An Analysis of the Use of Continuous Quality Improvement in the Retention of African American Males at Historically Black Colleges and Universities
An Analysis of the Use of Continuous Quality Improvement in the Retention of African American Males at Historically Black Colleges and Universities A Dissertation Submitted to the Graduate School of Tennessee State University in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the degree of Doctorate of Education Graduate Research Series No.___________ Howard G. Wright December 2008
iiAn Analysis of the Use of Continuous Quality Improvement in the Retention of African American Males at Historically Black Colleges and Universities A Dissertation Submitted to the Graduate School of Tennessee State University in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the degree of Doctorate of Education Howard G. Wright December 2008
ivTo the Graduate School: We are submitting a dissertation by Howard G. Wright entitled “An Analysis ofthe Use of Continuous Quality Improvement in the Retention of African American Malesat Historically Black Colleges and Universities”. We recommend that it be accepted inpartial fulfillment of the degree, Doctorate of Education in Education Administration andSupervision. Denise Dunbar . Chairperson Christon Arthur . Committee Member Janet Finch . Committee Member Mark Hunter . Committee MemberAccepted for the Graduate School: Alex Skewat .Dean of the Graduate School
v DEDICATION This dissertation is dedicated to the individuals who have assisted me in makingthis dream possible. I am most grateful to my grandmother Vashti James for herunwavering love throughout my early life and her commitment to ensuring that I valuethe importance of education during my developmental years.
vi ACKNOWLEGEMENTS I sincerely thank my committee members Dr. Denise Dunbar Chairman, DrChriston Arthur, Dr. Janet Finch, and Dr. Mark Hunter for their guidance throughout thedissertation process. I thank Dr. Phillip Redrick, my former academic advisor at AlabamaA & M University, for directing my passion for higher education research to focus on theplight of African American males in higher education. I am grateful to Dr. LeathaBennett, Mrs. Janet Jones, and my colleagues at The Office of Retention and AcademicSupport at Alabama A & M University for their support and encouragement. I thank Dr.Kathrynn Seidler Engberg for her commitment to edit the manuscript. I also thank my lifelong friends of the Class of 88 (The Ratoons) of The College of Agriculture in PortAntonio Jamaica for their continued encouragement. I am grateful to the friends I met asan international student at Florida A & M University, who encouraged and supported meeven when I came very close to becoming a college dropout. I thank my wife, Andrea, for her understanding, love, support, and encouragementthroughout the dissertation process. Without her, I would have not started this journey.To my children, Andre, Rojae, and Georgiana, I thank you all for your patience andsupport, and for the time you gave me to work undisturbed. Finally, I am eternallygrateful to God for taking me from a humble beginning and providing the resources anddrive to complete this journey.
vii ABSTRACTHOWARD WRIGHT. An Analysis of the Use of Continuous Quality Improvement in theRetention of African American Male Students at Historically Black Colleges andUniversities (under the direction of DR. DENISE DUNBAR.) This study explores the use of Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) in theretention of African American male students, at historically black colleges anduniversities (HBCUs). Based on current literature, African American male students atHBCUs are faced with academic and non-academic factors which affect their retentionand subsequent graduation. CQI is a management system available to Academic SupportDirectors which promotes engaging leadership, establishing and defining the modes ofoperation, and making data driven decisions. The purpose of the study was to focus on the application of Continuous QualityImprovement by Academic Support Directors when integrating retention strategies forAfrican American male students at two-year, four-year public, and four-year privateHBCUs. To complete this study, a quantitative web-based instrument was sent to 99Academic Support directors at 99 HBCUs that serve male undergraduate populations.The instrument consisted of 78 Likert-like scale and two open-ended questions. Thereturn rate was 55.4% (57). The responses were analyzed using Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) andT-test. The null hypothesis tested at a 0.05 level of significance. The results from thehypotheses revealed no statistically significant differences between the various colleges
viiiand (a) retention policies and practices, (b) the years practicing CQI, (c) the benefitsachieved, (d) the obstacles faced, (e) the use of data in decision making, (f) the extent ofsenior leadership support, and (g) the provision of leadership support for CQI. Therewere also no statistically significant differences between the practice of CQI and the useof data in decision making, as well as the perception of senior leadership support for CQIand the time practicing CQI. A summary of the open ended questions revealed that CQI was discussed andimplemented at the various HBCUs, but required a lot of time and departmentalcooperation. The findings indicate that CQI is practiced by Academic Support Directorsat HBCUs, and the issues faced in applying CQI to the retention management of AfricanAmerican male students are similar among two-year, four-year public, and four- yearprivate HBCUs. It is recommended that further research be conducted (a) on the use ofCQI in African American male student retention at predominately white institutions, (b)examine which CQI model has the most impact on African American male retention, (c)the financial impact of CQI in retention management, (d) the success of non-implementers of CQI, and (e) leadership support of CQI in African American malestudent retention.
ix TABLE OF CONTENTSCHAPTER Page I. INTRODUCTION………………………………………………… 1 Statement of the Problem…………………………………………....7 Purpose of the Study…………………………………………………9 The Significance of the Study………………………………………10 Research Questions…………………………………………………10 Limitations of the Study…………………………………………….12 Assumptions of the Study………………………………………….. 12 Definition of Terms…………………………………………………13 II LITERATURE REVIEW…………………………………………...17 The Continuous Quality Management Philosophy………………….17 The Continuous Quality Organization………………………………19 The African American Male Student ……………………………….22 Drivers of Continuous Improvement in Higher Education..........…..27 Strategies for Student Retention………………………..…………..30 Data and Assessment………………………………………………..44 The Role of Institutional Management……………………………..46 Continuous Quality Improvement in Higher Education…………….48 Leadership in Continuous Quality Improvement……………………51
xCHAPTER Page Quality Improvement Methods Used in Higher Education………....54 Summary of the Literature…………………………………………. 62III METHODOLOGY………………………………………………………65 Research Design…………………………………………………….65 Participants………………………………………………………….66 Research Instrument…………………………………………….......67 Data Collection Procedures…………………………………………70 Data Analysis……………………………………………………….71 Hypotheses………………………………………………………….72IV ANALYSIS OF DATA…………………………………………………..74 Results of Research Questions…………………………………………...76 Results of Hypotheses Testing…………………………………………...85V SUMMARY, CONCLUSIONS & RECOMMENDATIONS……….…..101 Summary of the Findings………………………………………………..102 Discussion of the Findings………………………………………………106 Conclusion………………………………………………………………111 Recommendations for Further Research…….………………………….113REFERENCES …………………………………………………………………115
xiAPPENDICES A. First Letter of Solicitation…………………………………………..141 B. Second Letter of Solicitation………………………………………..144 C. Final Letter of Solicitation…………………………………………..146. D. Permission to Use Survey ……………………………………….....148 E. Survey Instrument…………………………………………………..150 F. Panel of Experts…………………...………………………………...163 G. Institutional Review Board Application……………………………166 H. Open Ended Responses…………………………………………….168 I. Four Year Class Average 1999-2000 Cohort………………………...171
xii LIST OF TABLESTable Pages 1. Results of Cronbach’s Analysis………………………………………..69 2. Results of Response by College Size………………………………….75 3. Results of Colleges by Classification…………………………………75 4. The Effectiveness of Retention Program Meeting the needs of African American Male Students……………………….77 5. Results of CQI Methods Practiced by Retention Directors…..………79 6. Factors Driving the Support for CQI in Retention Management for African American Males……………………………80 7. Obstacles Faced in Implementing CQI in Retention Management………………………………………..82 8. Factors Driving Non Implementers from Supporting CQI in Retention Management for African American Male Students…83 9. Benefits Derived from Implementing CQI in Retention Management for African American Male Students……….84 10. ANOVA Results of Significant Differences Between Program Policies and Practices for African American Male Students and the Various Colleges.…………………………. …...….85 11. ANOVA Results for Significant Differences Between Years of Practice and the Various Colleges ………………………………... 87 12. ANOVA Results of Benefits Achieved from Implementing CQI in Retention of African American Males Among the Various Colleges …..……………………………………………………………88
xiiiTable Pages 13. ANOVA Results of the Differences in Obstacles Faced Implementing CQI and the Various College..……………….....90 14. T-test Comparing Practitioners and Non Practitioners in the use of Data in Decision Making for African American Male Student Retention………………………………………………92 15. ANOVA Results for Differences in the Use of Data for Decision Making and the Various Colleges……………………….93 16. ANOVA Results for the Differences between the Extent of Senior Administrative Support and the Various Colleges….94 17. ANOVA Results for the Differences in the Perception of Senior Leadership Support for CQI and the Time Practicing CQI…………………………………………………...96 18. ANOVA Results Comparing the Differences Between The Provision of Leadership in Campus Retention and The Various Colleges ………………………………………….……...98 19. ANOVA Results Comparing the Differences Between the Provision of Leadership in Campus Retention Initiatives and the Years Practicing CQI…………………………….99
CHAPTER I INTRODUCTION There is a great demand for institutions to monitor students’ progress throughtheir college experience and apply strategies to improve their successful matriculation(Dey & Hurtado, 2005). A students decision to leave an institution is very complex andinvolves several factors that must be managed effectively during the students academiccareer (Bean, 1980; Tinto, 1993; Nora & Cabrera, 1996). For African American males athistorically black colleges, the stakes are much higher, because more than two thirdsleave without obtaining a degree from the same institution (NCES, 2003). The AfricanAmerican male student’s plight is a serious concern that requires evaluation of thestrategies used by the institutions and solutions found that will enable the majority ofAfrican American male students to graduate within five to six years (Pascarella, 1985). In a report on first time bachelor degree seeking students enrolled in 1996, whograduated from the same HBCU institution by August 2002, the graduation rates forblack females by year four was 23%, in comparison to 14% for black males. In year five,the graduation rates for black females was 38% in comparison to 28% for black males. Inyear six the graduation rate was 44% compared to 34% respectively. Comparatively, thesix-year graduation rate for white males was 56% (NCES, 2003).
