Book by Alan Seidman
Review by Anita L. Carter
University Advising Center
Wayne State University
It is a well-known fact that more and more minority students are entering our institutions of higher education. What is not as well established is why graduation rates continue to be lower for African-American and Latino/a students. This book showcases some of the best articles that have appeared in the Journal of College Student Retention: Research, Theory & Practice.
The book is well-organized with sections related to each minority population, as well as a section that offers an institutional perspective. The studies, selected by a group of highly-respected experts from articles published over the span of issues since 1999, are a good representation of articles regarding the subject. The studies within this book highlight factors, both cultural and institutional, that contribute to the attrition of minority students. Each minority group presents a different set of cultural realities that impact their persistence to the degree. It is important, then, for academic advisors to be aware of these cultural realities if we are to effectively work with these students and advocate for them within the institution.
Although there is only one article that addresses the specific issues of Native Americans, the discussion is enlightening and the conclusion very meaningful and comprehensive. I was impressed by the inclusion of a study on biracial students, who present their own set of issues that can be different from those of the two groups from which they come. These students often don’t fit in with any racial group on campus and experience perceived diversity very differently. The recommendations offered were specific and made sense.
The section on Asian students identifies differing characteristics between Asian and Asian Pacific student that affect persistence, with Asian Pacific students experiencing mush lower rates of persistence. This is important and enlightening information for those of us who don’t think about sub-sets of students within minority groups.
The strength of this book is its organization into distinct chapters by minority group; this lends itself well to focusing on a particular group at a time. There is no need to feel overwhelmed by the comprehensive nature of the book when it is so easy to digest a piece at a time. Even a busy advisor could digest the entire book over a period of time, without difficulty. I would highly recommend this book as a great resource. It offers the benefits of research, while being practical enough to offer workable recommendations that are given in understandable language.
Minority Student Retention-The Best of the Journal of College Student Retention: Research, Theory & Practice (2007) Book by Alan Seidman. Review by Anita L. Carter. Amityville, NY: Baywood Publishing Company, 320 pp., $49.00 (hardback), ISBN # 978-0-89503-331-4