Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Educational Administration

First Advisor

Dilley, Patrick


African American men’s graduation rates from institutions of higher education are among the lowest of any demographic group in the United States. I interviewed African American men who shared their narratives on how they lived out their manhood on a mid-western public regional four-year university campus. The purpose of the study was to garner insights from their stories, and to see how the lessons learned from their lived experiences could be applied to improve the first year experience for this segment of the student population. The combination of phenomenological and grounded theory research paradigms helped me to analyze the lived experiences of African American men in an institution of higher education milieu. The main themes that I identified after analyzing the collected data, using critical race theory as a key theoretical lens, were Black Masculinity, Being Seen, Brotherhood, Support Groups, and Ideations of Success. African American men’s complex and multi-dimensional masculinities called for a sense of commitment and responsibility to community, family, and brotherhood. The respondents’ goals of graduating are similar to all other student groups, and they are most likely to thrive in their first year of college if their Black masculinities are centered; they most likely will seek assistance when made to feel valued and seen by institutional and familial support systems. Keywords: Black Masculinity, Progressive masculinities, African American college men, African American men’s first year experience, critical race theory, regional campus, PWI




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