Date of Conferral







Teresa Lao


Scholars have called for generalized academic and social change for the United States Native American and Alaskan Native students (the U.S. NA/AN) and the need for reform continues. The purpose of this qualitative phenomenological study was to explore strategies used at the U.S. public universities to support U.S. NA/AN students and identify strategies to improved students’ employment pathways after graduation. The management problem was the lack of retention strategies used to support the U.S. NA/AN student engagement within communities after graduation. The general management problem looked at how the lack of retention strategies affected the U.S. NA/AN student employability after graduation. The 2 research sites were predominantly White institutions (PWI). An interpretive paradigm along with a purposeful sampling design helped select the unit of analysis. Face-to-face and Skype internet were used interview methods. A humanistic approach analyzed and interpreted participants' experiences. Conceptual frameworks embedded in raw textual data linked participants lived experiences at a PWI to include identity theft, microaggression, and systematic racism. The conceptual framework analysis concluded that student participants lacked employability strategy and pathways after graduation, lacked instruction in workforce readiness skills, and lacked social engagement within the educational environment and community as a workplace. The narrative discussion advances the further debate on PWI faculty, and other stakeholders as nonusers of retention and employability strategies, themes, concepts, models, and theory recommended enhancing the U.S. Native American and Alaskan Native student in general when enrolled in a PWI. The same students should be employable after graduation, ready to elevate their career to achieve the highest level of self-actualization, and at the same time encouraging and advancing positive social change.