A Social Change Conflict Theory Analysis Of The Perceived Effects Of Desegregation On Blacks In Public Higher Education In The Adams States (integration, Access, Affirmative Action)

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Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


Higher Education


The purpose of this study was to determine the perceived effects of desegregation on blacks in public higher education and to utilize social change conflict theory to analyze and explain the perceptions.The instrument developed for this study solicited perceptions about the effects of desegregation on black students, black educators, and public black institutions. Top-level administrators at 16 black and 18 white land-grant institutions in the 19 states under court order to desegregate were surveyed. Eighty-five of the 102 administrators surveyed responded for an 83% return. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics and chi-square.Elite interviews were conducted with researchers at two organizations involved in the study of black higher education. Data from the interviews were summarized and used to support the survey findings.Findings. (1) Administrators perceived that desegregation had affected: the academic and psychosocial experiences of black students, the work experiences and opportunities of black educators, and the survival potential of the public black colleges. (2) Significant differences were found between the perceptions of administrators at public black institutions and administrators at public white institutions in regard to the effects of desegregation on blacks. (3) No significant difference was found among the perceptions of chief executive officers, chief academic affairs officers, and chief student affairs officers in regard to the effects of desegregation on blacks.Conclusions. (1) Blacks, viewed as a conflict theory status group, successfully waged a struggle for advantage in increased access to public white institutions. (2) Administrators in white institutions, a conflict theory quasigroup holding the positive dominance position, perceive that the process of desegregation has resulted in few changes in their institutions, and that the need for black institutions ultimately will be obviated. Hence the positive dominance position is maintained. (3) Administrators in black institutions, the quasigroup holding the negative dominance position, perceive that the process of desegregation has resulted in the erosion of the educational quality of all but a few black institutions. This group perceives that the need for black institutions will continue to exist. Continued existence is the means of emotional production for this group.


Education, Higher

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