Date of Award

Spring 5-2015

Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program

Educational Administration


Educational Leadership, Counseling, and Foundations

Major Professor



Previous research has identified spirituality (Riggins, McNeal, & Herndon, 2008) as an important component of academic success for Black college students. Other factors researched include first year/ freshmen experiences, mentorships, faculty–student engagement (Caboni and Adisu, 2004), rigorous high-school curriculums, and summer bridge programs (Palmer, Moore, Davis, Hilton, 2010). Much of the research on college student success provides a comparison between Blacks, Whites, Asians, Latinos, and Native Americans (Caboni and Adisu, 2004; Carey, 2005; Palmer, Moore, Davis, Hilton, 2010; Townsend, 2007). However, few studies deal with Black students solely, and the influence of spirituality on the academic success within that one population.

The lack of existing research on the relationship between spirituality and Black students’ college success, warrants a study that examines the possible ways in which spirituality might influence the academics of Black students (Hill, 2009). This grounded theory investigation examined the relationship between spirituality and the academic success among fifteen Black college students attending three Historically Black Colleges and Universities in Louisiana. Through depth interviews and analysis of resulting transcripts, it was found that spirituality plays a very important, yet indirect role in the academic successes of Black college students attending HBCUs. Three themes emerged: (1) Spirituality and Enduring Life’s Obstacles, (2) Spirituality as an Influence on Personal Transformation, and (3) the Academic Impact of Spirituality. This study helps to highlight a possible resolution to the post-secondary degree disparity seen between Blacks and Whites.


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