Our method was to conduct two qualitative approaches to answering our research question – How does the lived experience of students who identify as Black/African American inform our understanding of the structural inequalities at Lake-Sumter State College that are creating an equity gap specific to credit attainment? First, qualitative data will be gathered through semi-structured interviews embedded within academic advisor-student conversations. The advisors will ask several questions about students’ experiences with Lake-Sumter State College’s processes and resources. Second, we will seek out and interview (semi-structured) community experts who can speak to the community’s history, tradition, beliefs, values, challenges, and opportunities within the lived experiences of our Black/African American students.
Our project will improve the earned credit momentum for our Black/African American students’ because we have identified equity gaps for this population and strive to meet our strategic priority of increasing students’ academic success and progression. Before developing an intervention approach, it was important to understand the lived experiences of the Black/African American students at LSSC. Our project met this goal through qualitative inquiry which gathered data from academic advising sessions.
The advising data collection process resulted in 65 responses, with 5 students who identified as Black/African American. This resulted in an underrepresentation of Black/AA students (with no representation by Black/AA males) possibly due to lower use of advising services. The results support the hypothesis that Black/African American students commonly face work and health challenges which hinder their academic success. Exploring structural supports conducive to mitigating these challenges is recommended.