DISSERTATION DEFENSE ANNOUNCEMENT Ed.D. Program: Kevin J. Ewell “Academic advising experiences of Black male college students: A Critical race perspective”
Academic advising is regarded as an important student support practice that impacts college students’ academic retention and graduation (Habley, 2009; Holland et al., 2020; Kuhn, 2008, Mayhew et al., 2016). However, research examining the use of academic advising services revealed that, as a demographic group, Black male undergraduate students are less likely to participate in academic advising when compared to their White undergraduate counterparts (Lee, 2018; Museus, 2021; Museus & Ravello, 2021). The pattern is more pronounced at predominantly-White institutions (PWIs). Deficit models are often used to explain this difference in academic advising usage, suggesting that Black male students lack academic motivation, discipline, or aptitude. However, deficit models disregard the potential influence of racism, marginalization, and microaggressions that Black students may experience at PWIs (Harper, 2015).
This qualitative, phenomenological study used a critical race framework to examine, understand, and explain the interpersonal and institutional barriers Black male undergraduate students experienced in their academic advising and help-seeking practices while enrolled at Rutgers University, a predominantly-White institution. Using individual interviews and focus groups, this project also explored what Black male students did when they needed academic advice, assistance, and support, and whom they turned to. This research confirmed that Black males at a PWI often opted out of formal academic advising to avoid being judged, stereotyped, and subjected to other forms of microaggressions. In addition, this project revealed that Black male undergraduate students preferred a more holistic approach to academic advising that was more developmental and less prescriptive in nature. Finally, this research revealed that Black male undergraduate students often relied on an alternate network of support for academic advising and assistance rather than relying on the traditional advising services in place at their university. The dissertation project concluded with implications for improvements to academic advising practices for Black male undergraduate students at a predominantly-White institution.
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