2 The retention rate for any group of students is a performance indicator that allowsinstitutions to demonstrate quality, satisfy the stakeholders’ need for improvement andaccountability, and enhances the institutional capability in making informed decisions onpolicies, programs and personnel (Bogue, 1998). A low retention rate for any institutionis damaging. A low rate is an indication of the ineffectiveness of an institution inmanaging the progress of its students to graduate within the time indicated. It hasnegative implications for the students who drop out. The institutions reputation iscompromised, and revenues that could be generated for academic and student services arelost (Leveille, 2006; Tinto, 1993). According to Swail et. al (2004), when an institutionloses a student it reduces its income over the years. The institution also loses revenuefrom bookstores, residential halls, financial aid, campus restaurants, and potentially lostalumni contributions (Swail et. al, 2004). Mustiful (1995) found that for improvements to occur in retention, all areas ofthe campus community including financial aid, faculty and peer support, campus activityand mentors at the institution must work together to improve the student experience,because individually they impact all students persistence. Students who departed fromhistorically black colleges, however, spoke about the disorganization on the campuses,financial aid issues, problems with bureaucratic red tape and poor customer service whichimpacted their departure (Hurd, 2000). Over the years many HBCU administrators failed to look at the financial andsocial implications that retention has on their institutions (Hurd, 2000).This has created ageneral public consensus that black males on campuses have difficulty becoming socially
3integrated, but very little is done to better manage their academic careers to improve theirparticipation and degree completion (Davis, 1999; Cuyjet, 2006). A report from the Consortium for Student Data Exchange (2004) found thatinstitutions lose 20 % of its students in the first year, 11 % in the second year and 9 % inthe third year. A similar study by the ACT (2005) on retention transitioning fromfreshman to sophomore from 1983 to 2005 showed that the national rate for two-yearprivate colleges was 62%, in comparison to 52% for two-year public institutions. Theretention rate was 66.4% for public baccalaureate institutions, in comparison to 70% forprivate baccalaureate institutions. For public doctoral institutions, the retention rate was77%, compared to 82.1% for private doctoral institutions. Nationally for all institutions,the retention rate was 68.2% (ACT, 2005). Retention projects have been established at most historically black colleges anduniversities by making retention a major part of their institutional mission. ManyHBCUs, with the support of federal and state agencies, have established institutionalstrategies such as academic support services, remediation, counseling and retentioncenters, career services, emergency loans and merit based scholarships, private andcorporate donations, along with Title IV initiatives such as Summer Bridge and Trioprograms. Each program plays a significant role in improving retention (Chenoweth,1999; Jones-Giles, 2004). The programs are aimed at developing academic skills throughremediation, social skills development, and providing financial assistance (Chenoweth,1999). The student reported benefits from these programs are improved grades, enhancedsense of self-worth, as well as the ability to persevere in school (Marshall, 2005).
4 Efforts to address the general needs of black students do not specifically addressthe needs of African American men within the campus structure. Academic support andretention services should be designed to address the socio-economic problems faced byblack male students as they maneuver the obstacles they encounter on campuses (Cuyjet,1997). According to Fortson (1997), many programs have not increased the retentionrates significantly, because they do not demonstrate their effectiveness in addressing thefactors that will increase the retention of African American male students. According toNittie et al. (1994), the fade out effect has trapped many institutions into a cycle in whichstudents participate in programs, but as they improve and move out of the programs, thegains are lost. The National Association of Land Grant Colleges and Universities’ (NASULGC)report (2001) on the future of state land grant universities found that the public wasgrowing frustrated with institutional unresponsiveness. Despite the resources available,public institutions are perceived as unorganized, unable to improve their internalproblems efficiently and effectively. Boyd (2002) and Muraskin & Lee (2004) arguedthat negative perceptions are fueled by increases in tuition, increases in studentindebtedness, demands for more financial aid, reductions of educational opportunity forlow income students, financial crises at the state and local government, allegations offinancial and academic wrong doing at institutions, students’ performance, reductions ofstate appropriations to higher education, and finally poor management of tax dollars. The demand for resources has created an ongoing national and regional discussionby legislators, the public, higher education policy makers, and members of the African
5American community, all of which call for accountability and a planned approach toimprove the retention of African American males in higher education. In support of thesediscussions, The NASULAGC, (2001) report recommended that land grant institutionsbecome engaged in improving student experiences, change the campus culture andorganize themselves to respond to the needs of the current and future students. According to Tinto (2000), institutions should consider more than the overallgraduation rates, but instead examine improvements in retention of the different studentpopulations (low income, traditional, first generation, non traditional) to see if theirpersistence rates have increased with time. Davis (1999) concurred that improvements inthe current retention rates on campuses require a collective effort to nurture the AfricanAmerican male from his junior year in high school to his senior year in college.Monitoring a student from the time he/she is accepted by the institution provides theinstitution with information to offer the necessary services to accommodate the student’sneeds. The solution also requires the contribution of individuals involved with students tocontinuously improve the processes that will sustain the student throughout theiracademic career (Cuyjet, 2006). Prudent retention management requires leaders to become part of the solution.Successful retention planning involves setting the stage for student retention, establishingpriorities, integrating retention goals with existing programs and services, evaluatingretention outcomes, preparing realistic timelines, along with recognizing and celebratingstudent successes (Law, 1999).
