The Lived Experiences of Muslim Students' Academic Achievement Despite Islamophobia: A Phenomenological Study

The Lived Experiences of Muslim Students' Academic Achievement Despite Islamophobia: A Phenomenological Study

Author: 
Diana Hart
Program of study: 
Ed.D.
Abstract: 
Prior to September 11, 2001 (9/11) Muslim students traveled to the United States easily like other international students. Following 9/11, Muslim students from some Middle Eastern countries and parts of Africa, have been monitored by local police, immigration, and the FBI more often than other foreign students. Part of the reason students are monitored differently is because of some Americans’ irrational fear of Muslim people (Islamophobia) that has been established through the negative images about terrorism and radical Islam that the media created. This qualitative, phenomenological study explored the lived experience of Muslim students matriculating universities in the United States after 9/11 and whether Islamophobia had a bearing on their persistence toward academic achievement. The students’ perceptions resulted in seven final themes that included: (a) Fitting into American culture; (b) Tug between two cultures; (c) Prayer; (d) American education vs Middle Eastern education ; (e) Friends, family, future goals; (f) American and Islamic mindset/terrorism, and (g) Islamophobia. The results from the study indicated a need for more understanding of Muslim students in academia. Recommendations for future research included research on immigrants attending universities, Muslims working in leadership on women working in academia, researching a larger student population, and researching faculty working with Muslim student.
Dedication: 
I dedicate this research to my spouse Lynne who has been my constant encourager as I have gone through this process. I also dedicate this research to the Muslim students who have helped me find other students and who actually took part in the research: May Allah continue to bless you on your journey.
Acknowledgements: 
I would like to acknowledge Dr. Deborah Schaff-Johnson for all her dedication to helping me with this research and this proposal in the first part of my journey. She taught me the process and more about my design in a way that worked well for me; unfortunately she passed from illness before she could see me finish the journey. I want to also acknowledge Dr. Amy Priess who became interim mentor to help me keep going on the second part of my journey. I would also like to thank Dr. Susanne Beier for helping me complete the QRM process. Finally, I thank Dr. Nancy Greer-Williams for helping me complete the final parts of my doctoral journey with all of her encouragement, wisdom, and assistance. I also thank Dr. Greer-Williams’ for taking me to the end of the journey. Dr. Greer-Williams has a knowledge of phenomenology that was invaluable to my progress through the reviews and to my completion. I want to acknowledge Dr. Robin Chambers and Dr. Ronald Leach for sticking with me throughout the dissertation process with the myriad of changes we have gone through and for serving as my other committee members. Your help was greatly appreciated. I also acknowledge my friends Dr. Camille Allen, Dr. Rachelle Disbennett-Lee, and Dr. Linda Williams, who helped me to start on this journey and continued to encourage me throughout the process. Finally, I would like to acknowledge all of the reference librarians at Regis University who helped me when I was stuck on keywords, and who have continued to help me throughout this process. You ladies and gents are awesome!