Student Affairs and the Black Experience: Exploring How Black and African American Student Affairs Staff Experience Race at Predominantly White Institutions

Open Access
Davis, Moses
Graduate Program:
Workforce Education and Development
Doctor of Philosophy
Document Type:
Date of Defense:
June 27, 2013
Committee Members:
  • Edgar I Farmer Sr., Dissertation Advisor
  • Judith Ann Kolb, Committee Member
  • Craig D Weidemann, Committee Member
  • Susan Ruth Rankin, Special Member
  • Student Affairs
  • Racism
  • Workplace Diversity
  • Race
  • Staff of Color
Racism in the American workplace is a topic that not many organizations attempt to tackle. For many, race is one of those taboo subjects that is rarely mentioned because there is a perception that someone will always become offended. So instead, we don’t talk about it. We just ignore it and believe racial problems will work themselves out. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Race is a real issue that needs to be dealt with within the work environment. We can sweep racial incidents under the rug like they are not there but, eventually, the pile under that rug will become so big that people will often trip on it. This study will specifically examine how black and African American Student Affairs staff of color experience race in predominantly white institutions. In our global economy, it is becoming ever clear that we need to prepare the workforce to gain the skills and competency to work with a diverse group of people. Our workforce is becoming more diverse every day. As leaders, supervisors, directors, etc., we need to be able to provide our workforce with a safe working environment where they are free to express their identities. As a result of this study, I would like workplace leaders (managers, supervisors, administrators, etc.,) to be able to recognize the intricacies that staff of color experience in their work environment. This study should increase awareness, provide a basis for open dialogue, enhance the way that workplace leaders deal with racial situations, create and enact policy, and build inclusive working environments where all staff can freely thrive.