Improving student success for African American males
Thompson, Daniel Isaiah
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In recent years, researchers have examined how to effectively improve student success outcomes for African American males and sustain this effort. The U.S. Department of Education’s TRIO programs provide resources for institutions to increase college access, retention, and graduation. I examine the importance and benefits of programs like the Student Support Services Program which focuses on improving the student success outcomes for students from first-generation, low-income backgrounds before they enter college and ushers them to graduation. Programs such as this compliment other student support initiatives for African American males. I use Critical Race Theory to examine campus climate and student and administrator perceptions of student service effectiveness. This qualitative study provides data from university administrators and students on college access and retention best practices used to engage and retain students, along with their institutional impact. In my single-case approach, I searched for a single institution that is a minority serving institution, is considered a major research university, and has a record of innovative student success initiatives. These criteria led me to Georgia State University. Some key findings from this study include: 1) an institution has to be financially invested and authentic if exploring ways to improve academic achievement for African American males, 2) an inclusive campus climate increases the retention of Black male students, and 3) alignment between student need and an institution’s initiative is required to properly implement a student support services program. I present several recommendations on how to improve students success for Black males, a few of them include: 1) institute a mentoring program that involves students, faculty, and staff; and 2) create a financial assistance program that prevents dropout.