6 Seymour (1993) argued that for an institution to solve any of its problems theremust be an understanding of the issues, then it must work continuously to improve theprocesses that caused the problem. Regular assessment of the efficiency of institutionalactivities creates a foundation that allows groups to respond to changing demands of thestudents’ needs with a planned approach (Kaye & Anderson, 1999; Chamblis, 2003).Regular assessment creates a culture of evidence that allows the institution to constantlygain information about itself, use the information to continually improve its managementprocesses that will satisfy students’ needs (Leveille, 2006). According to Dew (2006), continuous quality improvement models assistinstitutions in examining their work systems and performance indicators. The modelsengage leadership, define strategic and operational planning, create measures andassessment, and evaluate work processes. Several CQI models have been used in highereducation to create operational improvements to non-academic departments. The mostnotable are Baldrige Criteria for Education Excellence and Balance Scorecard (Rice &Taylor, 2003), Benchmarking (Thalner, 2005), Quality Planning (Zhiming, 1999) andStrategic Planning (Low, 1999). Continuous Quality Improvement does not have to be an institutional initiative,but non-academic departments such as retention can use it as an effective tool to makesmall improvements (Chambliss, 2003). Institutions can also create receptive employeesto quality models (Fritz, 1999), and can use CQI as a launching pad for campus widequality initiatives (Dew & Nering, 2003).
7 Deming (1986) suggests that it is the responsibility of the manager in the qualityenvironment to eliminate obstacles that will prevent optimal performance, becauseproblems that occur are due to system failure rather than unmotivated employees. TheCQI process allows managers to focus on improving the college experience bystrengthening integration, student involvement and commitment, and utilizing a plannedapproach to problem solving (Chamblis, 2003). Continuous Quality Improvement allowsdepartments to respond to the changing demands of student needs and services creating afoundation to respond to the challenges faced in the educational environment (Chamblis,2003). Improvement in student services can only occur if there is an examination of allthe different processes involved in CQI and by bringing together all the variousstakeholders together. CQI creates cross-functional teams that manage key processes,maximize operational effectiveness, and enhance customer satisfaction (Lewis & Smith,1993; Burril & Ledolter, 1999). Continuous Quality Improvement emphasizes service,implements teamwork, institutes divisions of management, solves problems based onfacts, utilizes statistical methods, and develops human capital (Lewis & Smith, 1994). Statement of the Problem While there are steady increases in the female population at HBCUs, the malepopulation continues to decline steadily. The number of African American men enrolledat HBCUs continued to decline from 90,130 (40%) in 1995 to 85,628 in 2004, making up(39%) of the HBCU population (United Negro College Fund [UNCF], 2006). TheNational Collegiate Athletic Association’s (NCAA) (2007) graduation report for the
81999-2000 cohorts showed graduation rates for African American men at a low of 9% atthe University District of Columbia, 13 % at Texas Southern University, and 14% atAlabama State respectively. In contrast to a high of 60 % at Miles College, 55% atMorehouse College, 52% at Fisk, and 46% at Elizabeth State University respectively(Appendix H). The current African American male students’ graduation rates reflect the highlevels of attrition for African American rates at HBCUs. In general, leadership byacademic support directors for retention initiatives is critical when developing anintegrated approach that will continuously improve the retention process, improvedepartmental operational efficiencies, and ultimately improve the graduation rates forAfrican American males. Improving the current system requires improvements not onlyin the individual units, but also departments that contribute to African American malestudent retention (Seymour, 1997). The utilization of management initiatives such as CQIby college directors helps non-academic departments such as student retention services,to develop an integrated structured approach to continuously improve their systems(Chamblis, 2004). Despite the proliferation of several quality initiatives over the past two decades,there is no published research on the use of continuous quality management models toimprove the factors that impact the retention of African American male students frompre-college to graduation at HBCUs. The low graduation rates at HBCUs has created theneed to ask: To what extent are Continuous Quality Improvement methods used byAcademic Support Directors at historically black colleges and universities to address the
9retention of African American undergraduate male students working? This study istherefore designed to examine the extent to which Continuous Quality Improvementmethods are used by Academic Support Directors at HBCUs to address the retention ofAfrican American male students. The Purpose of the Study The discussions relating to African American male student retention athistorically black colleges and universities (HBCU) are more relevant, because of theuniqueness of their mission in providing educational opportunities for all students(Wilson, 2000). According to Wilson (2000), HBCUs open enrollment policy attractsstudents with academic deficiencies, low ACT scores and requires some level ofremediation to be academically successful. Once the institution accepts these students,their retention becomes an important part of HBCUs accountability. Historically blackcolleges and universities, like any other institution, must clearly monitor the progress ofenrolled students they enroll and make an effort to improve their college experience (Dey& Hurtado, 2005). The primary purpose of this study was to examine the extent of the use ofContinuous Quality Improvement among Academic Support Directors in integratingretention strategies for African American male students at two-year HBCUs, four-yearpublic, and four-year private HBCUs. The study evaluated the level of awareness andimplementation of quality improvement practices among Academic Support Directors atvarious HBCUs. The study sought to identify the impact of institutional policies andpractices on the retention of African American male students, as well as examining the
10level of awareness and practice of continuous quality improvement practices amongacademic support directors at HBCUs. The study also examined the perception of theimpact of Continuous Quality Improvement strategies on the retention management ofAfrican American males and the role of leadership in the practice of CQI in retentionmanagement. The Significance the Study Woodard, Mallory & De Luca (2001) concurred that institutions must examinetheir characteristics, culture, academic best practices, student services, and how theyaffect their ability to graduate their students. According to the College Board (1999),college officials should promote the use of strategies for minority student issues, take thelead in developing these strategies, and get members of the school community involved. This study is important because it provides information on the continuous qualityframework used by two-year, private and four-year public HBCUs to improve theAfrican American male college student experience. The study is also significant becauseit brings to the forefront effective management strategies utilized by HBCUs to improvethe factors that impact African American male students’ engagement and participation. Itis the intention of this research to fill the void for a study on Continuous QualityImprovement practices among academic support directors in dealing with the issues facedby African American males at both private and public historically black colleges. Research Questions Referring to the statement of the problem and the significance of the study thefollowing research questions form the basis of this study:
111. What percentage of HBCUs have a center designated for student retention?2. What percentage of HBCUs have support services designed to target traditional and non-traditional African American male student populations?3. How effective are the current retention programs and policies in meeting the needs of African American male students at historically black colleges and universities (i.e. student preparedness, faculty, mentors and role models, academic advising, financial aid, campus environment and services and socialization and integration)?4. To what extent are Academic Support Directors aware of and adopting quality improvement models to their department?5. What Continuous Quality Improvement models are used, if any, to manage retention outcomes?6. What factors are driving academic support directors to continuously improve the retention of African American male students?7. What obstacles are encountered by implementers in the application of CQI to retention practices?8. What factors contributed to non- implementers not pursuing CQI in retention practices for African American males?9. What benefits are gained from the application of Continuous Quality Methods?
12 Limitations of the Study1. The study will be limited to Historically Black Colleges and Universities with undergraduate male populations within the United States and U.S Virgin Islands.2. The study will focus on the management of undergraduate African American male students only, and will not include graduate level African American males.3. The study will focus on Academic Support Directors at only historically black colleges and universities, and not academic support directors at predominately white institutions.4. The study will not focus on the retention management of African American females and other ethnic groups attending HBCUs.5. The study focuses only on the perceptions of administrators who have responsibility for academic support and retention at the institutions studied.6. The study will limit Continuous Quality improvement Strategies to Baldridge Criteria, Balance Scorecard, Strategic Planning, Process Management and Benchmarking. Assumptions of the Study 1. Academic support directors can make decisions relating to the continuous quality management method used to fulfill the institution’s retention mandate. 2. Continuous quality management strategies that are used by predominately white institutions are applicable to Historically Black Colleges and Universities. 3. The responses of the Academic Support Directors will be without bias, offering an accurate description of their individual operations.
13 4. African American males entering HBCUs share similar institutional experiences with other males at HBCUs that impact their retention. 5. All HBCUs retention rates for African American male students’ needs improvement. 6. All HBCUs have a department or individual who is responsible for retention. Definition of TermsAcademic Support Director: Individuals who are responsibility for the day to day. operational management of the retention program at their respective institutionsAfrican American males: Refers to black men enrolled at historically black colleges and universities who reside in the United States and its territories.Assessment: A statistical method of evaluating work functions and processes to provide diagnostic information to policymakers.At Risk Students: Students classified as at risk are first generation to attend college, have low parental income, have low high school cumulative grade point average, have low ACT scores, have poor high school preparation, have poor social skills, have financial difficulties, and work more than 40 hours per week.Attrition: The departure of students before degree completion.Balance Scorecard: A management system that measures the business strategy through measurable objectives (Reuben, 1999).College Type: The classifications of institutions based on whether they are private four year, public four year and two year institutions.
