Paris D. Wicker

Ph.D. Candidate

Curriculum vitae

Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis

University of Wisconsin- Madison

“Who Gets to be Well”? A Social and Spatial Network Analysis of Well-Being for Black and Indigenous College Students: A Mixed-Methods Study (Dissertation)

Historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and Tribal colleges and universities (TCUs) produce alumni with higher well-being than their counterparts who attended predominantly White institutions (Gallup, 2019). TCU Indigenous alumni are nearly two times more likely than peers to thrive in all elements of well-being (Gallup, 2019). Likewise, Black HBCU graduates score higher on all levels of well-being (i.e., purpose, social, financial, community, physical) than non-HBCU Black graduates (Gallup, 2015). While previous scholarship suggests factors such as campus climate and faculty interactions play a role (Quaye & Harper, 2015), understudied is how the structure and composition of relationships and networks shape well-being by institution type. Utilizing an integrative mixed-methods design and guided by the theoretical frameworks of racialized organizations and relationality, this research asks: (1) How do Black and Indigenous college students characterize and experience well-being on campus? (2) What type of relationships, practices, and spaces on campus foster well-being for Black and Indigenous students? and (3) What institutional differences, if any, exist between networks and relationships that contribute to greater well-being for Black and Indigenous students? Findings from meso-level social network analysis data (25 qualitative interviews merged with quantitative survey data) will be used to create well-being network topologies and offer new methodological insights on the conditions and consequences of well-being in higher education from sociological, relational, and network perspectives, along with recommendations for policy and practice to improve current and future student experiences and outcomes.