This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

An Examination of Factors Influencing Collegiate Social Integration of African American Students at a Predominantly White Institution




Vickers, Jocelyn

Type of Degree



Education Foundation, Leadership, and Technology


There is a lack of research addressing social integration of African American students at predominantly White institutions (PWIs). Evidence has indicated that the college experience for African American students at historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) when compared with that of their African American peers attending a PWI is more positive in a numbers of ways. In this study, social integration ranks as the primary agent in assessing and defining the quality of education among underrepresented college students. The study will include several entities, such as campus climate and programs that bound with social integration and retention of underrepresented students in higher education. The purpose of this study was to assess the need for social integration of African American students at PWIs. The factors that will influence social integration will be examined by race, gender, campus climate, campus services, and faculty. The study was designed to gain a better understanding of how African American students socially integrate at PWIs. The subjects of this study are 1,037 full-time African American students who attended 4-year institutions during 2006. The sample was drawn from 117 four-year colleges. The institutions represented are from all regions of the United States, including urban, suburban, and rural settings. This is a quantitative study utilizing the data collected from a 28 question survey entitled Your First College Year, developed and conducted by the Higher Education Research Institute (HERI) at the University of California, Los Angeles and the Policy Center on the First Year of College at Brevard College. This survey was designed in early 1999 to measure students’ curricular and co-curricular experiences since entering college and to be administered at the end of the first year. This survey was also designed to post-test several items from the Cooperative Institutional Research Program (CIRP) Freshman Survey to encourage longitudinal assessment of first-year students. Your First College Year had one dependent variable and five independent variables. The dependent variable was social integration has a Cronbach's alpha α = 0.83. The independent variables satisfaction has a Cronbach’s alpha α = .85, campus climate has a Cronbach’s alpha α = .79, student services has a Cronbach’s alpha α = .53, and faculty has a Cronbach’s alpha α = .72. Reliability involves consistency in measurement, but does not imply validity. The results of the study found that African American students can socially integrate at a PWI with the help of student services, faculty, and the climate of the campus.