Campus Location

Dallas Campus (Online)

Date of Award


Document Type



Organizational Leadership

Degree Name

Doctor of Education

Committee Chair or Primary Advisor

Bryan Patterson

Second Committee Member or Secondary Advisor

Jennifer T. Butcher

Third Committee Member or Committee Reader

Julie McElhany


Given the large number of students who begin their college education yet never graduate, it is essential that, as higher education leaders and policymakers develop student success strategies, they consider the persistence and degree attainment dynamics of all populations. This study focuses on the problem of degree attainment from the perspective of male, second-year, African American, community college students. A qualitative narrative case study approach was used to ascertain their perception of race, status attainment, and instructional learning modalities as predictors of degree attainment. Accordingly, those perceptions were then evaluated to determine their utility as predictors of degree attainment. Six students were recruited via electronically distributed flyers and participated in semistructured interviews via Zoom. The research questions focused on these students’ perceptions of learning modalities and additional supports offered at their community college, how status attainment impacted their academic persistence, and what these male, second-year, African American, community college students perceived as institutional barriers to degree attainment. The data were hand-coded and revealed 11 emergent themes. The emergent themes were further analyzed using NVivo, revealing three primary themes categorized as follows: (a) Representation, (b) Support and (c) Race. The findings revealed that in as much as the research participants embraced the challenges within their learning environment, they perceived the need for additional support services, which they felt would contribute to retention and eventual degree attainment. Moreover, the findings also revealed that while the student generally did not experience overt racism, they still perceived institutional barriers to degree attainment grounded in implicitly biased interactions on campus. Accordingly, the perceived biases influenced these students’ perception of status as it relates to a student’s perception of self and how others view him, and also a perception of self within the context of economic and social status. Hence, this study discusses these findings and provides new insights into predictors of academic persistence and degree attainment of African American, male, community college students.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



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