Ed.D. Dissertations

Date of Award

Spring 4-25-2020

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


College of Education



Degree Name

Doctorate of Education, Ed.D.

Faculty Chair

Floralba A. Marrero, Ed.D.

Content Specialist

Gwendolyn Dooley, Ed.D.

Content Reader

Angelo Letizia, Ph.D.


Historically Black College and University (HBCU), mental health, stress, anxiety, depression, Institution of Higher Education (IHE), Predominantly White Institution (PWI), mental health counseling services and programs, college counseling services and programs, African American college students


Research shows students’ use of counseling programs and services to address the mental health needs of their student body on HBCU campuses are underdocumented. This qualitative descriptive single case study was developed to provide substantiated conclusions on this use that can be added to the current literature. The purpose of this study was to investigate participants’ perceptions on the use of these services, and the strategies used to influence the use of these services, on one HBCU campus. This study was guided by two research questions: (a) What are the perceptions of the counseling center staff, faculty, and students of the use of counseling center programs and services to address the mental health needs of its student body? (b) What are perceptions of the strategies to influence participation in the counseling center services and programs? Purposeful sampling and snowball sampling were used to recruit 16 students, 2 faculty members, and 3 counseling center staff for the study. Data was collected via qualitative documents, qualitative interviews, and field notes. The data was analyzed using in vivo, descriptive, and constant-comparison coding. The key findings of the study revealed two conclusions: (a) the campus counseling center offers programs and services to meet the mental health needs of its student body, but those services and programs are severely underused by the students and (b) the strategies used to influence participation of these services and programs need improvement. Conclusions are discussed in the context of the social ecological systems theory.

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