Making Sense of Mattering: A Phenomenological Study of Black Deaf College Students and Academic Success
The experience of mattering has received insufficient attention in higher education, particularly as it relates to the academic success of marginalized groups such as Black d/Deaf college students. Mattering is understood as the extent to which an individual feels important or significant to the community or people around them. Research on the persistence of students in higher education has investigated a wide host of competing and intersecting factors, with minimal attention paid to the concept of mattering and its impact on academic success. The purpose of this proposed study is to investigate how Black d/Deaf students make sense of their experiences of mattering to others, and how that experience influences their academic success. Using a phenomenological research design, the study will explore the lived experiences of five Black d/Deaf college students at Gallaudet University, a university dedicated to the educational needs of the d/Deaf and hard of hearing community. It is anticipated that the results of this study may offer further insight into the academic and social-emotional needs of these students. In addition, this research may provide further guidance for faculty training and campus-based programming focused on supporting these students in their academic success.