Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Dr. Richard W. Malott

Second Advisor

Dr. Jack Michael

Third Advisor

Dr. Dale Brethower


Attrition of high-risk, black college students has been a perpetual problem faced by colleges and universities. The importance of not only attending college, but actually receiving a degree has substantially greater cultural, educational, societal, and financial implications for black people than for whites. Also, because of shifting demographics, the relatively high attrition rates of black students will have an even greater impact on colleges and universities in upcoming years.

A review of the literature indicates that the origins of this problem are most directly related to academic deficiencies, poor motivation, and inadequate time management and self-management. While there exist numerous efforts designed to affect academic and motivational deficiencies, relatively few efforts have attempted to directly address the problems of time management in an on-going manner. Two preliminary studies offer some background with respect to this area. The purpose of the present study was to evaluate the impact of a study management course on the academic performance of high-risk, black college freshmen admitted to Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, on academic probation through the Martin Luther King Program. The Study Management course was designed to provide behavioral consequences for the students' study behavior more immediately than is normally the case. Participants in the study management course met weekly with upper-class students to plan and review academic assignments, attended a study center for a minimum of eight hours per week, and received regular progress reports from course instructors. Although the students generally evaluated the course very positively, the procedures did not generate statistically significant differences between semester grade-point-averages at the.05 level.

Several recommendations were provided for improving the study management course, and more generally, decreasing the attrition of high-risk, black college students. These recommendations included (a) increasing exposure to academic skill strengthening activities; (b) providing students with additional training in study skills and strategies; (c) instituting a more detailed and quantitative, on-going evaluation of students' progress along relevant academic dimensions; and (d) providing a means by which high-risk students will be required to participate in such activities, as well as meaningful differential consequences for compliance and non-compliance.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access