14Continuous Quality Improvement: The identification of the customers’ needs and expectations, compared against established market standards. It utilizes data collection and analysis to continuously seek improvement in specific services and process within the organization (Chambliss, 2003).Customers: Individuals who use the organization products and services.Drivers: Factors inside and outside of the institution that force institutions to improve operational efficiencies.Baldrige Criteria for Educational Excellence: This is the education excellence section of the Baldrige Quality awards. It integrates a management system through leadership, strategic planning, student relationship, stakeholders, market data, and management analysis (Baldrige National Quality Program, 2006).Benchmarking: The finding of the best practices of a peer organization and examining, the factors that lead to the organization’s success, and adopting the factors that are suitable in improving the organizational performance (Dew and Nearing, 2004).Higher Education: Post secondary institution that confers certificates, diplomas, and degrees, and includes two year, four-year public, and four year private colleges and universities.Historically Black Colleges and Universities: These institutions are “colleges or universities that were established before 1964 with the primary mission of educating the African American community and are accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting agency or association determined by the Secretary of Education to be a reliable authority as to the quality of training offered or is,
15 according to such an agency or association, making reasonable progress toward accreditation." (Higher Education Act, 1965). There are currently 105 established HBCUs in the United States and the U.S Virgin Island (USDE, 2002).Institution: Four year or two year private and public college and universities of higher education.Intrusive Advising: Proactively seeking out students who are at-risk and providing the necessary services that will improve the student’s chances of completing their degree.Persistence: The student remaining in the institution until the degree attainment.Quality: Conducting the organization’s operational transaction within the agreed requirements of the customer (Crosby, 1997).Quality Improvement: The process by which changes occur in the institution through transformation (Spandauer, 1992).Quality management: The design of programs to fit the organization’s current plan through understanding the processes, planning, designing implementation, and evaluation of the processes (Burril & Ledolter, 1999).Retention: The flow of students through the institution within a one to six year period; and is reflected in the way the student complete their degree requirements or drop out (Tinto, 1993).Retention Program: A structured program within an institution designed to provide services and programs to guide the student from admission to graduation.
16Various HBCUs: Two year and four year private and public historically black colleges and universities.Strategic Planning: A formal process that strategically integrates and aligns the organization’s short- term and long-term goals to support its mission and management plans on a year-by year -basis (Thompson & Strickland, 1999).
CHAPTER II REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE Introduction This section covers an overview of the use of Continuous Quality Improvement inhigher education and the issues that contribute to the retention of African American malestudents. The review of the literature is divided into the following sections: theContinuous Quality Management philosophy, the African American male student inhigher education, the drivers of continuous improvement in higher education, thestrategies for student retention, the data assessment, the continuous quality improvementstrategies in higher education, leadership and finally a summary of the literature. The Continuous Quality Management Philosophy Quality methods used in the corporate environment and higher education havetheir genesis with Fredrick Taylor’s scientific method (Birnbaum, 2000). Taylor and hisassociates postulated that in analyzing the work process and timing, the most efficientmethod of completing a task could be determined (Hoy & Miskel, 2005). Taylorproposed the establishment of work methods and design, the establishment of standardsfor daily work, the training of workers, and centralized planning by management.(Sheldrade, 1996). The advent of Taylorism created the self-directing team conceptallowing employees to become more skilled in the management process, taking on
18functions that were only designated for management (Brocka and Brocka, 1992). In acriticism of Taylor’s principle, Evans & Lindsay (2005) argued that it dramaticallyimproved production efficiencies and quality, but lacked system perspective and focus onthe customer. Total Quality Management revolutionized management philosophy by placingemphasis on customer satisfaction, utilizing statistical analysis, and emphasizing humanresource development in the management process (Deming, 1986). According to Evan &Lindsay (2005), Deming’s philosophy emphasized the need for quality to be driven bythe managers, be based on the continual improvement of products from design tomanufacturing, and a reduction in uncertainty and variation. To support his philosophy Deming (1986) outlined 14 points on operations in aquality environment. They included: 1.goal specific improvements, 2. adoption of a newmanagement philosophy, 3. assessments and inspection, 4. reward for performance, 5.continuous product improvement, 6. employee training, 7. leadership practices, 8. removefear by creating an atmosphere of trust and creativity, 9. encourage teamwork, 10.management through statistical thinking, 11. process improvement, 12. removal ofbarriers to quality improvement, 13. promote employee education, and 14. improve theculture and climate of the organization. Crosby’s (1979) 14 steps of quality and Juran’s (1989) 10 steps to quality also shareDeming’s (1986) approach to managing in a quality environment. Crosby (1979)postulated that proposed improvements should be passed down the organization througheducation and dialogue, quality must be done right the first time, and zero defects are the
19only performance standards. Juran (1989), on the other hand, emphasized that qualityplanning, control, and improvements can occur in an organization by designing qualityprograms to fit the organization’s current plans. In comparing the different quality philosophies of Deming (1986), Juran (1989)and Crosby (1979), Evans and Lindsay (2005), concurred that they all focused on thecommitment of top management to the quality process, incremental continuousimprovement, customer service, teamwork, measurement for problem solving,recognition and reward, and the problems associated with changing organizational culture(Evans and Lindsay, 2005). The Continuous Quality Organization A continuous quality organization is an organization that creates a climate thatconstantly reviews its operations to find areas for continuous improvement (Deming,1986). It establishes measurable yardsticks which are driven by comparison with otherorganizational costs, accountability, performance, and service (Seymour, 1993). A CQIorganization meets the customer’s requirements (Evans & Lindsay, 2005). The CQIorganization should conduct its transactions within the agreed framework by impactingevery area within the organization that contributes to improving the organization’sreputation and ultimately its revenue intensity (Crosby, 1997). In a summary of qualitydefinition within higher education, Bogue (1998) argued that quality is a competitiveaffair which allows institutions to maintain their competiveness. It should be establishedin the organization’s goals and mission, and the result should add value to theorganization (Bogue, 1998).
20 Deming (1986) Plan- Do-Check-Act cycle (PCDA) suggests that incrementalcontinuous improvement within an organization occurs on a continuum. The process, thecustomers, goals, assessment strategy, and the best solution to the problem define the“planning” phase. The “do” phase consists of making incremental system changes,followed by the “check” phase which examines the changes to determine if the solutionaddresses the issue. The “Act” stage is the implementation of the plan on a larger basis. Arveson’s (1998) critique of Deming’s PCDA model argued that it focuses oncontinuous improvements at the production level, but businesses seek improvement at thebusiness or unit level to drive the production process. Burrill & Ledolter (1999) insupport of Deming (1986) stated that, “ A single improvement requires selecting theproblem to tackle, determining the cause of the problem, devising a system change toremove the cause, gain approval to make the change, install and verify that the change iseffective” (p. 67). The micro-level process has its advantages; it improves services forstudents and faculty, it improves program visibility, it is cost effective, and it createsimprovement in operational efficiencies in service areas (Dew & Nering, 2004). To improve student achievement Spanbauer (1992) argued that quality improvementprocess is the medium through which cultural change can be exercised in education bychanging how schools are managed. The quality improvement process should involvestudents, staff, faulty and other school constituents with each recognizing the otherscontribution. These contributions should be challenged through training and commitmentto change (Spanbauer, 1992).
