincoln, Nebraska: July, 2005

Copyright (c) 2005 Natasha Hanako Chapman


The purpose o f this study was to explore how biracial students described the role of the college campus environment on the development of their racial identity. The research questions were: 1) What is the biracial student’s self-assigned racial identity? 2) What life experiences have aided in the formation of the biracial individual’s racial identity? 3) How has the college experience contributed to the development o f the biracial individual’s racial identity? 4) What key factors in the campus environment were most salient to biracial college students in the development of their racial identity? 5) How do biracial college students perceive their racial identity options within the campus environment? A purposeful sample of 13 participants who were biracial or multiracial graduate students was chosen. Data collection occurred through semi-structured face-to-face and phone interviews. The data collected represented biracial experiences from 10 different undergraduate institutions. Three overarching themes emerged from the data: a) laying the foundation b) the college experience and c) visions for the future. The findings suggest that early childhood experiences laid the foundation for the racial identity of participants upon entering college. College courses, instructors and peers were salient factors in the students’ racial identity development on campus. Participants recommend that university administrators deconstruct traditional models of racial classification and develop programs and policy that are inclusive of all students.

Advisor: Marilyn L. Grady