Experiences of low income, African American adult learners who persisted through graduation at Martin University, Indianapolis, Indiana
Sixty-six African American seniors at Martin University, graduating in 2002, described the activities, programs and procedures experienced at Martin University that they judged contributed to their persistence to graduation. Often the reported experiences of the graduates were similar to those of students who dropped out of college, yet these66 persisted to completion of their degree. Also, the graduating seniors suggested policies and procedures to support persistence of current and future students.As a commuter university, many important learning experiences that supported students to graduation occurred in Martin University classrooms. Well-prepared, empathetic, and competent instructors were very important in causing graduating students to realize that the university respected them as serious and worthy students and valued them as competent and determined individuals. Graduating students valued prompt, just communications with administrators concerning instructors and computer equipment.Students stated that the faculty members, other students, administrators, and Martin University as an organization had provided them with life changing experiences, differing from their off campus lives, yet shaping and adding opportunities to their off-campus lives.Responses indicated that Martin University should follow classroom and administrative procedures that cause students to earn a sense of ownership in the university. Also, the university should provide a constant flow of communications about university convocations, policies, procedures, and about changes to academic programs.Martin University must maintain and build on the policies and practices graduating seniors have found valuable.