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RUNNING HEAD: Black Male Experience Cochran, 3

Katie Cochran
Review #1
Spring 2015
LEAD 7500
The Reentry Adult College Student: An Exploration of the Black Male Experience

CERTIFICATE OF AUTHORSHIP: I certify that I am the author. I have cited all sources from
which I used data, ideas, or words, either quoted directly or paraphrased. I also certify that this
paper was prepared by me specifically for this course.
Signature: Kathryn Renee Cochran
Date: February 2015

This research study was based on the overwhelming statistics surrounding black males in
universities across the country. This research was found to be necessary due to the statistic that
black males are disproportionately underrepresented in higher education relative to their total

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population numbers (Mims, 68). There is a high correlation between adult black males
reentering higher education institutions when the institution understands the diversity, and also
how to prepare for that diversity and offset the possible sociocultural, financial and emotional
issues that the student is feeling. The hopeful result of this research was to address the
experiences of reentry black male adult college students, find where the problem appears, and
give a roadmap to addressing the problems and creating a safe and inclusive environment for this
class of returning students.
The background information behind the research is that out of 15 million students in
higher education, less than 5% are black males, and it is theorized that this is due to lack of
financial support, professor to student support and support on the administration level of the
universities (Hauptman, 2008). The research also shows that the minimal amount of black males
in colleges is correlated to the experience that black Americans face in the public school system
due to their socioeconomic divisions in society. Later, the research goes on to state that there has
been very few studies based around black males returning to higher education as adult learners.
These stated issues have created a division between higher education and returning adult black
male learners, thus the low percentage of black males enrolled in higher education institutions
nationwide.
For clarity in the research, the researchers defined a black male as an individual who has
traced their cultural or ethnic heritage to the Americas, the Caribbean, or Africa. The study was
guided by three central questions: 1) What are the major barriers to black adult males reentry to
college?, 2) What challenges do black adult males experience during the reentry process?, 3)
what are black adult males major sources of support? The three questions guided researchers in
their studies and exploration of the adult black males that were interviewed.

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The study was comprised of 15 black males ranging in ages 25 - 45 who were once
students in higher education, left, and are now returning. The participants were chosen from one
public and one private four year university in the Southeastern United States and were were full
time students and all worked, ranging from part to full time employment. The participants
attended face-to-face interviews, semistructured, one hour long interviews.
The researchers found that the two main themes impacting black males reentering
universities were: barriers to reentry, and sources of support.
The three main barriers were 1) lack of understanding financial resources, 2) lack of role
models, and 3) uncertainty in balancing work and life. Two of the participants stated that they
only had one true role model and one of them stated that with his role model (his father),
education was not as important as working for your family. The other participants stated that
their role models were mothers, grandparents, teachers and other professionals in the school
system.
There were four statements on the financial barriers, all central around the same
reoccurring theme that they didnt understand the process of receiving the funds due to
inadequate counseling made available to them.
The final barrier was managing work and life. Managing several roles as a husband,
father, worker, etc.. each played large roles in their decision to return.
The participants noted that they each had groups supporting them as they reentered the
university system, ranging from parents to spouses to spiritual leaders down to former or current
university professors or workers.
There were 3 points that each student pointed out in order to benefit the number of black
males returning to college: 1) Peer support in the classroom as an incentive for learning, 2)

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Positive faculty-student relationships, and 3) Extracurricular activities that allows this portion of
students to volunteer and give back to their university.
Implications for future research state that support from kindergarten through
postsecondary education are vital to black males coming from all of their educators. The research
also states that it is vital that institutions create approaches to reach out to this section of their
students in order to engage them. Universities must recognize the growing trend in black males
reentering the university system and work with them to allow them to flourish and to succeed.
This research is highly important because as the field of higher education flourishes, it is
the educators job to ensure that all dynamics and all groups of people are being included in the
learning process. This research answered the question of why adult black males dont feel
comfortable reentering universities, but it didnt give a clear and concise measure as to how this
problem must be addressed if we are going to expect to see an increase in returning black adult
males in the field. I would like to see thoughts on how to address and begin to fix the problem,
and I feel that as more research is done, the more opportunities to fix the problems will arise. As
educators and student affairs professionals, we must maintain diligence in creating safe and
inclusive environments for all of our students and ensure that all classes of people are
represented and obtaining the education that they hope for upon entrance into a university.
Source:
Rosser-Mims, D., Palmer A., G. & Harroff, P. (2014). The Reentry Adult College Student: An
Exploration of the Black Male Experience. New Directions for Adult & Continuing Education,
2014(144), 59-68. doi: 10.1002/ace.201

Thoughts for discussion. You dont have to respond to all four questions, but please respond to
atleast one or use them as a guiding post for your own questions or thoughts about the article.
1)

Did you read anything in this article that relates to your reentry into college? (If you went
straight from high school to undergrad to grad, disregard this question)

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2)

If you arent a returning student, do you see where these problems arise or could arise at
your particular institution?

3)

What do you think are some efforts that could be made to leave a positive impact on
returning black males into the university system?

4)

Do you feel that enough is done for returning black males, or even traditional aged black
males in the collegiate world?

A few thoughts I had on the research:


I found the article itself to be very interesting, but I wish it was a little more in depth in some
areas. I would have liked to have seen more participants and for the age of participants to not end
at 45. We are seeing more and more 50s and above aged adults on college campuses across the
US and I would like to have read from that older generation as well as the younger generations.
Do you have any ideas about the research or the way the research was presented that would have
made it better for you?