Motivational Factors for Academic Success Prospectives of African American Males at Historically Black Colleges and Universities

Motivational Factors for Academic Success Prospectives of African American Males at Historically Black Colleges and Universities

Christopher Adam Ray (Western Carolina University, USA), Adriel Adon Hilton (Grambling State University, USA), J. Luke Wood (San Diego State University, USA) and Terence Hicks (East Tennessee State University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0308-8.ch012
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Abstract

This chapter investigates the motivational factors affecting retention rates of Black males at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). In particular, this research is focused on identifying factors that Black male HBCU attendees described as facilitating their continuation in college. Data from this study was derived from a sample of 109 Black male students attending the following institutions: North Carolina Central University, North Carolina A&T University and Winston-Salem State University.
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Literature Review

According to National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) data (2010), African American men were awarded only 3% of total bachelor’s degrees, despite accounting for a significantly larger proportion of college students. At 66%, African American college men have the highest attrition rates across all racial/ethnic groups (Mortenson, 2001). More specifically, every two out of three African American men who attempt a baccalaureate degree do not complete their respective programs. Given the disparities between increasing college enrollment trends, but low completion rates of baccalaureate degrees, the motivational factors affecting retention rates of Black males at HBCUs is a subject that demands further examination.

Numerous studies on HBCUs have focused on comparing the experiences and outcomes of African American undergraduate students attending HBCUs to those attending predominantly White institutions (PWIs) (Bohr, Pascarella, Nora, & Terenzini, 1995; Fleming, 1984; Fries-Britt & Turner, 2002; Pascarella & Terenzini, 2005). An investigation of such research reveals that when compared to PWIs, HBCUs provide better learning environments, are nurturing, supportive, and family-oriented (Palmer & Gasman, 2008). In addition, other studies on HBCUs have focused on the social and educational experiences of African American males (Harper & Gasman, 2008; Kimbrough & Harper, 2006; Palmer, Davis, & Hilton, 2009; Palmer & Young, 2009), resource disparities with PWIs (Palmer & Griffin, 2009), student engagement (Harper, Carini, Bridges, & Hayek, 2004), specifically among African American males (Palmer & Young, 2009). Outside of the important contributions of these studies, research pertaining to motivational factors that affect retention rates of Black male undergraduate students at HBCUs is limited. In fact, many higher education scholars may have inaccurately assumed that the research on undergraduate students at HBCUs (all students combined) defines the experiences of African American male undergraduate students at HBCUs.

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