Degree Date


Document Type

Dissertation - Public Access

Degree Name

Ed.D. Doctor of Education

Academic Discipline

Higher Education Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Nathaniel Cradit

Second Advisor

Dr. Brian Hamluk


Abstract of Dissertation

Increasing Strategies and Programs for the Retention and Graduation of Black Undergraduate Students at the University of Central Florida

This study aims to expand the knowledge and understanding of retention and persistence opportunities for Black students at the University of Central Florida. Qualitative research and data were collected and analyzed on six minority students at UCF. The study discovered academic, social, and cultural factors that affect Black undergraduate students' retention, persistence, and graduation at the University of Central Florida.

Analysis of the data revealed the need for minority students to access academic strategies and participate in intervention programs that aid Black students in succeeding and graduating from UCF. While recruitment is an essential factor with minorities attending higher educational institutions- ensuring academic strategies and interventions are equally important in the success and graduation of minority students at UCF and American higher educational institutions.


I want to express my sincerest gratitude to National Louis University (NLU) for paving the way for me to receive my doctorate in Higher Education Leadership: I want to thank the staff and students at the University of Central Florida, where I conducted my research. I wish to acknowledge NLU’s department chair, Dr. Nathaniel Cradit, for his untiring leadership and direction and NLU’s professors who supported me throughout my journey.

To my committee, Dr. Amy Ellis, Dr. Elizabeth Minor, and especially to Dr. Brian Hamluk, my dissertation chair, and advisor. Dr. Hamluk was instrumental in my success at NLU by providing mentorship, direction, and guidance throughout the doctoral journey. I want to give all honor to God; without you, I am nothing and know that it is your will for me to fulfill my dream and fulfill a greater calling in providing scholarship and service to the next generation of students attending higher education institutions. Next, I want to personally thank my mother, Roslyn Page, who stood by me every step of the way throughout my journey. I made it, Mom! And I stand at the helm of the dedication you shared as an administrator at the Historical Black College & University, Bethune Cookman University, and your legacy will continue to live.

And to my sister Dr. Cheryl Sorrells who provided direct input and support throughout the research process. And to my 99-year-old, Grandma Ruth, who taught me, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” And to the Hickory Avenue Church of God, Pastors James & Alfreda Turner. And finally, to my family and special friends such as Peter Blount, who believed in me throughout the journey. And finally, I dedicate my entire research to my dad, the late Willie Calvin Sorrells, Sr. and my brother the late Willie Calvin “Bill” Sorrells, Jr. This project is for both of you, as educators you laid down your entire life to the uplifting of inner-city youth and urban education.