Sustaining Trajectories

Black Males Persisting in Undergraduate Social Work Education

  • Lamont D. Simmons Salem State University
Keywords: Black males, persistence, qualitative research, social work education, undergraduate

Abstract

While the literature is replete with studies on persistence among students across academic majors, few studies examine the nature of persistence among Black males enrolled in baccalaureate social work programs. This qualitative study offers some insight into how a sample of four Black male graduates from an accredited baccalaureate social work program persisted toward degree attainment. Three themes emerged from this study: (a) family encouragement and support, (b) sense of belonging, and (c) presence of Black male professors. Findings suggest the need for social work educators to consider programmatic initiatives acknowledging the role of families in persistence efforts, facilitating connectedness, and recruiting Black male professors or other Black male mentors.

References

Allen, Q. (2010). Racial microaggressions: The schooling experiences of Black middle-class males in Arizona’s secondary schools. Journal of African American Males in Education, 1(2), 125-143.

Astin, A. W., & Oseguera, L. (2005). Pre-college and institutional influences on degree attainment. In A. Seidman (Ed.), College student retention: Formula for student success (pp. 245-276). Westport, CT: Prager Publishers.

Beadlescomb, T. L. (2019). BSW students of color: Principle factors influencing intent to persist through completion of degree. Journal of Social Work Education,

doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/10437797.2018.1544522

Bennett, C., & Bean, J. (1984). A conceptual model of Black student attrition at a predominantly White institution. Journal of Educational Equity and Leadership, 4(3), 173-188.

Berger, J. B., Ramirez, G. B., & Lyons, S. (2012). Past to present: A historical look at retention. In A. Seidman (Ed.), College student retention: Formula for student success (2nd ed., pp. 7-34). Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.

Bogo, M., & Wayne, J. (2013). The implicit curriculum in social work education: The culture of human interchange. Journal of Teaching in Social Work, 33, 2-14.

doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/08841233.2012.746951

Bowen, W. G., Chingos, M. M., & McPherson, M. S. (2009). Crossing the finish line: Completing college at America’s public universities. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. doi: https://doi.org/10.1515/9781400831463

Bowie, S. L., Cherry, D. J., & Wooding, L. H. (2005). African American students: Personal influences on social work careers and factors in graduate school selection. Social Work Education, 24, 169-184.

doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/0261547052000333117

Bowie, S. L., Nashwan, A. J. J., Thomas, V., Davis-Buckley, R. J., & Johnson, R. L. (2018). An assessment of social work education efforts to recruit and retain MSW students of color. Journal of Social Work Education, 54(2), 270-286.

doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/10437797/2017.1404531

Braxton, J. M., & Hirschy, A. S. (2005). Theoretical developments in the study of college student departure. In A. Seidman (Ed.), College student retention: Formula for student success (pp. 61-87). Westport, CT: Prager Publishers.

doi: https://doi.org/10.2190/m127-v05b-5e5j-f9lq

Brooms, D. R. (2019). Not in this alone: Black men’s bonding, learning, and sense of belonging in Black male initiative programs. The Urban Review. March 19, 2019. doi: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11256-019-00506-5

Brooms, D. R., & Davis, A. R. (2017). Staying focused on the goal: Peer bonding and faculty mentors supporting Black males’ persistence in college. Journal of Black Studies, 48(3), 305-327. doi: https://doi.org/10.1177/0021934717692520

Brown, C. M., II, & Davis, E. J. (2001). The historically Black college as social contract, social capital, and social equalizer. Peabody Journal of Education, 76(1), 31-49.

doi: https://doi.org/10.1207/s15327930pje7601_03

Bush, E. C., & Bush, L. V. (2010). Calling out the elephant: An examination of African American male achievement in community colleges. Journal of African American Males in Education, 1(1), 40-62.

