Working through the experiences of first-generation students of color, university mission, intersectionality, and post-subjectivity

International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education / June 2020

This qualitative study investigates how first-generation undergraduate students of Color at a historically white institution in the U.S. make sense of and process the university’s mission, especially in relation to the theoretical frameworks of intersectionality and post-subjectivity. U.S. universities are often structured on market-driven ideologies. They do not necessarily deeply take into account the experiences of their first-generation students of Color to the extent that could be observed in the institution’s mission and goals. In this paper, the researchers interacted with data while thinking with theory, philosophy, and concept as a method. Through these interactions, they gained insights about the lived experiences of first-generation undergraduate students of Color and how they perceive themselves to either be represented or not, within their institution’s mission. Studies like this are needed because an institution’s mission communicates central philosophies to stakeholders, and a clear mission statement is warranted to ensure that first-generation students of Color feel a sense of belongingness and affinity to their campuses. The researchers also offer implications for future research and practice.