Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Counselor Education and Supervision (PhD)

Degree Level



Rehabilitation, Human Resources and Communication Disorders


Kristin K. Higgins

Committee Member


Second Committee Member

Erin Popejoy

Third Committee Member

Paul Blisard


Belonging, Campus Racial Climate, Counselor Education, DEI, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Predominately White Institutions


Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) dialogues are raging across campuses throughout the U.S. with specific focus on the needs of Black student populations in the aftermath of the George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbury murders. However, if the supportive spirit of the DEI initiatives is undermined by a hostile campus climate and local community, it may negatively impact the learning environment isolating the target population, while also effecting their potential for successful completion of their programs. The current qualitative study aims to explore the perceptions of belonging expressed by Black graduate students enrolled in Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) accredited counseling programs in the North Atlantic region (as designated by the Association for Counselor Education and Supervision (ACES). Through individual semi-structured interviews with participants, the researcher seeks to gain a deeper understanding of whether Black students are actively seeking belonging within their programs and how their impressions of belonging are developed when contrasted with the racial climate present and the history of their respective programs at selected North Atlantic predominately white institutions (PWIs). It is also prudent to consider the evaluative properties of this data regarding the efficacy of the DEI interventions within the identified academic spaces. While this data may later inform the recruitment and program development practices of university stakeholders and partners interested in the efficacy of diversity, equity and inclusion strategies, this research initiative also intends to amplify the experiences of Black counseling students in ways that will be enriching for future students of color and individuals with other marginalized identities. Key words: belonging, DEI, campus racial climate, predominately white institutions.