There are no "crystal stairs" here: A study of African-American males in traditional and nontraditional programs in a predominantly White institution of higher education.
Education, Sociology of.
Education, Adult and Continuing.
African American men Middle West Education (Higher).
African American college students Middle West Attitudes.
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The purpose of this research was to determine the factors explaining participation and persistence of African-American males in traditional and nontraditional baccalaureate programs in predominantly White educational institutions of higher education. The primary research question asked what perceived differences existed in the experiences of African-American males who did or did not graduate from traditional and nontraditional programs. The following five themes emerged from the literature: institutional attractiveness, racial climate, relationships and interactions, academic climate, and faculty and classroom behavior.A survey instrument, the Assessment of the Status of Minorities in Education, was mailed to 475 African-American males who had attended both traditional and nontraditional degree programs at a predominantly White institution of higher education in the Midwest. Only 34 usable instruments were returned for analysis. Due to the low response to the survey, the research design was revised to include both quantitative and qualitative data, which came from interviews of eight of the original respondents to the initial questionnaire. These interviews were tape recorded, transcribed, coded, and analyzed for themes.From the analysis of survey data, this researcher found few differences between graduates and nongraduates or between traditional and nontraditional students in their perceptions of the five factors identified from the literature. Four additional themes emerged from the analysis of interviews: a sense of hope, a goal to succeed, the importance of faculty and staff diversity, and the importance of a strong sense of self.This researcher concluded that institutional attractiveness plays a major role in minority student participation and persistence rates and that any differences in perception of these factors is more likely to be attributed to the traditional or nontraditional status of the student. Traditional students tended to react more negatively than nontraditional students to these environmental factors. This may be partially due to differences in expectations held by both groups to their educational experience. An important implication of this study is that institutions of higher education seeking to recruit and retain more African-American males need to be more alert to both external factors of institutional attractiveness and internal factors of learner self-esteem.