First Advisor

Jacqueline B. Temple

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Educational Leadership: Curriculum and Instruction


Curriculum & Instruction




College persistence & retention, Latino students, Learning communities, Predominately White institutions, Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation, College dropouts -- Prevention -- Cross-cultural studies, African American college students, Minority college students



Physical Description

1 online resource (viii, 135 pages)


Colleges are struggling to retain students of color at four-year academic institutions (Kuh, 2005). The result is that while African-American and Latino students are entering college, fewer successfully complete their programs of study and obtain an undergraduate degree (ACE, 2006). For this reason, institutions are establishing supportive learning communities to not only recruit, but to retain this population.Learning communities have become welcoming places in the academy, and are designed to help students succeed in college by providing a formative, integrated academic experience that builds strength, perspective, and commitment. Employing Vincent Tinto`s (1975) student integration theory as a conceptual framework, this qualitative case study examined the relationship between student participation in a learning community, college persistence, and college retention. This research addressed the experiences of eight students of color who participated in the Louis Stokes Alliance Minority Participation (LSAMP) learning community program. Participant experiences were gathered through the administration of demographic questionnaires, in-depth interviews, a focus group, and a non-participant observation. The findings of this research study revealed that college persistence and retention is a function of four strategies, all of which are incorporated into the Louis Stokes Alliance Minority Participation Program: (a) Social Integration; strengthened connections amongst students of color and between students, faculty and staff (b) Academic preparedness; making sure students of color have the resources and skills needed in order to be academically successful (c) Group identity; helping students overcome feelings of isolation that are common on large college campuses (d) Providing both an academic and social atmosphere where students can succeed. The implications of this study assert that learning communities have a profound impact on positive student outcomes for both African-American and Latino students who attend predominately white institutions.


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Portland State University. Dept. of Educational Leadership and Policy

Persistent Identifier