Year: 
2021
Project Leader: 
Phillip A. Thompson and Bruce Ross
Department/Program: 
Family Sciences
Funding Received: 
$779

This project will be conducted on the campus of the University of Kentucky, with the sample taken from the student population of the College of Agriculture, Food, and Environment. All undergraduate African American students enrolled in this college will have the opportunity to participate, with a goal to begin to identify the actual and perceived stressors of African American students on UK’s campus.

According to UK’s enrollment and demographic website (2020), during the 2019 Fall academic year at the University of Kentucky, over 170 African American students were enrolled in the College of Agriculture, Food, and Environment.  There is a need to address the stressors these students might be facing.  Research indicates African American students usually face a greater number of stressors than any other racial group on college and university campuses (Negga, Applewhite, & Livingston, 2007).  As Pariat, Rynjah, Joplin, Kharjana (2014) states, stress factors can lead to several physical and mental complications; which might explain the steady average yearly decrease of undergraduate African American student enrollment within the College of Agriculture, Food, and Environment here at the University of Kentucky since the Spring semester of 2017.  Nationally, there is still a gender and racial gap among the student population in colleges and universities within the United States (Garibaldi, 2014).   Additionally, the African American student population among high schools, colleges and universities account for less than thirty percent of all students. For this project, data will be gathered through conducting several semi-structured interview focus groups.  Focus groups consisting of four groups of six individuals will be formulated. Each group will be asked different questions, and each participant will be allowed to express her or his own responses to the series of questions. After the interviews are conducted, recorded, and transcribed, the data will be analyzed by several reviewers. As compensation, each participant will be given a $20 gift card.  After identifying these stressors, as a preliminary project, plans are to conduct further studies that will incorporate the findings of the current study into university programming to attempt to minimize the stressors experienced by African American students on the University of Kentucky’s campus, and/or to help them to be better able to cope with them. To achieve the main objective, it is forecasted that this project will seek to collaborate with several departments on UK’s campus such as, but are not limited to the Department of Minority Affairs, the Division of Student and Academic Life, the Academic Enrichment Department, the Bias Incident Support Department, and the Counseling Center.