Date of Award

Spring 5-12-2022

Degree Type


Degree Name

PhD Higher Education Leadership, Management, Policy


Education Leadership, Management and Policy


Rong Chen, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Robert Kelchen, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Omayra Arocho, Ph.D.


advising, academic integration, African American, Black, persistence, retention, college student, success


The U.S. college persistence rate for African American students, remains lowest in comparison to other race/ethnicities. Academic advising and other forms of academic integration are emphasized in prior research as associated with positively influencing persistence outcomes. However, a gap exists in the literature regarding their impact for four-year African American students and success factors for persistence of these students. Existing academic advisement studies are primarily institutional with a small sample size, as opposed to a national sample, and very few are focused on quantitative data analysis.

Therefore, through the analysis of national data from the 2018 National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) and its 2018 Academic Advising Module, this quantitative, binary, logistic regression study was completed to determine academic advising and academic integration factors related to first-year student intent to return (measured as persistence) among African American four-year college students.Specifically, the relationship to persistence was studied for the demographic characteristics of gender, college grades, major field, and parental education; academic advising characteristics and experiences (inclusive of the quality of interactions); institutional characteristics of private versus public institutional control, institutional selectivity, Basic 2015 Carnegie Classification, institutional size; and students’ perception of the institution as a supportive environment. Two additional NSSE academic engagement variables were also examined: student-faculty interactions as a function of student advisement from faculty advisers, and collaborative learning. The sample was 2,104 students who self-identified as having Black or African American racial/ethnic identity and participated in both the 2018 National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) and its 2018 Academic Advising Module.

Results found the following seven factors as related to first-year student intent to persist among African American four-year college students: (1) characteristics of optimal academic advising, (2) student perception of excellent quality interactions with the advisor, (3) the collaborative learning method of students explaining course material to one or more of their peers, (4) students attaining college grades of A or A-, (5) being a STEM major, (6) attending a highly selective institution, and (7) the supportive environment factor of students perceiving an institutional emphasis on helping them manage their non-academic responsibilities, i.e., work, family, etc. In addition, for Black students who indicated an intent to persist, statistically significant difference was found associated with the perception of a supportive campus environment that differed across racial and ethnic groups.

Implications for institutional and educational stakeholders include recommendations to assist in providing meaningful academic advising experiences, a commitment to implementing resources and practices that promote high-quality academic advising, investigating the feasibility of creating additional opportunities for students to explain their understanding of material to peers, increased opportunity and course offerings for minority students for AP classes, early exposure to STEM fields, and greater investment in and/or financial support for STEM opportunity and support programs. The study also emphasizes that institutions of higher learning must focus on creating a campus environment perceived as welcoming by all students - in ways beyond the academic realm - as improvements will benefit not only African American students, but all students.