21 Adams (2000) in examining strategies that are used to improve student services ateight California Community Colleges found that student affairs directors agree thatstudent services must be improved to be competitive. The study found that leadershipmust be committed to the goals and mission of the institution, and must developcontinuous improvement strategies based on students’ needs. The study also found thatimprovement in student services requires continuous assessment, surveys, andquestionnaires about student satisfaction and must be given top priority in decisionsmaking. Adams concluded that these methods create a student-centered environmentwhere students will participate in services designed for their success. Quality programs must constantly focus on process improvement with incrementalchanges made to improve the process (Burrill & Ledolter, 1999). To understand theprocess there must be an understanding of the needs and expectations of the customer.The process must be examined to ensure that the customer’s needs are met. Ifexpectations are not met, the process must be redesigned to satisfy the customer’s needs.The system must be continuously re-evaluated for weaknesses, and then strategies mustbe made to correct the faults (Burrill & Ledolter, 1999). The program must be marketlead, focusing on adding value to the customer and must responsive to market forces andbe the basis for setting goals. It must be the foundation for problem solving, rewarding,performance appraisal, incentive distribution, and resource allocation (Jiju & Preece2002; Evans & Lindsay, 2000).
22 The African American Male Student in Higher Education Many college bound African American students are from disadvantagedbackgrounds. They do not have parents who attended college, often lack positiveeducational role models, from single parent homes, and are first generation collegestudents. African American students are more likely to be from lower income families,have limited financial resources, have problems with finances and the financial aidsystem, and feel isolated on campus (Seidman, 2005; Tinto, 1993). They are also lessprepared for college, are faced with more problems in college, and are negatively affectedby increases in college tuition than students of wealthier families (Muraskin, 2004). According to Tinto (1993), students come from different social and economicbackgrounds, with different personalities, and pre-college preparation levels. Students’behaviors are modified based on their longitudinal interaction within the collegeenvironment. A negative or positive interaction will influence the student’s commitmentcreating marginality or even withdrawal (Tinto, 1993). The student’s academic and socialintegration is a psychological process, which is shaped through the student’s pastbehaviors, coping abilities, and self-efficacy towards academics (Bean & Eaton, 1995). According to Davis (1999), “African American males often struggle to sociallyintegrate in a community of peers who are supportive and is often confining. Theystruggle to overcome academic hurdles, created by inadequate college preparation. Theystruggle against a school environment that marginalizes their presence and academicexpectations… often their voices are not heard, misunderstood or simply ignored”(p.135). Neal and McCray et al. (2003) found that African American boys are usually
23misunderstood from as early as middle school, because teachers tend to perceive AfricanAmerican culture styles as lower in achievement, higher in aggression, and more likely tobe in need of special education than those individuals who have normal behavior styles.Davis (1999) elaborated that there is also the effect of racism, stereotyping,underachieving in reading and mathematics, low teacher expectations, negative peerpressure, anti-schooling attitudes, drugs, gangs, the legal systems, and the lack of positivemale influence has greatly influenced black male behavior and educational experience. Bush & Bush (2005) reported that a review by the California Chancellors officefor community colleges found that African American males are the lowest performinggroup in terms of degrees earned, retention rates, and average accumulative grade pointaverages. Bush and Bush also reported that African American males are less likely tomeet with their instructors and less likely to participate in extracurricular activities thanany other groups of students. Cuyjet (1997) found that African American males do not spend much timereading students newspapers, do not get involved in clubs as much as female students,and are not very active in student organizations. They often do not exhibit interest instudent organizations and are not highly involved in campus sanctioned activities (Cuyjet,1997). Harper (2003) concurred that African American male students spent their out ofclass time, “In residence hall rooms doing nothing, pursuing romantic endeavors withwomen, exercising in the campus fitness center, playing video games, playing basketballand other sports, trying to become rappers, showing off their material possessions,partying, hanging out informally with other African American males at designated spots
24on campus and studying in the library by themselves” (p.74). These needs affect theircollege experiences, and have to be addressed collectively and individually for them tograduate (Pascarella, 1985). The lingering effects of past experiences are carried over into the collegeexperience creating behaviors on college campuses that are different from otherdemographic groups (Cuyet, 1997). The extent to which the students become involved inthe institutional environment and exploit the opportunities available in the institutionalsetting will enhance their persistence (Pascarella, 1985; Weidman 1989; Austin, 1985).The African American male student population, however, is very diverse and has needs,which shifts based on age group, socio-economic background and preparation levels(Pascarella, 1985). Labunski (2003) argued that educated students, regardless of their background,must be cognizant of the requirements of their majors, should mix general educationclasses with their major, gather information about the major, attend class, and becomeinvolved in group discussions. They should work less than 15 hours per week, attendclass at all times especially before exams, and work on a career path which includesinternships. They must also build relationships with professors, find out and participate inextracurricular activities, have adequate insurance, complain of sexual harassment whenit occurs and do not drop classes because of the fear of earning average grades.The Traditional and Non-Traditional African American Student Stokes (2005) reported that the college population is now made up of a diversegroup of students. The traditional undergraduate students, who are dependent, attend
25school full-time, and work part-time, has changed dramatically over the past two decades(NCES, 2002). The traditional age 18-22-year-old undergraduate students make up only16% of higher education enrollment. Approximately 40 % of students are 25 years orolder and 40% of students studying part-time (NCES, 2002). Non-traditional students on the other hand have the characteristics of delayedenrollment, attend school part-time, are independent and work full-time while enrolled.They have children, are single parents, and may not have received a high school diploma(NCES, 2002). Traditional and non-traditional students do not exhibit similar retentionpatterns at the bachelor’s degree level. However at the associate degree level, non-traditional students are half as likely to achieve their degrees (NCES, 2002). Students with non-traditional characteristics are more likely to leave withoutobtaining a degree and are a greater risk of dropping out especially in their first year.Male non-traditional students at an urban commuter college found that competing jobs,classroom priorities, poor time management, and academic under-preparednesscontributed to the dropout decision (Gary, 2004). Non-traditional students’ energy ismore focused on their employment rather than on school (Conditions of EducationReport, 2002). Non traditional students also fear returning to academics. They struggle tobalance family and school, facing financial difficulties which cannot be remedied by thefinancial aid process (Widoff, 2000). Marshal (2006) found that there are barriers to participation for both traditionaland non-traditional students. Marshal found that traditional students utilize the retentionprograms less. Factors contributing to students’ lack of using the services stem from
26cultural beliefs regarding the stigma associated with seeking help, and excelling is seen as“acting white”. The study also found institutional factors such as peer tutors lackingdiversity skills, ineffective marketing of services, and the negative connotation associatedwith the word retention impacts program utilization. Non-traditional students face similarissues, but as more mature students they overcome the obstacles. Marshal (2006) concluded that in order to improve the use of retention services,the program name and strategies should be changed to reflect the African Americanculture. The use of the “Retention Program” is perceived negatively and should bechanged to “Academic Support Programs”. Peer tutors should undergo extensive training,and universities should establish committees, which should include administrators,faculty, and students to monitor, evaluate and make recommendations to improve theAcademic Support Program. The adult-learner is another group of non-traditional students which is a verydiverse group. They are poorly understood, and require specially designed programs tomeet their needs. They need institutional planning and counseling to help map theirsuccess, therefore, institutions need to understand their pattern of enrollment (Pusser etal., 2007). According to Tinto (1993) adult male students returning to school facedifficulties such as feeling out of place. They are less willing to admit to academicdifficulties, and ask fewer questions when academic help arrives. They balance work andhave family responsibilities impacting their integration and assimilation into the schoolcommunity.
