Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




James Valadez


The purpose of this case study was to explore the challenges African American students face when adjusting to predominantly White institutions and to review these institutions' diversity policies to determine whether the institutions are aligned with African American students' needs. The study was based on critical race theory to examine whether and how racial microaggressions influence racial tension at the predominantly White institutions selected for this study. The research questions were used to gauge (a) the level of comfort among African American students attending one of these predominantly White institutions, (b) their overall satisfaction with their decisions to attend the institution, and (c) whether an active diversity policy could be found at that institution. Qualitative data were collected from a sample of 107 African American students attending 1 of the 6 predominantly White institutions selected for this study. Descriptive statistics of cross-sectional survey data, along with the diversity policy within each institution, were employed to measure (a) the mean and standard deviation of participants' satisfaction with the environment their campus provided, (b) the decision to attend their institution, and (c) the awareness of their institution's diversity policy. The chi-square test was conducted to test student awareness of the diversity policy and their satisfaction with the organization of the policy. The results from this test were significant (p < .01), showing that the participants were aware of their institution's diversity policy and the protection it provides. Through effective policy changes, predominantly White institutions can positively affect graduation and retention rates among African American students and provide a greater opportunity to promote positive social change.