Natalia Davila


This poster reflects research conducted as part of a course project designed to give students experience in the research process. Course: EDU 991



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Higher educational institutions are challenged to improve graduation rates and are aggressively making degree completion a priority, thus, the issue of retaining underrepresented students becomes specifically acute and must be addressed. Examining the administration and staff’s perspective on supporting BIPOC students in a predominantly white institution (PWI) is essential to understanding, developing, and implementing effective strategies at universities and increasing graduation rates among minority students. Supportive practices are vital for providing these students with an opportunity to overcome academic struggles and eliminate challenges throughout the educational process. The purpose of this research is to determine the challenges preventing minority students from college graduation and identify the best approaches to support, prepare, and retain students from historically underrepresented groups within PWI’s. To retain and graduate these groups of students, the institution must ensure they are supported and prepared to succeed. This idea involves the university holistically evaluating the implications of race and culture from the effects of history, societal perceptions, and inadequate preparation on underrepresented students in the context of the university. The role of administration and staff was identified as critical to designing and executing plans to retain underrepresented students and support diversity along with associated benefits to the students' academic performance. The positive outcomes of diversity in the classroom are often highlighted by this research, which emphasizes the need for creating ethnically and culturally diverse educational environments. Hence, obtaining feedback and examining the supportive practices to foster minority student groups' retention from the perspective of faculty and administration can provide valuable insight and identify aspects for further, larger-scale research. Connection, engagement, and learning environment are deemed as critical factors of supporting minority students and increasing retention and graduation rates from the perspective of the faculty, administrative staff, and leadership of the PWI.

Publication Date


Project Designation

Course Project

Primary Advisor

Matthew A. Witenstein

Primary Advisor's Department

Educational Administration


Stander Symposium project, School of Education and Health Sciences

United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

Reduced Inequalities; Quality Education

Upward Mobility: Serving the Needs of Underrepresented Minority Students at a Predominantly White Institution, Perspectives of Administration and Staff