Publication Date

Fall 2021

Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Dr. Monica Burke (Director), Dr. Lester Archer, Dr. Scott Cook

Degree Program

Department of Educational Administration, Leadership, and Research

Degree Type

Doctor of Education


African American students are attending college and working toward earning credentials, yet this population is persisting at lower rates compared to their White counterparts. The purpose of this study is to explore the impact that student involvement has on African American student persistence and retention at community colleges. A Sequential Explanatory mixed methods design was conducted with quantitative data from 743 African American KCTCS community college students that completed the 2019 Community College Survey of Student Engagement (CCSSE) and qualitative data from 11 focus group interview participants. An ordinal logistic regression was used to analyze the data and the quantitative results showed a strong correlation between student retention and student-faculty interaction and student effort. There was no correlation between student retention and active and collaborative learning or support for learners. An analysis of the qualitative data showed a strong relationship between student retention and active and collaborative learning, student-faculty interaction, and support for learners. Study results suggested that student involvement does play a role in the retention of African American students at community colleges. Significant limitations such as self-reported CCSSE data and small focus group sample size were discussed. This study should not be used to generalize students or institutions within the system.


Community College Education Administration | Community College Leadership | Critical and Cultural Studies | Higher Education and Teaching