Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Gyant, LaVerne, 1950-

Degree Name

Ed.D. (Doctor of Education)

Legacy Department

Counseling, Adult and Higher Education


African American community college students--Middle West; African American male college students--Middle West; Academic achievement--Middle West


The educational statistics continue to report dismal persistence and completion rates for male African American community college students. Many scholars have noted the fact that African American males remain further behind all other demographics in college enrollment and completion. In this study, I sought to advance the literature on student engagement and academic success by exploring these students' perceptions of their college-going experience. The purpose of the study was to better understand African American male community college students' perceptions of their academic and social experiences at one midwestern community college. The theoretical framework for this study was achieved by combining essential components of Involvement and Engagement Theory, Academic and Social Integration Theory, and Encouragement, Family, and Racial Centrality Models. This study used semi-structured in-depth interviews with 27 African American males. Eight significant themes emerged from the data analysis: (a) Campus Environment: faculty, staff, classes, and support, (b) Persistence and graduation, (c) Academic challenges, (d) Academic successes, (e) Personal challenges, (f) Personal successes, (g) Inspiration: personal, family, and colleagues, and (h) Mentors -- on and off campus. This qualitative research study offered narratives from the African American males which described factors they believed impacted their ability and desire to persist at community college. The study findings provided insight into factors students believed guided and supported their academic and student engagement, including the campus environment; faculty, staff, and classes, people, and resources. In this study, I sought to provide more understanding of what students believed would help them connect and commit in order to persist and achieve credential completion. The findings served as the basis for recommendations to community college administrators and policy makers and suggestions for future research.


Advisors: LaVerne Gyant.||Committee members: Jorge Jeria; Lee Rush.||Includes bibliographical references.


viii, 220 pages




Northern Illinois University

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