27 Spadley (2001) argued that the increase in the number of traditional age blackmale students in higher education requires educators to design special programs toaddress their needs (Spadley, 2001). Spadley recommended that administrators facilitatepeer intervention to enhance integration. Spadley also recommended that faculty need tofoster a learning environment that encourages participation and nurturing by designingextracurricular activities that enhance learning and participation. Drivers of Continuous Improvement in Retention The survival of private four-year, public-four year, and two-year HBCUs willdepend on the institution’s ability to improve the management of its student services andfind new sources of revenue. Many HBCUs, however, are periodically plagued byfinancial problems. They do not have large endowments and depend on student fees, stateappropriations, and philanthropy to survive (Jaynes & Williams, 1989). Losing a highpercentage of male students is a loss of potential revenue. Reversing the negative male retention trend requires a structured approach thatmust be managed for both short term and long term gains in graduation rate. Thecompetitive educational environment dictates that as service organizations, institutionsmust make an effort to be service oriented, creating an image that will impact marketshare, student selection, donation dollars, and research funding (Jurow, 2006). Thecompetition among higher education institutions requires all institutions (includingHBCUs) to become more adaptable and flexible to the changing market. This will attractthe best and brightest students (American Council of Education, 2004). Deming (1993)suggested that within a competitive economy, customers have more choices than in the
28past. With this flexibility they become more focused on organizations that meet theirexpectations. Leville (2006) concurred that students understand market forces and seekquality education at competitive pricing. A United Negro College Fund (2004) study found that 50% of African Americangraduating high school seniors and 50% of parents consider HBCUs as the college ofchoice, with the percentage rising to 64% with parents with four-year degrees or higher.Black high school students choose HBCUs based on “word- of- mouth” about HBCUsfrom friends and family members. They were more interested in the availability ofextracurricular activities and the schools’ social reputation more than other ethnic groups(Foley, 1996). The brightest black students now have more choices and are recruited by the toppredominately white institutions even though historically black colleges and universitiesare viable options (UNCF, 2004). Better-prepared students are attracted to institutionswith good academic reputations. If the HBCUs, however, do not improve their academicreputation, they will not be able to attract the best students (Goenner & Snaith, 2004). There are also federal concerns for HBCUs to improve their degree completionrates (USDE, 2006). Federal intervention through the United States Department ofEducation program for the promotion of educational excellence for all Americans hasestablished accountability expectations for HBCUs (USDE, 2006). With federalassistance, there are demands for historically black colleges and universities (HBCU) tobecome more accountable for performance indicators, such as retention (USDE, 2006).
29 Quality objectives established for HBCUs are monitored annually through theIntegrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) and measured against long-term progress up to 2009. Some established targets are to increase persistence beyondfirst year enrollment, increase graduation rates, increase in six year graduationpercentages, increase graduation rates for students in engineering, physical and biologicalsciences, and improve the efficiency of institutional services to students. These indicatorsallow families and students to rank colleges based on expert recommendations from theDepartment of Education (NCES, 2002). This increase flow of information will allowstudents and parents to make better educated choices when selecting a college (Miller,2006). In addition to the federal regulations, Cohen (1999) states that accreditation isanother force affecting institutional conduct. The Secretary of Education Commission onHigher Education (2006) recommends that accreditation agencies be held accountable forassuring performance issues, ensure performance questions are answered, and showconsistency and transparency. According to Schray (2006), accreditation agencies mustrespond to the demands of the higher education environment, specifically due to thegrowing demand for accountability, reduction in funding, rising costs, the increasing needfor efficiency, and expanding distance learning. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS, 2002) issued aposition statement warning institutions that they will be held accountable for programsand services irrespective of any reduction in funding. SACS in its manual, The Principlesof Accreditation: Foundation of Quality Enhancement, states that they, "Expect
30institutions to dedicate themselves to enhancing the quality of their programs and serviceswithin the context of their missions, resources, and capacities, be engaged in an ongoingprogram of improvement and be able to demonstrate how well it fulfills its statedmission...document quality and effectiveness in all its major aspects" (SACS, 2006).Other accreditation agencies such as The Higher Learning Commission of the NorthCentral Association have asked institutions to implement the Academic QualityImprovement Process (AQIP). This provides institutions with a quality improvementapproach to accreditation, utilizing self-assessment, strategic planning, and qualitymethods (Dew, 2004). Strategies for Student Retention Many students’ decision to withdraw from an institution lies in thecommunication and interactive networks established between student and universitypersonnel. If these networks are working successfully, they determine whether a studentleaves or graduates from the institution (Hermonowiz, 2004). Many at risk students fail toutilize university provided resources. They fail to contact members of the institutionwhen experiencing difficulties (Boyer 1987; Cuseo, 2003). In the interest of retention, colleges and universities must take a proactive stanceby contacting at-risk students, offering them specific services, and working closely withthe students to develop their confidence skills and interest in learning (Friedlander, 1980;Boyer, 1987). Kuh and Associates (2005) argues that student success in an institution canbe increased by establishing performance standards for students, staff and faculty. Also,institutions must assess and reformulate programs to meet students’ expectations. They
31should develop early warning systems ensuring that first-year students are assignedmentors, and have a sustainable advising program that promotes four-year completion.The institution should reward faculty for performance, create activities that encourage aclimate in which all students will interact with their peers. Programs must addressstudents’ academic needs, help students cope with studying, and other non-academicissues. Institutions must promote student relationships with faculty and administrativestaff (Kuh and Associates, 2005). According to Lotowski et al. (2004) retention is best predicted by combiningsocial and economic factors, high school GPA and non-economic factors. The findingsfrom his research suggest that the best approach for designing retention programs is tomove beyond the traditional method of identifying at risk students by GPA alone. Thebest strategy involves students with adequate GPAs, who fail to develop social skill andself confidence. Similar studies on the academic success of students at an HBCU in Marylandconducted by Peters (2007) supports the ACT findings. Peters (2007) found that highschool GPA was a stronger in predicting academic success than Scholastic Aptitude TestScore (SAT). The study found significant differences in graduation rates for students withlow SAT scores and the overall institutional graduation rates. There were also significantdifferences between graduation rates, students with low high school GPA and overallgraduation rates. The study also found that females had higher graduation rates for thecohort studied and students with low SAT scores can persist to graduation, if there is astrategy of utilizing academic and non-academic intervention tools.
32 Levitz and Noel (2000) argued that the first step in identifying and managingmarginally involved students is to identify the student’s academic motivation, examinetheir transition to the institutional environment, and examine the type of help the studentmay need to succeed. The second step is to design individual student programs throughproper advising, with trained and knowledgeable advisors. The third step is to deliver aprogram that is unique to the individual student’s needs.Campus Support Strauss (2004) in a study of the adaptation of students to their environment foundthat the strongest impact on institutional commitment derives from student experiences.The study suggested that it is the collective balance of students’ academic and socialexperiences that exert heavy influence on their commitment to the institution and is moreimportant than all variables. Positive experiences from post-college and pre-college variables preventfreshmen from becoming involved in many negative psychosocial activities (DeBerad etal., 2004). According to DeBerad et al. (2004), universities have to look at thepsychosocial predictors of freshmen academic achievement and retention. They mustexamine psychological variables such as smoking, drinking, health, social support, andmaladaptive coping strategies, because they are related to retention. Colleges must beproactive in identifying potential at-risk students during their freshman year and providethe necessary corrective and intervention strategies (DeBerad et al., 2004). In contrast, Alderman (2004) argues that student performance comes from effortand ability, which is influenced by motivation, the expectations for future performance,
33and subsequent actions taken by the student. Burton et al. (2006) argues that the student’ssuccess in school occurs when they make a deliberate effort to participate in the learningprocess such as studying, doing homework, and completing work assignments. If thestudents are experiencing difficulties, they must make an attempt to seek help (Burton etal., 2006). Persistence through graduation is related positively to voluntarily seeking help(Shwitzer, 1993) As voluntary use of counseling increases, the academic performance ofsecond year at risk students who participated in brief mandatory counseling improveddramatically (Shwitzer, 1993). Therefore, academic advising and support services atHBCUs, should be implemented early in a student’s career. This will create the avenuefor students at risk to be identified early so that measures can be taken to enhance thestudents’ academic and social integration (McDaniel & Graham, 2001). In a study of how student services such as enrollment management, financial aidservice, residential life, extracurricular activities, counseling services and academicsupport services impact freshmen at two private HBCU’s, Hutto & Fenwick (2002) founda significant statistical relationship between the students’ perception of the quality ofservices available to them and their retention. Hutto & Fenwick concluded that privatelyfunded institutions could correct their retention issues by coming to terms with the issueswith their services, and strengthen the quality of the student services they provide. Programs with cognitive approaches such as mentoring, tutoring, academicenrichment, group study sessions and increased communication enhances persistence(Peters, 2005). Non-cognitive factors such as time management, advising, social support,
34team building, and leadership skills also impact persistence. Leadership and characterdevelopment activities showed the best promise as a strategy for improving AfricanAmerican male retention (Peters, 2005). In Tinto’s (1993) reflection on the principles of effective retention, he argued thatsuccessful retention programs should be committed to the students they serve. They mustbe committed to becoming student centered and must engage staff, faculty and students toensure that the students become involved in the institution and have the skills necessaryto survive the academic vigor. Tinto (1993) states that the institution must commit itselfto develop support services and learning communities, so that the students can becomefully integrated into the fabric of institution. This observation was supported by Mustiful (2005) in a study of AfricanAmerican male persistence at four-year private and public HBCUs. Mistiful (2005) foundthat African American males persist because of individuals such as parents andgrandparents who provided financial and emotional support. The study also found thathigh school personnel and institutional factors such as financial aid, support faculty ofand peers, involvement in campus activities and mentors at the institution all contribute toAfrican American male persistence. Flowers (2006) in a study on the effects of attending a two year versus a four yearinstitution on African American males’ academic and social integration during the firstyear, found that African American males attending four year colleges are more likely toreport higher levels of academic and social integration than their two year counterparts.
