Degree Date


Document Type

Dissertation - Public Access

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Academic Discipline

Community College Leadership


Social challenges tear at the fabric of the African American family, revealing complexities that identify a de facto leader, the African American woman. She exists in a chasm of overt circumstances which heavily influences her successes. The purpose of this study is to identify factors that motivated seven female African American community college graduates to persist throughout crisis and to ultimately reach their academic goals and graduate. Using a qualitative narrative design, the study involved semi structured interviews with seven African American women who employed community colleges and other support strategies to accomplish appropriate responses to crises, identify practical support mechanisms, and achieve professional advancement in order to attain professional success. Findings provide a clearer picture of the elements these participants feel foster and enhance their abilities to stay enrolled, to persist and to graduate from college. The study findings illustrate the importance students place on their family’s support, the support of their faith and the support of college faculty and staff. The Bates Model for the Initial Creation of a Community College Counseling / Crisis Intervention Center is presented to foster the development of a support service center which will allow community colleges to better meet the needs of these non-traditional students.