Graduation Term


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Educational Administration and Foundations: Educational Administration

Committee Chair

Lydia Kyei-Blankson


This dissertation explores the academic experiences of Black men who have completed their bachelor's degrees at predominantly white institutions (PWIs), utilizing an anti-deficit perspective. Despite the reality that only 36% of Black men achieve their undergraduate degrees within six years, this study shifts the narrative from focusing on obstacles to emphasizing success strategies, aiming to narrow the opportunity gap between Black men and their White peers. Through narrative inquiry and the Anti-Deficit Achievement Framework, this research not only showcases the resilience and determination of these individuals but also illuminates the varied strategies they employ to navigate their higher education journey within predominantly White environments.

The study's key findings reveal that Black men employ a range of strategies to overcome challenges, including the development of support networks, mentorship, civic engagement, identity-affirming activities, and the cultivation of independence and self-reliance. They also highlight the significance of collaboration, embracing anti-deficit thinking, and prioritizing personal development and well-being. These strategies are essential for addressing the institutional and societal hurdles Black male students face. Moreover, the research emphasizes the urgent need for higher education institutions to move beyond simply relying on the perseverance and resilience of Black men. It advocates for systemic changes to address the root causes of educational disparities, calling for a shift towards a more supportive and equitable academic setting that actively enhances the diverse success strategies of Black men.

By shedding light on the lived experiences, expectations, and coping mechanisms of Black men in PWIs, this dissertation provides actionable recommendations for transitioning from deficit-oriented practices in higher education. It calls for a comprehensive review of institutional policies and practices to create an environment where Black men can prosper without being disproportionately burdened by systemic inequities. Contributing to the discourse on justice and equity in higher education, this work underscores the critical role of comprehensive support in amplifying the innate resilience and ambition of Black male students.


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