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Are They Truly Divine? A Grounded Theory of the Influences of Black Greek-Lettered Organizations on the Persistence of African Americans at Predominantly White Institutions
  • Donald Mitchell, Jr., University of Minnesota - Twin Cities
This study explored the influences of Black Greek-lettered organizations (BGLOs) on the persistence of African Americans at predominantly White institutions (PWIs). To investigate the relationships, emphasis was placed on social capital that may be gained through BGLO involvement. Nan Lin‟s (1999) network theory of social capital was used as the theoretical framework for the study. The theory highlights the idea that social capital is embedded in resources gained though social networks. Grounded theory – a qualitative research approach – was used in the study. Focus groups were conducted with four BGLOs, and a series of twenty-four one-on-one interviews were conducted with eight interview participants at a PWI in the Northeast. The study revealed that (1) relationships/connections, (2) increased social lives, (3) gaining community and administrative experiences, (4) academic monitoring, and (5) leadership development, which were all framed as “returns,” influenced persistence in different ways. Additionally, women found gender to be important in establishing social networks in BGLOs, whereas men de-emphasized the role of gender in their experiences. The study closes with discussion of the findings and implications for research and practice.
  • African Americans,
  • Black Greek-lettered organizations,
  • Persistence
Publication Date
Citation Information
Mitchell, D., Jr. (2012). Are they truly divine?: A grounded theory of the influences of Black Greeklettered organizations on the persistence of African Americans at predominantly White institutions (Doctoral dissertation). Available from ProQuest Dissertation and Theses database. (UMI No. 3498533).