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Title:Perceptions of access and status among undergraduate business students
Author(s):Lithgow, Jana K.
Director of Research:Zamani-Gallaher, Eboni M
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Zamani-Gallaher, Eboni M
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Dugan, John; Gallaher, James; Ward Hood, Denice; Jackson, Kevin
Department / Program:Educ Policy, Orgzn & Leadrshp
Discipline:Educ Policy, Orgzn & Leadrshp
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):professional fraternities
student involvement
student organizations
fraternal organizations
undergraduate business students
Abstract:Fraternal organizations have existed on campus since the founding of Phi Beta Kappa in 1776 (Baird, 1991; DeSantis, 2007; Phi Beta Kappa, n.d.; Thelin, 2011; Torbenson, 2005, 2009). Empirical evidence shows that membership brings added value to an undergraduate student experience (Biddix et al., 2014; G. D. Kuh & Lyons, 1990). However, there is also scholarship indicating that fraternal organizations often emphasize socializing over academics while their members participate in overt racism, sexism, and exclusivity (Brubacher & Rudy, 1976; Maisel, 1990). This study examined undergraduate business student access and status using Astin’s theory of student involvement (A. W. Astin, 1984) and Bourdieu’s concept of habitus and theory of social reproduction (Bourdieu, 1977). Using a phenomenological approach, the study was conducted within the Gies College of Business at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. This study identified aspects of the student experience, including professional development, student involvement, and status, that were influenced by professional business fraternity membership. Furthermore, this study revealed the influence of access and support on undergraduate business students’ experiences. These findings suggest that business fraternities play a significant role in the undergraduate student experience within highly selective business schools. Implications for theory and research include disrupting social reproduction on college campuses, while implications for policy and practice highlight opportunities within student services, diversity and inclusion, oversight, and collaborative practices.
Issue Date:2021-04-01
Rights Information:Copyright 2021 Jana Lithgow
Date Available in IDEALS:2021-09-17
Date Deposited:2021-05

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