Four African American Undergraduate Students And Two White Professors: Reflections of a Difficult Dialogue Program at a Predominantly White University
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This qualitative, phenomenological study examined the experiences of four African American undergraduate students and two White professors, all current or former affiliates of a predominantly White university (PWI) in the Midwest. The objective was to gain an understanding of whether their experiences were ones that have been addressed in the past and recent research surrounding why African American undergraduates leave college before graduating and to determine if any changes in practices of beliefs occurred since their participation in the Difficult Dialogue. The data were collected using the evaluations from the Difficult Dialogue event and in-depth interviews. The data were then analyzed using a narrative analysis where recurring themes were highlighted and used to find dominant themes. The study confirmed findings that students feel isolated while attending a predominantly White college. New findings in the professor-student engagement include: 1) lack of student self-advocacy in the student-professor relationship 2) lack of professor awareness of students’ feelings of exclusion and isolation, 3) professor discomfort in reaching out to African American undergraduate students, and 4) an overall lack of awareness of one another’s feelings. The most salient conclusions from these encounters with African American undergraduates and professors was that an opportunity to communicate in a purposeful dialogue or the process of “thinking together” collectively allowed group participants to examine their preconceptions and prejudices, as well as explore the creation of new ideas.
Green, Monica Roshaw (2013). Four African American Undergraduate Students And Two White Professors: Reflections of a Difficult Dialogue Program at a Predominantly White University. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from