35Flowers (2006) concluded that two year institutions should make more effort to developstrategies to improve African American males’ academic and social integration. A nurturing college environment is a primary expectation of African Americanstudents, and there must be a fit between the college environment and African Americanstudents’ expectations (Key, 2003). Key also found that there must be a fit between thestudent’s expectations and that of the institution when establishing a quality-nurturingenvironment to improve graduation rates. Similar sentiments are shared by Tinto (2000)who argued that students’ goals must be aligned with the institution, and there mustsufficient interaction for the student to feel that their goals are in unison with theinstitution. In an ACT study on what works in retention for four-year private colleges, byHabley and McClanahan (2004) found that 64.1 % of the institution studied had anindividual who coordinated retention, 59.4% had retention improvement goals from firstto second year, and 38.7% had goals to improve retention to degree completion. Therespondents linked attrition to student characteristics mainly, inadequate financialresources, lack of motivation, lack of coping skill, and lack of educational goals. Theretention programs that were found to have the greatest contribution to retention werefirst year programs, academic advising, and learning support. The retention programs thathad the greatest impact were freshman seminars, advising with selected student groupsand internships respectively. Habley and McClanahan (2004) also found that private fouryear institutions that have high retention and graduation rates practiced integratingacademic advising with first year programs, had an academic advising center, faculty
36mentoring, summer bridge programs, honors programs, increased advising staff, learningcommunities, had peer mentoring and writing labs, and had non credited extended writinglabs.Campus Services Jones-Giles (2004) in a study of retention at HBCUs found other factors that werenegatively associated with student retention at HBCUs. The factors included academicboredom and uncertainty of what to study, transition and adjustment problems, unrealisticexpectations of college, lack of satisfactory academic advising, and competitive collegeentrance scores. In addition, there were college retention programs, unexpected highworkload in freshman college courses, and academic under preparedness. Jones-Giles(2004) also found that a lack of competitive high school backgrounds, parentalinvolvement, personal and emotional factors, financial problems and a lack of self-confidence and self esteem impacts retention (Jones-Giles, 2004). Advising, tutoring, mentoring, counseling, remedial courses, schedule adjustmentand financial aid respectively, are considered the most effective strategies for correctingmany of the issues faced by African American students (Harleston, 2004). A similarstudy by Jones-Giles (2004) found that the most effective polices in improving retentionat HBCUs were screening potential dropouts for prevention and intervention, providingacademic counseling to potential dropouts, and implementing student and facultyfeedback to identify students who are likely to withdraw. Jones-Giles also found thatestablishing policies at the departmental level to handle retention issues and using
37information from exit interviews to identify factors that impact the student withdrawalimproves student retention. Glen (2004) in an analysis of factors that contribute to Texas community colleges,graduating black males found that institutions in the top quartile had specific strategiesfor retention success. Glen found that the best strategies include freshman only advising,offering credits for orientation courses, and tutorial programs, and monitoring at riskgroups with specific retention plans. The study also found that the strategies that had thegreatest impact on African American male retention were identifying at-risk studentsfrom the time of enrollment, and monitoring their academic performance. According toTinto (2000), for institutional retention programs to impact the sophomore, junior andsenior years, a learning community approach must be utilized. This creates a programthat has continued success throughout the students academic career.Faculty African American students persist due to experiences and interactions that occurin the school environment (Latiker, 2003). Frequent daily interactions with students inand out of the classroom impact the student’s decision to stay or leave school (Tinto,1993; Chenoweth 1999). At risk students who persist cite someone on the faculty whohas made positive contact with them outside of the classroom (Tinto, 1997). In a study by Schaeffer et al. (2003), both students and faculty were asked to rankthe 10 qualities of effective teachers. The qualities are: (1) approachability, (2) creativityand interesting, (3) flexibility and open mindedness, (4) knowledgeable, (5) realisticexpectations, (6) fairness, and (7) respectful, were all traits identified as the top seven.
38The major difference between teacher and students responses were that faculty placedmore emphasis on teaching techniques, while students placed more emphasis on thestudent teacher relationship. Students felt it was important to have someone who is engaged in their learningexperience, care about their future, and have a vested interest in their education,irrespective of race (Henderson, Henderson & Hudson, 2002). Hickson (2002) in hisstudy at an HBCU found that students did not care about the race of the faculty memberas long as the following attributes are met: the faculty member cared about their future,had an interest in their education, cared about their aspirations, and cared about theirgoals outside of the classroom. Thomas and Giles (1994) argued that faculty should be convinced that retention isimportant and that the problems associated with student retention are a part of theexperience. Efforts must be organized to assists faculty and students in understandinghow to receive and take advantage of the available assistance (Thomas, & Gile, 1994).Spardely (2001) argued that faculty must be challenged to be not only facilitators oflearning, but be able to accommodate the problems and experiences of African Americanmales. According to Padilla (2000), the perception of the extent that a program shares inthe institutional mission is an important component in faculty participation in anyprogram to succeed. Faculty who buy into the institutional mission reported greatersatisfaction than those who consider the mission irrelevant (Padilla, 2000). According to Pascarella and Terenzini (1991), institutional climate can influencefaculty members if the activities have some rewards. Pascarella and Terenzini stated that
39faculty cannot be expected to be involved in out-of-class student activities if they arerecruited for research and their research brings them more prominence than involvementwith undergraduate students (Pascarella & Terenzini, 1991). Incentives should be offeredto faculty and staff to participate in the process, and programs developed with facultyinput. This creates a level of openness, so that views from various areas of institutionallife are heard (Tinto, 1993).Academic Advising According to Cuseo (2003), academic advisors are in an ideal position to connectwith students rather than academic support personnel. Johnson (1997) stated that it is thepeople who come face- to-face with students on a regular basis provide the positivegrowth experiences for students. They enable students to identify their strengths and learnhow to use them. Academic advising is the only structured activity on campuses wherestudents have the opportunity to have one-on-one interaction with a concernedrepresentative of the institution (Tinto, 1993). Thus, academic advising is one of themajor social and academic factors that determine whether a student leaves or stays (Tinto,1993). Wyckoff (1999) concurs that one of the key factors that contribute to pooradvising is lack of consensus about the role and function of the advisors. Johnson (1997)stated that advising is not an isolated process; retention efforts must be focused on allcomponents of the university. Johnson (1997) postulates that colleges and universitiesmust build an effective and strong connection between advising programs and the variouscomponents on campus. Credle and Dean (1991) concluded that when the students enter
40college, the advisor, staff, and faculty must establish rapport with them, by helping themwork within the organizational structure, and assist with careers development. Furr and Elling (2002) stated that faculty members must have information aboutthe student. If they know the student information, they can develop profiles to helpstudents monitor and balance their various activities. They can interact on the student’sbehalf with financial aid, provide information for counselors, residential hall advisors,and other faculty members before the student’s problems become insurmountable. Graunke and Woosley (2005), in a study examining how sophomore experiencesand attitudes affect their experiences, found that commitment to academic major andfaculty interactions were significant predators of grade point average. Graunke &Woosley found that in order to improve sophomore academic performance, institutionsshould focus on helping sophomores declare their majors early, design student activitiesto promote involvement, which in turn will improve the student’s interactions withfaculty (Graunke & Woosley, 2005). Focusing advising and academic services along withproviding information early in the college experience will help enhance the student’sacademic and social integration (McCaha & Fitzpatrick, 2005). When comparing student satisfaction with academic advising, Lowe (2000) foundthat the frequency of contact with faculty greatly predicts students’ satisfaction. Loweindicated that academic advising varies greatly across colleges, between student groups,and there are differences in the perception of advising based on the student status. Inorder to bring about a more effective advising system, Lowe & Michael (2000)recommends that advising should be recognized as a high priority activity, should be
