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Date of Award

Spring 6-1-2019

Author Requested Restriction

Open Access (no restriction)

Work Type

Dissertation in Practice

Degree Name

Doctor of Educational Leadership (EdD)


Educational Leadership


As the nation continues to strive for excellence in higher education at home and abroad, baccalaureate degree attainment remains a steady and consistent goal. Public community and technical colleges play a vital role in achieving this goal by offering applied baccalaureate programs at two-year institutions. Despite Washington State being a national leader in applied baccalaureate programs, disparities in enrollment and completion for minoritized women exist. These disparities are particularly prominent for African American women. The purpose of this mixed methods study was to explore the enrollment considerations, challenges faced, and student support services utilized by African American women in applied baccalaureate programs in Washington State. Data were evaluated with a Critical Race Theory lens to identify systemic barriers and potential solutions. Findings indicate that African American women in applied baccalaureate programs choose such programs because of their link to industry and future career opportunities. Financial concerns, limited access to student services and programs, and faculty’s limited knowledge of instructional design and cultural responsiveness challenged participants after initial enrollment. Recommendations include 1) providing instructional design and cultural responsiveness training for faculty, 2) aligning student support services and programs with applied baccalaureate program schedules, 3) creating new services and programs that are specific to applied baccalaureate student needs, and 4) assessing institutional capacity on a broad level to identify resource needs and funding gaps.