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Title

Searching for Support: A Phenomenological Study of Black Male Graduate Students at a Predominantly White University

Date of Award

2015

Document Type

Dissertation - NSU Access Only

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Conflict Analysis & Resolution

Department

College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences – Department of Conflict Resolution Studies

First Advisor

Claire M. Rice

Second Advisor

Robin Cooper

Third Advisor

Robert J. Witheridge

Abstract

In higher education, the black male experience is understudied. This phenomenological study explored the experience and meaning of black male doctoral students at a predominantly white university. The study was guided by two central research questions: 1) How do black male doctoral students, in the state of Florida, experience attending a predominantly white university? 2) What kind of conflict, if any, do black male doctoral students encounter in higher education? This research included face-to-face interviews with ten black male doctoral students, from various disciplines, at a predominantly white university in the state of Florida. Scholarly academic literature, coupled with four theoretical frameworks, inform this study’s research design and data analysis. This study utilized Johan Galtung’s (1969) theory of structural violence; Arthur Chickering’s (1969) theory of identity development, experienced at the collegiate level; Jean Phinney’s (1993) three stage model of ethnic identity development, as it relates to the lived experiences of black male doctoral students in higher education; and Derrick Bell and Alan Freeman’s (Delgado, 1994) critical race theory, which emphasizes conflict in race, racism, and power. The analysis of the data indicated that the essence of the experience is participants search for support from feeling isolated from the majority of the population of students. The underlying themes of racism, support, financial stability, identity, and the environment of the institution engender the need for such support. Conflict practitioners, administrators, and educators seeking to improve student development, discourage racial disparities, and prevent educational injustice, for black male doctoral students, will benefit from this study and findings.

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