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Date of Award

Spring 6-13-2019

Author Requested Restriction

Open Access (no restriction)

Work Type

Dissertation in Practice

Degree Name

Doctor of Educational Leadership (EdD)


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Christopher B. Knaus

Second Advisor

Tracy Harachi

Third Advisor

Steven Oliver


Understanding the Impacts of Campus Racial Climate on Southeast Asian College Students’ Experiences

Purpose: The oversimplified portrayal of Asian American students as a homogenous, high achieving group contributes to racial prejudice and an unwelcoming academic environment for Southeast Asian college students. Assumptions about Asian American success illustrates a need to better understand the various Asian American ethnic populations that have been in the U.S. for over 150 years.

Method: Study participants (N=24) were recruited to participate in in-person individual interviews and focus groups. Thematic analysis, critical race theory, and Yosso’s (2005) community cultural wealth theory were applied to analyze participants’ navigational experiences in hostile campus racial climates.

Findings: The findings from this study indicate some of the challenges participants experienced related to racism and other forms of marginalization as well as how participants used forms of community cultural wealth such as social, navigational, and journey capital to navigate these challenges. Two major themes of how students experienced racism were identified from the data: (a) academic experiences with racism and (b) peer experiences with racism.

Discussion and Implications: Southeast Asian college students are in need of culturally affirming and encouraging academic and social spaces to fully participate in educational activities. Practitioners who seek to support this population would benefit from learning about the diverse histories, languages, religions, and ethnic identities of Southeast Asian student populations. Future research would benefit from a nuanced approach of further examining ethnic subgroups as well as linguistical differences among U.S. born and non-U.S. born Southeast Asian populations.