Date of Award

Summer 8-17-2015

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

EdD Education Leadership, Management and Policy

Department

Education Leadership, Management and Policy

Advisor

Gerard Babo, Ed.D.

Committee Member

James Caulfield, Ed.D.

Committee Member

James Pavlin, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Maryrose Caulfield-Sloan, Ed.D.

Keywords

Arab American, Muslim Students, Postsecondary education, New Jersey, college transition, Islam, Phenomenological Methodology

Abstract

ABSTRACT

Arab American and Muslim students’ population growth on campuses has been very rapid, which in turn has required comprehensive planning to accommodate the needs of this minority. Documented experiences of Arab American and Muslim students are underrepresented in research literature and lag behind every other minority, despite the fact that Islam is the fastest growing religion in the United States. With all the challenges facing Arab American and Muslim students in our society, it is important to ensure their ability to sustain a positive attitude toward their religion, culture, and college education to prevent imminent problems such as cultural conflict, dropouts, and non-integration into higher education. This study examined the influence of social, religious, institutional, and cultural factors on Arab American and Muslim Students’ transition from high school to postsecondary education in northern New Jersey. Using qualitative methodology, Arab American and Muslim students from two higher education institutions were given the opportunity to describe their perceptions regarding their transition experience from high school to college. The findings of this study were drawn from face-to-face interviews of 24 participants and a demographic questionnaire.

This investigation shed light on some conditions of Arab American and Muslim college students in northern New Jersey, including students’ successes, life styles, financial issues, religious life, diversity, and Islamophobia on college campuses. Although social, cultural, and institutional factors influenced Arab American and Muslim students’ transition, this study revealed that religion plays a central role in their life. Furthermore, the study suggested that improving postsecondary education to meet the challenges and needs of the growing diverse population is essential to the effectiveness of a postsecondary education system.

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