Date of Award

Winter 2011

Degree Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Education PhD, Joint with San Diego State University


School of Educational Studies

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Gail Thompson

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Rafaela Santa Cruz

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Linda Perkins

Terms of Use & License Information

Terms of Use for work posted in Scholarship@Claremont.

Rights Information

© 2011 Bonnie Lynn Reddick


This study uses mixed methods to examine the experiences of African American women in doctoral programs. 102 African American women completed an on-line survey, and twenty women participated in one-on-one interviews. As an African American female, the researcher is interested in comparing the experiences of African American women: critiquing, analyzing and interpreting similarities and points of divergence in their experiences, and articulating stories of triumph and struggle, using a narrative style. This study confirms that Black women have experienced success in doctoral programs. Some of the participants had meaningful and supportive mentors. They have had limited exposure to Black faculty and/or scholarship. The participants in this study illuminate the dynamics inherent in their relationships with their dissertation committee members, particularly the chairs of their respective committees. In addition, this study explores the discordant relationship between Black female graduate students and Black female dissertation committee members. A majority of the participants were unfamiliar with the term Afrocentricity. They did not fathom that Afrocentricity could be used as a methodological or theoretical framework. All the participants exhibited at least one tenet of Afrocentricity. They are testimonies of the veracity of the Sankofian principles of looking back, reclaiming, and retelling their collective stories. These stories serve as inspiration for some and models of commitment for others.