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Cheryl Keen


Research studies have indicated that Black male collegians have the lowest retention rates in the higher education setting in predominately White institutional (PWI) settings. Several factors, such as spirituality, involvement on campus, and other positive experiences are cited as contributing to a lower retention rate for Black males in the PWI higher education setting; however, research in the PWI religiously affiliated setting has been limited. The purpose of this basic qualitative study was to explore the campus engagement experiences of religiously involved Black males who attended religiously affiliated PWIs. Astin's student involvement theory and Astin, Astin, and Lindholm's findings on spiritual development in the higher education setting are used as a conceptual framework. The research questions explored how religiously involved Black males who were at religiously affiliated PWIs during college described their campus engagement experiences, how their religious belief influenced their campus engagement, and how other factors influenced their campus engagement and contributed to their graduation. Interviews with 8 Black male participants were analyzed for codes and themes using Merriam and Tisdell's coding method. The themes that emerged suggested that although participants perceived initial negative experiences, overall, they had positive campus experiences due to involvement experiences. The participants recalled that their religious engagement fostered more participation in religious involvement, developed their spiritual identity, and that family and community fostered engagement. This study may contribute to positive social change by providing administrators of religiously affiliated PWIs with approaches to increase the engagement and retention of Black male students.

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