41intrusive, and advisors should be trained. Advising responsibilities must be defined,materials must be improved and made more widely available. There must beaccountability, evaluations must be conducted and reward measures instituted.Mentors and Role Models Successful teachers of African American males have commonly helped studentsdevelop an attachment for learning by dealing with student concerns, and have gainedtheir students respect (Ross, 1998). Ross (1998) found that African American malesgraduate because of nurturing by a significant person, and by bonding to a person whoprovides a strong sense of direction, guidance and responsibility. This person may besomeone from church, family, or the institution the student attends who is caring to thestudent. Mentoring is a valuable structured tool that is used to promote interaction betweenAfrican American men and faculty (LaVant, Tiggs, & Anderson, 1997). From theirobservation of mentoring programs in higher education institutions throughout thecountry, LaVant, Tiggs, & Anderson (1997) recommends that successful mentoringprograms for African American men should have a commitment of the institution’sexecutive leadership to have a formal mentoring program. A university committee shouldbe established to identify African American males for mentorship upon admission.Mentors who are passionate should be selected, and there must be coordination betweenthe mentoring program and enrollment management to identify potential participants.Training should be provided for faculty, and the program must engage the university’sexternal partners. There must be an ongoing unbiased analysis and evaluation of the
42program. Recommendations from the evaluations must be implemented to improve theprograms’ effectiveness (LaVant, Tiggs & Anderson, 1997).Financial Aid Receiving assistance with financial aid increases the odds of departure by 89%(Ishitani & Snider, 2004). Financial aid does have a positive effect on first-year andfourth-year retention (Ishitani, 2006), but the attrition rate varies based on the amount,timing and composition of the loan (Ishitani & DesJardins, 2003). The percentage ofmoney burrowed for higher education is highest for students who attend privateinstitutions while those students that attend two-year colleges are less likely to borrow.More than 20% of those who borrow drop out and are faced with the life long financialdifficulties (Gladieux & Perna, 2005). According to Mihok (2005), the composition of financial aid packages are relatedto the persistence of first generation, low- income sophomore students. Low- incomestudents who receive need based loans at the beginning of their enrollment are not aslikely to persist as those who received aid in the latter years of college. Increasing thefunding or frontloading grants in earlier years increases the likelihood of studentspersisting to the third, fourth, and fifth years. This is because most students tend to dropout in the first two years due to the fear of debt accumulation (Mihok, 2005). Allgood (2005) in a study of financial aid knowledge of students at HBCUs foundthat students knew that they needed financial aid to persist. They had minimal knowledgeof the financial aid process and were late planners even though they completed theapplication themselves. Allgood (2005) also found that the level of financial aid
43knowledge increased based on residency. Out of state students had more knowledge ofthe financial aid process than instate students, but they both had the same knowledge ofthe process. Both instate and out of state students were most dissatisfied with the lengthof the financial aid process, the office staff, and the quality of service received. Important information must be provided to each student and their parents early inthe high school years (Sallie Mae Fund, 2004). Parents and students would like to receivefrom teachers and counselors their financial aid information as early as junior high schoolfrom teachers and counselors. The financial aid information is best targeted in venuessuch as churches, civic areas, and libraries and should be placed in areas that are veryvisible to parents and students. Every effort should be made to have the studentsinformed of the financial aid process as early as possible (Sallie Mae Fund, 2004).Institutions, therefore, must focus on policies that better prepare students forundergraduate and post-secondary education, and helping students understand thefinancial options available. This can be achieved through early training, strengthening theon campus financial aid system, and by providing resources such as on campus workstudy and grants to at-risk students (Gladieux & Perna, 2005). Data and Assessment The students’ views on all aspects of their higher education experiences areconsidered a part of quality monitoring at universities and are canvassed by institutions aspart of their marketing strategies (Hill, Laurie & MacGregor, 2003). Students perceivethe quality of faculty and the student support systems as determinants of quality in highereducation (Hill, Laurie & MacGregor, 2003). The organization that consistently measures
44the opinion of its customers will have products and services that are needed by thecustomer and will be able to provide numerical evidence to substantiate the quality oftheir products (Holcomb, 1993; Czarnecki, 1999). Measurement and analysis of criticalperformance data are important to performance management. Data is critical forperformance review, process improvement, and implementation of similar programs inother departments or institutions. It is through data analysis that performance can betracked (Balding Criteria, 2006). Kaye and Anderson (1999) reported that the elements of best practice in acontinuous improving business mechanism should be implemented to regularly examinethe level of satisfaction of the stakeholders by identifying and monitoring their needs.Self-assessment will measure the current performance of the institution or departmentagainst a business model that can be used as the basis for continuous improvement (Kaye& Anderson, 1999). Institutions should collect information prior to the student entering the universityand throughout their college experience. The institution should have information from thestudents concerning social integration, involvement in and out of the classroom, classexperiences, program activities, financial needs, and intention to work through structuredclimate surveys. The student assessment data should also include student satisfaction withcampus climate, instructional effectiveness, financial aid effectiveness, registrationeffectiveness, campus safety and security, and academic advising effectiveness (Tinto,1993; Low, 1999; Furr and Elling, 2002).
45 The data system must monitor the established parameters, focus on the goals andprovide diagnostic information to policymakers and the public (National Commission onAccountability in Higher Education, 2005). Through focused self-assessment, theinstitution can look at the areas of strengths and weaknesses. Institutions can examine theareas for improvement, look at what they are doing great, and celebrate it whileimproving on the areas of weaknesses. From this information a plan can be developedamong institutional leaders, staff, and faculty to improve the weak areas (Dew & Nering,2004). Siedman (2005) stated that colleges should amass information on potential at-riskstudents before they enter and should use that database to create a profile on each student.They should work with the students from high school to enrollment, determine thestudents’ profile, examine the difficulties they may experience, and plan an interventionstrategy to match the students’ needs (Siedman, 2005). Early intervention and monitoringof the student will ensure that the student is monitored and taught competent social andacademic skills for their college survival. This intervention should continue throughoutthe students’ college career to affect the desired change (Siedman, 2005). According toTinto (1993), it is the responsibility of the institution to assist students who enroll andmonitor the students’ progress in the classroom throughout the student academic career. Higher education generates an enormous amount of data through instruments andsurveys, but the system is weak and requires improvement in data utilization (NationalCommission on Accountability in Higher Education, 2005). Edirisooriya (2002) arguedthat institutions lose time and money, become inefficient, miscalculate priorities,