Document Type


Date of Degree

Summer 2019

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In

Educational Policy and Leadership Studies

First Advisor

Linley, Jodi L

First Committee Member

Barnhardt, Cassie

Second Committee Member

Locke, Leslie

Third Committee Member

Shivers, Melissa

Fourth Committee Member

Watt, Sherry


African American women continue to enroll at historically White institutions (HWIs) to pursue their bachelor’s degrees (Miller, 2017). African American women continue to experience exclusion (Zamani, 2003) and hostile environments (Evans, 2007; Patton & Croom, 2017; Zamani, 2003) that demean African American women. Nevertheless, African American women persist and succeed in higher education. Although access in the United States has increased for non-white populations, decades of research on discriminatory environments at historically white colleges and universities creating campus climates that are unwelcoming towards African American women. Intersectionality (Crenshaw, 1991) focuses on how African American women’s lives cannot be explored without consideration other multiple identities. In spite of the challenging campus climate, African American women continue to attend HWIs (Miller, 2017) and succeed (Miles, Jones, Clemons, & Golay, 2011). Prior research does not adequately explore the pathways to African American college women's success. The purpose of this study is to investigate the strategies and networks of African American undergraduate women access, create and employ to succeed while attending historically white institutions.


African American women, environmental influences, historically white institutions (hwi), networks, paradoxical climcate, Success


xv, 231 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 207-231).


Copyright © 2019 DaVida L. Anderson