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Majority to Minority: The Adjustment of Asian American Hawaii Residents at Predominantly White Institutions

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Item Summary

Title:Majority to Minority: The Adjustment of Asian American Hawaii Residents at Predominantly White Institutions
Authors:Souza, Cheri
Asian American
cultural dissonance
Date Issued:Aug 2015
Publisher:[Honolulu] : [University of Hawaii at Manoa], [August 2015]
Abstract:Within the United States, the model minority myth has contributed to empirically unsubstantiated misconceptions about Asian American college students. Although there is considerable research on college student adjustment and its role in persistence, literature focusing on the Asian American experience is lacking. Furthermore, the experience of Asian American Hawai‘i residents is nearly nonexistent. This dissertation used qualitative research methods to design and conduct a phenomenological study that examined the adjustment experience of Asian American Hawai‘i residents attending predominantly White institutions (PWIs) in the Northeast United States. Through semi-structured interviews, ten students shared their experiences, in particular how their home culture of origin affected their adjustment to their college culture of immersion. This research shares a glimpse into the worlds of ten Asian American Hawai‘i residents to help practitioners, institutions, and scholars better understand how they can create and foster supportive networks to facilitate the college adjustment process for students of color.
The Intercultural Perspective of Racial and Ethnic Minority College Student Persistence provided the theoretical framework for this study. Five themes emerged from the findings, representing the essence of the participants’ experiences adjusting to PWIs in the Northeastern United States: Cultural Dissonance, Entering the Unknown, Challenges to Identity, Geographic Isolation, and Persistence. These themes underscore the importance of valuing the cultural capital that each student brings to a college campus and provides insights into the intricacies of Asian American Hawai‘i residents’ college experience as told by the students themselves. Implications include the finding that the majority of participants felt that being from Hawai‘i had a greater effect on their adjustment than did being Asian American. The majority of participants asserted that their cultures of origin played a significant role in shaping their college experience, much more so than their ethnic identity or individual racial identities. The findings of this study reinforce the need to create more culturally responsive, inclusive, and diverse postsecondary institutions, programs, and educators. Recommendations for secondary and postsecondary educational institutions, college bound students, and future research are also discussed.
Description:Ph.D. University of Hawaii at Manoa 2015.
Includes bibliographical references.
Appears in Collections: Ph.D. - Education

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