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Educ. Sci. 2018, 8(2), 48;

Senior Level Administrators and HBCUs: The Role of Support for Black Women’s Success in STEM

Higher Education, Graduate School of Education, University of Pennsylvania, 3819 Chestnut Street, Suite 140, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA
Student Development Administration, College of Education, Seattle University, 901 12th Avenue, Seattle, WA 98122, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 26 January 2018 / Revised: 26 February 2018 / Accepted: 3 April 2018 / Published: 10 April 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Understanding the Rich Context of Minority Serving Institutions)
PDF [231 KB, uploaded 3 May 2018]


While it is important for college and university senior administrators to embrace the traditional roles of their administrative positions, senior administrators’ interactions with students also shape institutional culture, students’ engagement, and ultimately play a role in students’ motivation to succeed. This engagement is especially evident in the Historically Black College and University (HBCU) context as senior administrators’ engagement with students can directly or indirectly affect how students perceive themselves and their ability to succeed. This article aims to illuminate the role that HBCU senior level administrators play in students’ motivation toward success. We also highlight the notion that senior level administrators’ role in organizational culture ultimately led historically-disempowered Black women students toward success in even the most historically inaccessible pathways in the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields. The study used semi-structured interviews with 71 Black women STEM students across 10 HBCUs and asked questions to better understand how events in their lives and on their campuses shaped their choice to pursue and persist through a STEM degree program. The study found that the women were highly motivated by their HBCUs’ family-like community of support. Integral to this article, this support was not confined to professors and peers, but extended to senior administrators. We conclude that Black women STEM students’ perception of their ability to succeed and their motivation is influenced by the institutions’ senior administration. View Full-Text
Keywords: HBCU; administrators; engagement HBCU; administrators; engagement
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Washington Lockett, A.; Gasman, M.; Nguyen, T.-H. Senior Level Administrators and HBCUs: The Role of Support for Black Women’s Success in STEM. Educ. Sci. 2018, 8, 48.

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