First Advisor

Christine Cress

Term of Graduation

Spring 2020

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Educational Leadership: Postsecondary Education


Educational Leadership and Policy




African American college students, Blacks -- Race identity, College environment, Identity (Psychology), College students, Black -- Social conditions



Physical Description

1 online resource (x, 262 pages)


The college years represent a time when traditional-age students transition from adolescence to adulthood. During this period, many Black students encounter racist campus climates that can hinder their academic success and lead to marginalization and departure. Educational scholars have long understood the relationship between identity development and college student success, yet adult identity models often fall short for Black students because they do not consider the impacts of racism on development. As such, Black students face systemic, organizational, and individual racist encounters in higher education that keep them from fully engaging in the college experience and their personal development. This study sought to understand how campus climate, racial identity, and adult identity intersect in the Black college student experience. Using a Critical Race Theory framework, this basic qualitative study utilized interviews with 10 Black students at a public, four-year university in the Pacific Northwest. Their counternarratives led to the creation of the model of Black Critical Conscientization, a dynamic process by which Black students encounter racism in the campus environment, make meaning of their experiences, and activate their Black adult identity within the context of their social world. The results are intended to provide educational leaders with a model to better understand how Black students conceptualize identity and navigate campus through this lens. Implications for practice challenge personnel to apply this knowledge and use the model on their campuses to address racist climates, policy barriers, and marginalizing practices in support of Black student success in higher education.


In Copyright. URI: This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s).

Persistent Identifier