Centering Black Student Success

A Review of Three Qualitative Studies to Aid in the Increase of African American/Black Student Success

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Unified Themes

  • Importance of Counterspaces

    Counterspaces serve as a space of refuge and respite for Black students. Additionally, counterspaces allow students to learn about their identity and themselves.

    Black spaces feel more authentic and more rhythm and vibe-based ... whenever in a Black space, I feel like I can play out of tune. When I’m not, then I don’t feel like I can play out of tune. -KP
  • Black Student Representation

    Participants shared that representation matters because it decreases feelings of isolation and helps them forge community.

    So it’s kinda like you’re experiencing a whole different culture [at OSU's ATI/Wooster campus], but it’s like basically your own [Black] culture was like wiped off of the entire face of that area, like, it’s – it’s just you. -Analise
  • Roles of Black Faculty and Staff

    Participants shared that the presence of and interaction with Black faculty and staff was motivating, inspiring and comforting to them.

    I felt like if I needed to talk to her [my professor] or ask her for advice, or anything, she would definitely sit down and talk to me about it [my concerns], especially because she is a woman of color and she would have a better insight than my White male professors. I felt comfortable talking to her. -Diamond
  • Mental Health and Wellness

    Participants shared that their access to mental health services varied. They experienced barriers including mental health counselors who were not culturally competent, embedded counselors who did not understand racial background, and personal time commitment.

    Nope, just myself. We may have talked about it [mental health] with friends. No therapy or counseling or speak to someone to share my side. Or counselors on campus, if I reached out to them, they wouldn’t understand unless they were Black. Chances are they [mental health counselors] wouldn’t be Black. -Jorgio
  • White Cultural Competence

    Participants shared that they expected white stakeholders to be more progressive. It was not the responsibility of Black students to teach/correct, and participants noted how meaningful it was to encounter a campus member/leader who was culturally competent.

    I feel comfortable talking to him [my advisor] about any issues I might have or anything. Even though he is White, he [my advisor] is aware of racial and societal injustices and dynamics. He is not clueless. -Diamond
  • Communicating the Value of the Black OSU Community

    Participants shared that they felt it important to note their concern with institutional messages and processes not matching their formal and informal practices.

    I can tell you right now, most minority students do not - the ones I have talked to when I do talk to people about it [the bias reporting process], they don’t have much faith in it [the bias reporting process]. And that’s because we never see anything done with our reports. It is literally like writing a paper that you should not get graded for. - Analise
Woman Holding Glasses

Population-Specific Findings

Black Campus Change Students

  • Regional Campus Stigma
  • The Importance of Orientation to Relevant Resources

Black Men in 3rd and 4th Years

  • Academic guidance and scheduling even if not in a bridge program

Black Students in 4th and 5th Years

  • The importance of institutional involvement