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Access Type

WSU Access

Date of Award

January 2017

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Department

Educational Leadership and Policy

First Advisor

Carolyn Muriel Shields

Abstract

ABSTRACT

AN ANALYSIS OF GATEWAY PROGRAMS ON AFRICAN AMERICAN STUDENT RETENTION: A CASE STUDY IN AN URBAN HIGHER EDUCATION SETTING

by

JANICE COOK JOHNSON

MAY 2017

Advisor: Dr. Carolyn Muriel Shields

Major: Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

Degree: Doctor of Philosophy

Existing policies and processes have not gone far enough to eradicate the persistent academic achievement gap at Wayne State University. Nor has identifying poor student academic preparation prior to enrollment. By accepting this reality and responsibility, officials and members within the university community can affect change, bringing parity to retention through graduation, by becoming proficient at serving the students it enrolls.

This study unearthed some biases regarding student progression by treatment programs. White students were more likely to enroll at the university through the Honors program. These students traditionally performed high on academic measurement indices. Conversely, African American students were more likely to enroll at the university through an alternative admissions program such as TRiO or DCE whose mission was to support under-served often low-income and first generation students. So why then, does the institution compare the progress of Honor students with deficit enrollment students?

Another bias was in the process in which African American students enrolled at the university. This research found that 37.78 percent of African American students enrolled though a gateway program and that those students comprised 52.26 percent of all students in a treatment program. Moreover, the treatment programs African Americans were enrolled were deficit model programs.

This was the contribution of this research. To link how those barriers pointed to how Wayne State University interacted with, provided services to, and ultimately judged the academic progress African American students were making as unsuccessful. As stated in the beginning of this research, the educational achievement gap was a by-product of a racialized society. African Americans did not become over-represented in the lower class in America because of inferior genetic makeup, nor was that the reason they were not progressing at Wayne State University. They are being removed from equal opportunity, starting their university experience behind the preparedness level of other students, and then being blamed for not being successful.

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