Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Ed.D. in Education



First Advisor

Amy E. Wells Dolan

Second Advisor

David Rock

Third Advisor

Whitney Webb

Relational Format



Three researchers, Shawnboda Mead, Earl Presley, and Alexandria White, collaborated to complete this Dissertation in Practice (DiP) which includes three manuscripts. The three-member team identified the academic success of first-year African American students at predominantly White institutions as a complex problem of practice. Bean and Eaton’s (2001) Psychological Model of Student Retention and Rodgers and Summers (2008) Revised Model of Retention for African American Students at Predominantly White Institutions provided the theoretical framework for this study. The study examines the relationship of academic success and first-year African American students who participated in the 2015 and 2016 Mississippi Outreach to Scholastic Talent (MOST) Conference and respectively enrolled at the University of Mississippi during the Fall 2016 and Fall 2017 semesters. GPA data for 228 MOST participants and 547 Non-MOST participants were used to analyze three research questions determining if MOST participants earn a higher average first semester and first-year GPA than other first-year African American students from Mississippi who attend the University of Mississippi and if MOST participants earn a higher average first semester GPA than second semester GPA. While not statistically significant, MOST participants earned higher first semester and first-year GPA than Non-MOST participants. Findings also revealed MOST participants experienced greater academic success during their first semester compared to their second semester and they achieved greater retention outcomes than Non-MOST participants. The Carnegie Project on the Education Doctorate (CPED) First Principles of equity, ethics, and social justice served as a guide for the research and recommendations for policy and practice.



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