Date of Award

Summer 6-27-2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctorate of Education, Ed.D.


College of Education



First Advisor

Donna Graham, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Maggie Broderick, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Andrea M. Wilson, Ph.D.


This qualitative case study sought to capture insights from professional staff trained to serve diverse student populations in colleges to inform additional staff in better serving underrepresented students. Higher education student populations have changed drastically over the past several decades, representing greater diversity in American colleges and universities, necessitating enhanced practice in counseling and advising diverse students. The case study research sought to better understand needs of traditionally underrepresented students in 4-year predominantly White institutions (PWIs) through the lens of professional staff in diversity-focused positions within the colleges and universities. Critical race theory (CRT), sociocultural theory, and positive psychology were used to frame and develop the study. This qualitative study examined how diverse college students are being served from the perspective of diversity professionals in one northern Midwest bi-state region, to inform career counselors and other student affairs professionals who collaborate with students throughout their educational experience. Questionnaires, in-person interviews, and researcher field notes were used and coded to identify emergent themes surrounding the support of diverse college students in specified PWIs. Key findings, including connectedness, support networks, cultural validation, holistic advising, and advocacy, can be used to inform all staff and faculty in better retaining and developing diverse student talent in the region, and in a broader sense.

Included in

Education Commons