1st Edition

From Diplomas to Doctorates The Success of Black Women in Higher Education and its Implications for Equal Educational Opportunities for All

    This volume is designed to illuminate the educational experiences of Black women, from the time they earn their high school diplomas through graduate study, with a particular focus on their doctoral studies, by exploring the commonalities and the uniqueness of their individual paths and challenges. The chapters of this volume newly identify key factors and experiences that shape Black women’s engagement or disengagement with higher education.The original research presented here – using an array of theoretical lenses, as well as qualitative and quantitative methods – not only deepens our understanding of the experiences of African American women in the academy, but also seeks to strengthen the academic pipeline, not only for the benefit of those who may have felt disenfranchised in the past, but for all students.The contributors eschew the deficit-focused approach – that implies a lack of social and cultural capital based on prior educational experiences – adopted by many studies of non-dominant groups in education, and instead focus on the strengths and experiences of their subjects. Among their findings is the identification of the social capital that Black women are given and actively acquire in their pre-collegiate years that enable them to gain greater returns on their educational investments than their male peers. The book further describes the assistance and the interference African American women receive from their peers during their transition to college, and how peer interactions shape their early college experiences, and influence subsequent persistence decisions.Whether studying how Black women in the social and natural sciences navigate through this often rocky terrain, or uncovering the extent to which African American women doctoral students access postsecondary education through community colleges, and their special needs for more mentoring and advising support, this book provides researchers and graduate students with rich information on how to successfully engage and succeed in the doctoral process.It also demonstrates to women faculty and administrators how they can become better navigators, guides, and advocates for the African American women who come after them.

    Foreword—Kassie Freeman Introduction—Crystal Renée Chambers, V. Barbara Bush and MaryBeth Walpole PART 1. THE PRE-COLLEGIATE AND TRANSITIONAL EXPERIENCE 1. College Predisposition and the Dilemma of Being Black and Female in High School—Adrienne Dixson and Crystal Renée Chambers 2. “Making a Dollar out of Fifteen Cents”. The Early Educational Investments of Young Black Women— Crystal Renée Chambers PART 2. THE UNDERGRADUATE EXPERIENCE 3. An Asset or an Obstacle? The Power of Peers in African American Women’s College Transitions—Rachelle Winkle-Wagner 4. African American Female Students at Historically Black Colleges. Historical and Contemporary Consideration—Marybeth Gasman 5. African American Women at Highly Selective Colleges. How African American Campus Communities Shape Experiences—MaryBeth Walpole PART 3. THE GRADUATE EXPERIENCE 6. Professional Socialization, Politicized Raced And Gendered Experience, and Black Female Graduate Students. A Road Map for Structural Transformation—V. Thandi Sulé 7. Does Where They Start Matter? A Comparative Analysis of African American Women Doctoral Recipients Who Started in a Two-Year Versus a Four-Year Institution—Carolyn Buck 8. A Look Back and a Look Ahead. How to Navigate the Doctoral Degree Process—Benita J. Barnes Afterword—Wynetta Y. Lee Editors and Contributors Appendix


    V. Barbara Bush is an assistant professor of higher education at the University of North Texas. She holds a Ph.D. in Higher Education from Claremont Graduate University and served as a senior student affairs officer and practitioner in California, Illinois and Wisconsin. Crystal Renee Chambers is an assistant professor at East Carolina University College of Education in the Department of Educational Leadership. She holds a J.D. and a Ph.D. in Educational Policy from the University of Virginia. Mary Beth Walpole is an associate professor in the Educational Leadership Department at Rowan University in Glassboro, NJ. Her Masters degree is in Administration and Policy Analysis from Stanford University and her PhD is in Higher Education and Organizational Change from UCLA. Wynetta Y. Lee Kassie Freeman

    "Black women fare well in higher education, relative to Black men. This book argues, however, that the women face significant challenges at every step of the journey. The authors offer original research on some of the educational dilemmas, barriers and breakthroughs Black women experience."

    Diverse: Issues in Higher Education

    "The collection is particularly effective in illustrating the lived experiences that contribute to or undermine black women's success, and it illuminates where changes in higher education’s culture might be beneficial."

    On Campus with Women