The purpose of this study is to examine the effects of background characteristics, initial interaction with the environment, and first-year experiences at a public, research extensive University on the racial identity and racial attitudes of African American/Black first-time, first-year University students. This study is concerned with the changes in racial identity and racial attitudes of African American/Black undergraduates during their first semester. The first semester was chosen because that is when undergraduates confront their initial adult environment and they are usually between the ages 18 and 25. The assumption is that the challenges of being exposed to a racially and culturally diverse environment will require young adults to consider what it means to be African American. The study involved two administrations of survey instruments to first-time, first-year students enrolled at the study institution during the 2009-2010 academic year. The Cross Social Attitude Scale (CSAS) and the Multidimensional Inventory of Black Identity (MIBI) were administered to the same students at the beginning of the fall semester 2009 and at the beginning of the spring semester 2010. Twenty-eight students participated in the first data collection. As a group these students were positive about their membership in the African American racial/ethnic group, felt that society at-large viewed African Americans/Blacks in unfavorable terms, and primarily held Multicultural Inclusive ideological attitudes. Of the students for who both fall and spring semester data sets were available, no statistically significant changes were found in their attitudes about membership in the African American racial/ethnic group. Student attributes in this study, such as family socioeconomic status, educational level of the parents, educational aspirations of the students, and the college-level credit brought with them from high school, suggest that the students in this study may be better prepared academically than their predecessors from the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s. Academic support services made available to African American/Black students might focus on the growth opportunities that can be addressed in non-classroom activities and facilitate an awareness of one's culture as part of general young-adult development.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. July 2013. Major: Educational Policy and Administration. Advisor: Darwin D. Hendel. 1 computer file (PDF); xii, 205 pages, appendices A-P.
Whyte, Patricia Jones.
Racial identity development of African American students during their first semester at a research University.
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