Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



College of Education and Human Services


Curriculum & Instruction/Literacy Studies

Committee Chair

Adriane A Williams

Committee Co-Chair

M Christopher Brown, II

Committee Member

David M Callejo-Perez

Committee Member

Ernest R. Goeres

Committee Member

Jacqueline L. Webb-Demspey.


Recent initiatives in higher education have been designed to increase Black undergraduate male collegiate retention and persistence through graduation for this historically underrepresented population. Although institutional leaders in higher education have focused on creating more inclusive campuses, designing and implementing programs to retain Black undergraduate men have remained largely under studied. Specifically at predominantly white institutions (PWIs), a step in the process is evaluating and assessing the efforts for effectiveness and impact on students' overall development and success. Programs that have achieved ways to increase the retention rates have information that is useful in reversing low retention and graduation should be empirically studied.;This qualitative study of retention initiatives at two state institutions explores the development of the retention initiative; how initiatives are structured within an institution's overall diversity plan; and what the overall impact is on the participants and the institutional environment. Focus group interviews conducted with student participants, interviews of the institutional leadership involved in implementing the initiative, along with a document analysis of cases are used to answer how Black male retention initiatives affect campus diversity initiatives and advance student development and success. While both cases focused on retention through student engagement, accountability, and leadership development, each case used separate foundational principles to carry out the same mission to retain Black males. Northwestern State University (pseudonym) focused on developing students' cultural awareness and Black identity while Southern State University (pseudonym) focused on building students' sense of humility and interdependency. These case studies and the underlying research prove that leadership support, funding and institutionalization have had and can have a measurable effect on young men of color. Institutional culture matters for individuals, and institutional policy can affect change for good.;These efforts to create inclusive environments for Black undergraduate men at PWIs have required time to develop and to bring about deep and pervasive change to affect this population's collegiate experience. A critical step in the process is evaluating and measuring the effectiveness and impact on students' overall success. Through assessment, programs that have improved Black male retention may serve as benchmarks for reversing low retention and graduation. Included in the study are individual analyses of each institution and a cross-case comparison that provides in-depth description of these Black undergraduate male initiatives and specifies implications for institutional leaders incorporating a race and gender based retention program into an overall campus-wide diversity initiative.