Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Executive Leadership

First Supervisor

Jerry Willis

Second Supervisor

Janice Kelly


The purpose of this dissertation was to evaluate minority access throughout the admissions processes at the Silberman School of Social Work (SSSW) at Hunter College. In addition, the study determined what factors or barriers prevent minority applicant from applying, submitting, and completing their applications to the School of Social Work. The methodology used for this research was a participatory action research design that was adapted to accommodate and take advantage of the unique characteristics of American higher education. PAR is “grounded in a qualitative research paradigm whose purpose is to gain greater clarity and understating of a question, problem, or issue” (Stringer, 2007, p. 19). A focus group including current students and faculty developed a survey that was sent to 705 self-identified minority applicants the program from fall 2009 to fall 2011. There were 178 responses to the survey, and 23 inquiries to participating in a follow up focus group to discuss their admissions application experience. The results of the survey and focus groups indicated that minority applicants feel that the lack of communication, financial support, and lack of scheduling flexibility were barriers that prevented them from completing their applications. The survey and focus group members offered recommendations for the program. They indicated offering specialized information sessions on scholarships and financial planning, as well as providing more information at each stage of the application process could help increase minority application completion.

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