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Searching for knowledge in the belly of the beast: diversity, social equity and the African graduate student mother’s experience in US higher education

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Title: Searching for knowledge in the belly of the beast: diversity, social equity and the African graduate student mother’s experience in US higher education
Author(s): Lobnibe, Jane-Frances Y.
Director of Research: Dhillon, Pradeep A.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s): Dhillon, Pradeep A.
Doctoral Committee Member(s): Trent, William; Peters, Michael A.; Summerfield, Gale
Department / Program: Educ Policy, Orgzn & Leadrshp
Discipline: Educational Policy Studies
Degree Granting Institution: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Degree: Ph.D.
Genre: Dissertation
Subject(s): Diversity Internationalization Marginalization.
Abstract: Diversity has become a buzz word in public discourse and in educational circles. Higher education institutions in the US have increasingly used this word as a cornerstone of their mission statements and have made increasing efforts to attract students from different backgrounds. As part of the increase in diversity efforts among US colleges, is a significant rise in the number of international students. Attracting international students has become a priority for U.S. universities regardless of size or location. This study examines the intersection between the structure of American educational environment and the blended identities of African Graduate Student Mothers. Within the context of contemporary diversity efforts in US educational institutions, this study examines both the structural environments and the socio-cultural constructs that affect the experiences of African graduate student mothers. Based on a qualitative research interview design, a total of nineteen African graduate student mothers at a Mid-Western University in the US were interviewed individually and in groups over a six weeks period. Results from this study show that apart from the difficult and often dehumanizing treatment African student mothers endure from immigration and consular officials in their various countries and ports of entry, they often find themselves at the margins of their various programs and departments with very little support if any. This is because most of them enroll into graduate programs after arriving as dependants of their spouses; a process that does not allow them to negotiate for departmental commitments and support prior to their arrival. Not only do these women face racial discrimination from white professors, staff and fellow students, but they also experience discrimination and hostilities from African Americans and other minority groups who see them as threats to the limited resources that are often set aside for minority groups in such institutions.
Issue Date: 2011-08-26
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2142/26360
Rights Information: © 2011 Jane-Frances Lobnibe
Date Available in IDEALS: 2013-08-27
Date Deposited: 2011-08
 

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