Date of Award

Spring 2009

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Foundations & Leadership


Community College Leadership

Committee Director

Steven P. Myran

Committee Member

Gwendolyn Lee-Thomas

Committee Member

Judy B. McMillan


The participation and persistence rates of African-American males in American institutions of higher education consistently trail those of other ethnic and gender subgroups. These national enrollment, graduation, and transfer statistics are reflected in the member institutions of the Virginia Community College System (VCCS). The purpose of this study was to determine which of the 23 member colleges of the Virginia Community College System (VCCS) have been able to enroll and graduate or transfer the highest proportional number of African-American male students and to identify the institutional characteristics and practices that best predict the enrollment and persistence of African-American males.

The study utilized existing VCCS college enrollment and persistence data along with data reported through a survey of academic and student development administrators to examine relationships between identified variables and African-American male enrollment and persistence. Administrator responses to open-ended survey questions along with an institutional case study of one VCCS college found to be among the leaders in black male enrollment and persistence were examined to explain and add context to the quantitative results.

The findings of the study confirmed differences in proportional enrollment and persistence of African-American males among Virginia community colleges, and found that a range of institutional characteristics and practices may influence the enrollment of African-American males. These characteristics and practices are clustered into the broad categories of strategic effort, student development, and campus climate. Findings related to African-American male persistent were less conclusive, but did suggest that curricula and a campus environment inclusive of the academic contributions of Africans and African-Americans can contribute to the success of black male students.


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