When Angel Nathan considered which school to attend to earn a doctorate, she said Indiana University stood out because of its history of providing higher education opportunities to Black students.
This semester, Nathan is one of eight Black female doctoral students — out of 16 students total — in the IU School of Education’s Higher Education and Student Affairs program who are earning either a Ph.D. or an Ed.D. from IU Bloomington.
The doctoral program prepares students to work as administrators and scholar-practitioners in colleges and universities worldwide. Roots of the program’s development date to the 1920s, and degrees in student affairs have been awarded since the 1950s.
“Historically, HESA has had a strong tradition of enrolling and graduating Black doctoral students who have gone on to be prominent faculty and administrative leaders in higher education,” said Lucy LePeau, the Higher Education and Student Affairs doctoral program coordinator.
She said this group of graduating students follows the legacy of previous Black female graduates from the program, including the “Great Eight” in 2016.
A common thread among this year’s graduates is that their dissertations have focused on themes of racial injustice, race and education, cultural awareness, and disenfranchisement.
“The scholars are studying pressing issues in education and for society,” LeBeau said. “These eight Black women scholars’ identities and lived experiences meaningfully influence how they frame their studies. They are using their dissertation research from multiple methodological approaches to disrupt inequities in education and to promote actionable change.”