Date of Conferral







Dr. Kelly Davis


Black males complete college at a lower rate than do all ethnic minority groups in the United States. Many universities have developed programs to improve educational outcomes for Black males, yet graduation rates remain low. The purpose of this study was to explore the engagement experiences of Black male college graduates who participated in the African American Male Initiative, a successful program developed by the University Systems of Georgia. The organizational learning theory was used to address how an academic institution can work collectively to adapt to changes that occur within the learning environment. Also, the anti-deficit achievement framework was used to discover the interventions that helped participants' complete college. The research questions in this study examined engagement experiences, preferred activities, motives for selecting certain activities, and the interventions that helped participants succeed. Data were collected via semi-structured, in-depth phone interviews with 6 participants. Creswell's version of Stevick-Colaizzi-Keen phenomenological method was used to move inductively from significant statements to 8 themes that emerged from interview answers. Results showed all participants attended an AAMI class twice a week and 5 out of 6 participants engaged in other campus activities (student government, fraternities, Black Student Alliance). Four interventions that helped participants graduate included: (a) learning study and leadership skills, (b) mentorship, (c) networking, and (d) building relationships with peers in the program. This study is expected to contribute to social change by informing high schools, colleges, and universities of successful methods that may help improve academic outcomes for Black male college students.