Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

School Name

Annsley Frazier Thornton School of Education



Major Advisor

Dr. Donald Mitchell


This qualitative study explored and described the dating and hooking up experiences of 20 Black women students who attended private predominantly White institutions (PPWIs). Further, this study used a phenomenological approach to explore how the participants’ dating experiences influenced their thriving and sense of belonging, with particular interest in the intersections of their race and gender. Four frameworks were used to shape the study: Black feminist thought, intersectionality, sense of belonging, and the thriving concept. The following questions guided this study: (a) What are the dating experiences of Black women at PPWIs? (b) How do these experiences shape their perception of self? (c) How do dating experiences influence the thriving and sense of belonging of Black women at PPWIs? (d) How do dating experiences of Black women at PPWIs influence partner choices? and (e) How do dating experiences of Black women at PPWIs shape the perception of their university? Five central themes emerged: (a) Do they call it dating and hooking up or something else? (b) Black women understand the value of private education but…, (c) What Black women want, (d) The thing about Black women! and, (e) Men on campus expect something different. The study closes with a discussion of the findings and implications for practice and future research.