Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


School of Education


Over the past two decades, government agencies and the higher education community have invested greatly in preparing undergraduate McNair Program participants for doctoral study. The expectation has been that most will complete doctoral degrees and enter into careers in college teaching and research. However, current data show that relatively few participants of color enter into the professoriate (McCoy, et al, 2008). The purpose of this qualitative study is to gather the stories of McNair Program alumni of color who succeeded in college and graduate study and went on to pursue faculty careers.

The review of the literature indicated that studies of the McNair Program are largely national program evaluation reports. Many studies focus on participant and graduate alumni experiences but only one study examines McNair Program alumni as faculty. The influence of undergraduate research on minority graduate enrollment and career choice is well cited in the higher education literature. The literature related to the preparation of faculty of color indicates that aspirations, socialization, and mentoring are important factors and are facilitated by other faculty. However, experience of McNair Program alumni as faculty is absent from the higher education literature.

A phenomenological methodological approach was used for this study. Ten to 12 minority faculty members participated in face-to-face interviews lasting 90 minutes on average. Participants were McNair Program alumni who earned doctoral degrees and were employed as full-time faculty members. A thematic analysis of interview data was conducted and categorized by the interview and research questions. The significance of this study is its promise to extend an understanding of the role that the McNair Program served in preparing minority students for the professoriate. The findings of this study show that the McNair program significantly influenced a) decision to purse graduate study; b) enrollment in graduate study; and c) success in their doctoral studies. The McNair program indirectly influenced the decision to pursue a faculty career. A small sample size and potential bias of the researcher due to experience with the program limited the findings of this study.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.