Description: This qualitative study addressed the experiences of African American males attending a predominantly White university as undergirded by the social integration aspects of Tinto's model of academic and social integration. The methodology was case study. Sixteen semi-structured interviews were held with currently enrolled seniors to capture the lived experiences of their reasons for attending college as well as major influences that contributed to their persistence decisions. The results revealed emerging themes of positive and negative family influence, religious beliefs, and a sense of self-efficacy as instrumental factors for the students' persistence. The level of social integration tended to differ by the age classification (traditional college-going versus non-traditional college student) and by the level of parental education. The components of the social integration model, as developed by Tinto contributed little to the sample's persistence decisions when compared to the themes presented during the interviews. Three observations emerged from the data: (1) The experiences of the non-traditional aged participants were different from the traditional aged college student experiences; (2) Although the participants experienced varying levels of social integration, for most of the 16 students, their persistence decisions were influenced more by their positive and negative relationships with family, religious beliefs, and sense of self-efficacy than by their interactions with peers and faculty and involvement in extracurricular activities; (3) the responses of the participants enriched and broadened the scope of Tinto's model as well as the current literature pertaining to persistence.
Date: May 2011
Creator: Garrett-Spencer, Jacqueline
Partner: UNT Libraries