Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Education (Ed.D.)


Administrative and Instructional Leadership

First Advisor

Joan Birringer-Haig

Second Advisor

Catherine DiMartino

Third Advisor

Ceceilia Parnther


Some community colleges lack the socioemotional support required to help underprepared students grow into autonomous, college-ready learners (Callahan, 2004; Capt et al., 2014). Black and Latinx students could benefit from the inclusion of positive, emotionally supportive programming that acknowledges their personhood, cultural capital acquisition, and potential educational trauma caused by years of negative school experiences and emotions. The current phenomenological study explored the emotion-based perceptions of eight Black and Latinx students’ experiences in developmental education classes at two urban community colleges. The central research question asked, “How do Black and Latinx community college students perceive and emotionally respond to developmental education experiences with educators?” The researcher utilized a theoretical framework comprised of Critical Theory with a focus on emotions, which provided a deeper understanding of the impact of students’ perceptions. The most prevalent themes in the study demonstrated the impact of individualizing the academic experience, the benefits of motivating students, the effect of the presence of deficit of thinking, and the use of emotional awareness from developmental education students. By examining the students’ perceptions of their experiences, the results of this study provided commonalities that students share in their emotional responses that can inform further research and policy supporting students in developmental education classes.