Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

First Advisor

Natasha N. Croom


Academic journals serve as a discipline’s official discourse reflecting what has been deemed important in that discipline at a specific point in time. For the better part of 20 years, discourses in the field of student affairs have constructed Black men as a population in need of specific attention. The proliferation of scholarship on Black men and a surface examination of quantitative data have left many with the impression that Black women students are succeeding.

This study problematizes the assumptions regarding the status of Black undergraduate women by examining how the population is discursively represented in higher education journals and how those representations impact discourses of student affairs practice. To answer these questions, the study uses critical discourse analysis (CDA) to examine the use of textual silences to construct a narrative of the experiences of Black undergraduate women. This approach centers the role of language in the process of social practices and the maintenance and reproduction of societal power imbalances (Gavey, 1989).

The analysis of data in this study resulted in three major themes describing discourses of Black undergraduate women: (1) persistence in the face of adversity, (2) preeminence of interdependent relationships, and (3) Black women as race plus gender. Broad implications from this study directly relate to the need for more varied, nuanced, and intersectional literature addressing the needs of Black undergraduate women. Furthermore, there is a call for student affairs practitioners to critically engage with academic journals as they seek to inform their practice and journal producers to consider the diversity of perspective and encourage innovation in the review process.


Copyright Owner

Kimberly Deion Everett



File Format


File Size

134 pages