Graduation Semester and Year

Spring 2024



Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies


Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

First Advisor

Dr. Ericka Roland

Second Advisor

Dr. María Yareli Delgado

Third Advisor

Dr. Yi Leaf Zhang


The existing literature lacks sufficient exploration of Black women’s experiences of a sense of belonging in institutional-sponsored programs centered around their Black and Woman identities at community colleges. Using a collective case study qualitative methodology, the purpose of this study was to understand Black women's experiences of a sense of belonging in institutional-sponsored initiative programs centered around their Black and woman identities at community colleges. The research question guiding this study is: How do Black women experience a sense of belonging in initiative programs centered around their Black and woman identities at community colleges? And to what extent? The conceptual framework of Black Feminist Thought (BFT) and Sense of Belonging (SOB) guided the data analysis for this study. There were three key findings: (1) Academic Support and Career Development, (2) Relationships, and (3) Self-Confidence and Personal Development. These findings illustrate that Black woman attending community colleges benefit from participating in institutional-sponsored programs, mirroring the experiences of their counterparts in four-year universities. By shedding light on the experiences of Black women in community colleges, this study aims to rectify their historical oversight.


Black women, community college, institutional-sponsored initiative programs, affinity group


Higher Education


Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.



Thank you, Lord, for carrying me through this process. This has been by far one of the hardest challenges, yet You kept me. I am so grateful.

For my original WIN girls, this is for you. Thank you for showing me that Black women in community colleges need ISPs and deserve the attention. You all changed my life and perspective on the needs of Black women and pushed me to start this degree because I was pushing you all to do your best.

To my committee, Drs. Ericka Roland, María Delgado, and Yi Leaf Zhang, thank you so much for your assistance and guidance.

To my writing friends (Seth, James, and Elizabeth), Thank you. The amount of time that we have spent in coffee shops over the past two years is unreal. Thank you for the accountability, laughs, and trips through the disposal.

To my sister friend, Dr. Kerry Green, thank you for being my cheerleader, sounding board, and so much more.

Dr. Ke’Ana Bradley, thank you for pushing me to start this degree and applauding me as I cross the line.

To my family and friends, thank you for the grace that you have extended over the last four years. I have appreciated your prayers, funds for coffee and lunch, and texts just to say hi. I do not think people realize how much time your loved ones miss spending with their student because of the time commitment. I appreciate you all for hanging in there with me.

To my grandmother, Mattie Corrine Rogers, who was instrumental in integrating the Fort Smith Public School System. You made sure that education was always a priority for your family. Thank you, Mother.

To my brother, Patrick, who ensured I had a printer and additional monitor when I told him I was pursuing this degree. Thank you for believing in me and supporting me. Also, for always reminding me that Mama would be so proud.

And last but not least, for my husband, Mr. Thurston Derrick Dixon, Jr. It is wild to think that I have been enrolled in this program longer than we have been married. Thank you for your support and love. For making sure I had supplies, books, high speed internet, and anything else. For not complaining when I’m too busy trying to make my deadlines. For making sure that a beach trip was never too far off so we could relax. I look forward to being your wife and not just your wife who is working on school stuff. I cannot wait to spend time with you and our child. Love you both. Always.

Sergeant Major Marvail Lewis, Retired, thank you for believing in me and always pushing me. You always told me I could be whatever I wanted. I miss arguing with you and getting you upset. Thank you for being my number one. I would not be reaching for the stars if you did not encourage me to do so.

And last but not least, for my Mama, Janis Rogers. Thank you for all of your hard work and for making sure that I received a wonderful education. I will always remember our conversation about how you worked so hard for me to be extraordinary and not to be ordinary. This is for you.



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