Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

First Advisor

Larry H. Ebbers


The purpose of this qualitative case study was to provide research on and voice to African American alumni who are members of the Iowa State University (ISU) Alumni Association. Two fundamental questions guided this research study:

1. Why do Iowa State University African American graduates join the ISU Alumni Association?

2. How did their experiences at Iowa State University influence their decision to join the ISU Alumni Association?

Five African American alumni of ISU, who had been ISU undergraduate students and were now current dues-paying members of the ISU Alumni Association, participated in this study. They were interviewed individually to learn about how they viewed their collegiate experiences at ISU, what they had learned about themselves and the institution, and how they viewed their relationship with the university. This information, along with observations I made during the interviews, was utilized to understand how these study participants constructed meaning about their alumni association membership decision and why ISU's African American alumni join the ISU Alumni Association.

Employing a constructivist framework, the study data were first analyzed for each alumnus/alumna and presented as an individual case study. The data were next reanalyzed collectively to make interpretations about the shared reasons these five African American alumni joined the ISU Alumni Association and the shared experiences that influenced their decision to become ISU Alumni Association members.

The two themes that emerged regarding the first research question show these ISU African American alumni joined the ISU Alumni Association were: (a) receiving value from their ISU degrees and (b) maintaining connections after receiving their degrees from ISU. In response to the second research question regarding how the study participants' experiences at ISU influenced their decision to join the ISU Alumni Association, the findings of the study led to two additional themes, as follows: (a) feeling academically supported while enrolled at ISU and (b) finding social engagement while enrolled at ISU. In addition, the study provided some insight into the culture that existed at ISU for African American students.


Copyright Owner

Jeffery W. Johnson



File Format


File Size

148 pages