Individual, Family, and Community Education ETDs

Publication Date



The purpose of this mixed methods research study was to examine the dynamic interaction between the racial and academic identities of African American, undergraduate students who were enrolled full time at an academic institution of higher education that was both a Hispanic-serving institution (HSI) and a predominately White institution (PWI). The two main research questions addressed by this study were: 1. To what extent does the racial identity of African American, undergraduate students shape their expectations and beliefs about succeeding at the higher education level? and 2. What is the relationship between students racial identity, selected aspects of their university environment, and students' interactions with prior environments including their home environment (i.e., family structure and background) with their academic achievement while matriculating towards a bachelor's degree? Racial identity has been noted as a variable that impacts academic achievement within the realm of higher education for African American, undergraduate students (Sellers, 1998). How does it function in the center of these other potentially important influences on higher levels of academic achievement? In 2010, the African American undergraduate student population that consisted of 647 students at the University of New Mexico (UNM) main campus was invited to participate in a study examining the relationship of Black identity to academic success as college undergraduate students by completing the Multidimensional Inventory of Black Identity (MIBI) online survey. One-hundred and twenty-five students completed a demographic data sheet, along with the MIBI. Upon completion of the survey, participants were asked to consider participating in a one-on-one interview with the researcher to address these issues further. Out of these 125 students, 77 agreed to volunteer for the interview. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with the 15 undergraduate, African American students identified. Despite the limitations of a small sample, this research is a step toward heightening African American students' critical thought by using their voices as a tool to recommend to university officials ways to review policies regarding the recruitment, retention, and matriculation towards a bachelor's degree of African American students.'


African Americans--Education (Higher)--New Mexico, African Americans--New Mexico--Race identity, Academic achievement--Social aspects--New Mexico, University of New Mexico--Undergraduates--Attitudes

Document Type




Degree Name

Family Studies

Level of Degree


Department Name

Individual, Family, and Community Education

First Advisor

Shipman, Virginia

First Committee Member (Chair)

Hossain, Ziarat

Second Committee Member

Borden, Allison

Third Committee Member

Grillo, Lisa