Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy
The college graduation rates for African-Americans, as compared to other ethnic cohorts, remains at a continuous low level. According to the National Center for Education Statistics (2014), 1,602,480 baccalaureate degrees were conferred nationwide to college students during 2009-2010. The purpose of this phenomenological research study is to understand how second-year African-American males attending a mid-sized, southwestern historically Black university and college (HBCU) perceived their ability to achieve academic success. For this study, I collected, thematically analyzed and correlated data from participant profile sheets, focus group meetings, follow-up interviews and observational field notes. The 11 research participants provide a descriptive account of their academic experiences as they have progressed towards their impending graduations. Data analysis rendered six emergent themes: family influence, cultural awareness and exposure, mentorship, networking, academic achievement, and campus climate. This study is significant for individuals who are interested in improving the academic advancements of African-American males in higher education. The findings may aid academic researchers, campus administrators, academically focused organizations, faculty, staff, and students in understanding what is needed to develop new programs and campus initiatives that foster African-American males’ achievement. The research findings also add to the body of limited research that is available on the achievement patterns of African-American males attending HBCUs.
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