African American freshman students at UNC Asheville: a strategy for retention and success

WCU Author/Contributor (non-WCU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Melanie Fox (Creator)
Western Carolina University (WCU )
Web Site:
Kofi Lomotey

Abstract: Enrollment of African American students at predominantly white institutions has seen substantial growth since the late 1970s due in great part to federal legislation such as affirmative action and other access-focused policies. Broad specified judicial actions like these should have eased the path for public universities to welcome and retain African American students in large numbers (Bobo, 1998). However, multiple issues continue to exist that thwart university access and success, and African Americans continue to drop out at high rates, especially in their freshman year (Townsend, 2007). These problems include complex university cultures, continued lack of access, poor academic preparation, low sense of belonging, and challenging social and academic climates. Research demonstrates that African American students, once admitted to college, continue to believe they do not belong in these educational settings (Harper & Griffin, 2011). We must improve the retention and success of these students by providing programs and resources that facilitate their social and academic transition into the collegiate environment. In this disquisition, I address the impact of a residential living learning community specifically for African American students, called SANKOFA. The hope is that having a group of students with similar cultural backgrounds in addition to providing specific training of faculty and staff to facilitate coursework and educational programming for this population, the sense of belonging to UNC Asheville will increase for these students. Once integrated, their opportunities for success in that first year of college can improve, which enhances their chances of graduation by almost 40% (Smedley, B.D., 2000).

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2019
African American Students, Freshman, Higher Education, Retention, Success
College freshmen -- North Carolina -- Asheville -- Case studies
African American college students -- North Carolina -- Asheville -- Case studies
University of North Carolina at Asheville -- Case studies
College dropouts -- North Carolina -- Asheville -- Prevention -- Case studies
Academic achievement -- North Carolina -- Asheville -- Case studies
College student development programs -- North Carolina -- Asheville -- Case studies

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