Considering New Directions for Research on
African American Males in Higher Education
Lorenzo D. Baber
Department of Education Policy, Organization and Leadership
[email protected]
@doczo
Higher Education Collaborative Brown Bag
March 18, 2014
Acknowledgements: Brandon Common, Royel Johnson, Lauren Gress
Congressional
Black Caucus
Foundation, Inc.
Black Male Achievement
Taking Stock, Moving Forward
Prepared for the Open Society Institute
January 2011
Ivory A. Toldson, Ph.D.
BREAKING|BARRIERS 2
Plotting the Path Away from Juvenile Detention and Toward
Academic Success for School-age African American Males
Illinois Context
• Almost 29% of Black male high school dropouts are
incarcerated, compared to just under 8% of high
school graduates, 2% of Associate degree holders,
and .1% of bachelor’s degree recipients
• In 2012, the unemployment rate for Black Males in
Illinois was 18.1%, compared to 8.7% overall
Source: Women and Minorities In the Illinois
Labor Force 2013 Annual Report
Table 2: Postsecondary Enrollment Trends in Illinois for African American Males
2001
% Total Black 2010
Male
Enrollment
% Total Black 2001/2010
Male
Change
Enrollment
Public
Universities
7,601
22.3%
9,001
19.4%
+18.4%
Community
Colleges
17,869
52.4%
22,199
47.9%
+24.2%
Private, Notfor-Profit
6,211
18.2%
7,010
15.1%
+12.9%
Private, ForProfit
2,381
7.0%
8,127
17.5%
+241%
Total
34,062
46,337
+36.3%
70.0
Community College Enrollment in Illinois
by Credential Program
59.1
60.0
49.7
48.4
50.0
47.7
41.0
39.8
40.0
40.8
Less than one-year certificates
One-to-two year certificates
30.0
Associate's
26.9
20.0
13.9
10.6
12.4
9.5
10.0
0.0
Illinois Overall
Black Males
Latino Males
White Males
Baber and Graham (forthcoming)
Literature Review
• 55 studies published in peer-reviewed articles
between 2003-2013
• Focus on African American males in postsecondary
education
• Excluding edited volumes, special issue journals, and
policy reports
Tendencies in Research on African
American Males in Higher
•
•
•
•
Qualitative Methods
Four-year Institutions
Homogenous Sampling
Psychological and Developmental Frameworks
General Findings
• Management of Stereotype Threat
–
–
–
–
‘Prove’ Worthiness
Self-responsibility for Maintaining Aspirations
Coping Strategies for Micro-aggressions
Identity Performance
• Access to Social and Cultural Capital
–
–
–
–
Diverse Interactions
Same-Race Peer Support
Involvement in Student Organizations
Precollege Factors
General Findings
• Alternatives to Traditional Notions of Black
Masculinity
– Raced, Gendered Identity Development
– Cultural Awareness
– Role Models
• Rejection of African American male peers
– Within Group Stereotypes
– Divisive Competition for Recognition and Status
– Social Hierarchy
Need for New Directions
Researchers have expressed rejection for the
monolithic perspectives of African American
males in higher education, stating that
understanding within-group diversity is
foundational to improving outcomes. Yet, a
homogenous sample dominates current
literature: traditionally-aged, ‘high-achieving’
students attending four-year institutions.
Need for New Directions
Overall, there is a dominance of the
developmental and psychological paradigms in
research on African American males in Higher
Education. When social contexts are considered,
they are treated as a secondary influence that
facilitate or hinder identity status, self-efficacy,
or academic achievement.
Research on African American Males in
Higher Education: Centering ‘Space’
“[Spaces] are doubly constructed: most are built or
in some way physically carved out. They are also
interpreted, narrated, perceived, felt, understood,
and imagined. A spot in the universe, with a
gathering of physical stuff there, becomes a place
only when it ensconces history or utopia, danger or
security, identity or memory. In spite of its relatively
enduring and imposing materiality, the meaning or
value of the same place is labile—flexible in the
hands of different people or cultures, malleable
over time, and inevitably contested.” (Gieryn, 2000)
Questions
• What are your thoughts on the current
research on African American males in higher
education?
• How does this research compare to other
education areas (pre-k to ’20’).
• What additional directions would you
suggest?
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Research on African American Males in Higher Education: Centering