Choy, S. P. (2002). Access & persistence: Findings from 10 years of longitudinal research on students. Washington DC: American Council on Education. Retrieved from http://www.ccsse.org/center/resources/docs/research/access_persistence.pdf

Council on Social Work Education [CSWE]. (2015). 2015 educational policy and accreditation standards for baccalaureate and master’s social work programs. Retrieved from https://www.cswe.org/Accreditation/Standards-and-Policies/2015-EPAS

CSWE. (2016). 2015 annual statistics on social work education in the United States. Retrieved from https://www.cswe.org/getattachment/992f629c-57cf-4a74-8201-1db7a6fa4667/2015-Statistics-on-Social-Work-Education.aspx

Crotty, M. (1998). The foundations of social research: Meaning and perspective in the research process. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Fischer, M. J. (2007). Settling into campus life: Differences by race/ethnicity in college involvement and outcomes. Journal of Higher Education, 78(2), 125-161.

doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/00221546.2007.11780871

Gheondea-Eliad, A. (2014). Is qualitative research generalizable? Journal of Community Positive Practices, XIV (3), 114-124.

Giesler, M. A. (2013). The problem of privilege: Male social work students’ preservice experiences. Journal of Ethnographic & Qualitative Research, 7, 204-214.

Gläser, J., & Laudel, G. (2013). Life with and without coding: Two methods for early-stage data analysis in qualitative research aiming at causal explanations. Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 14(2), Art. 5.

Gofen, A. (2009). Family capital: How first-generation higher education students break the intergenerational cycle. Family Relations, 58(1), 104-120.

doi: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1741-3729.2008.00538.x

Hagedorn, L. S. (2012). How to define retention: A new look at an old problem. In A. Seidman (Ed.)., College student retention: Formula for student success (2nd ed., pp. 81-99). Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.

Harper, S. R. (2012). Black male student success in higher education: A report from the National Black Male College Achievement Study. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania, Center for the Study of Race and Equity in Education.

Harper, S. R., & Quaye, S. J. (2009). Beyond sameness, with engagement and outcomes for all: An introduction. In S. Harper & J. Quaye (Eds.), Student engagement in higher education: Theoretical perspectives and practical approaches for diverse populations (pp. 1-15). NY: Routledge.

doi: https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203894125

Hausmann, L. R. M., Ye, F., Schofield, J. W., & Woods, R. L. (2009). Sense of belonging and persistence in White and African American first-year students. Research in Higher Education, 50, 649-669. doi: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11162-009-9137-8

Holsey-Hyman, M. (2015). Perceptions of retention among bachelor of social work graduates at a historically black college and university. (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved from ProQuest dissertations and theses global. (3705074)

Hurtado, S., & Carter, D. F. (1997). Effects of college transition and perceptions of the campus racial climate on Latino college students’ sense of belonging. Sociology of Education, 70, 324-325. doi: https://doi.org/10.2307/2673270

Hyde, C. A., & Deal, K. H. (2003). Does gender matter? Male and female participation in social work classrooms. Affilia, 18(2), 192-209.

doi: https://doi.org/10.1177/0886109903018002008

Johnson-Motoyama, M., Petr, C. G., & Mitchell, F. M. (2014). Factors associated with success in doctoral social work education. Journal of Social Work Education, 50, 548-558. doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/10437797.2014.916955

Kezar, A. J., Walpole, M., & Perna, L. W. (2015). Engaging low-income students. In J. Quaye & S. R. Harper (Eds.), Student engagement in higher education: Theoretical perspectives and practice approaches for diverse populations (2nd ed., pp. 55-74). NY: Routledge. doi: https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203894125

Klopfenstein, K., & Thomas, M. K. (2009). The link between advanced placement experience and early college success. Southern Economic Journal, 75(3), 873-891.

Komarraju, M., Musulkin, S., & Bhattacharya, G. (2011). Role of student-faculty interactions in developing college students’ academic self-concept, motivation, and achievement. Journal of College Student Development, 51, 332-342.

doi: https://doi.org/10.1353/csd.0.0137

Kuk, L., & Manning, J. (2010). Student organizations and institutional diversity efforts: A typology. College Student Journal, 44(2), 354-361.

Leppel, K. (2002). Similarities and differences in the college persistence of men and women. Review of Higher Education, 24(4), 433-450.

doi: https://doi.org/10.1353/rhe.2002.0021

Lincoln, Y. S., & Guba, E. G. (1985) Naturalistic inquiry. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.

Lotkowski, V. A., Robbins, S. B., & Noeth, R. J. (2004). The role of academic and non-academic factors in improving college retention. Iowa City, IA: ACT.

Maramba, D. C., & Palmer, R. T. (2011). Perceptions of family support among students of color at a predominantly White university. Enrollment Management, 3, 112-135.

Maxwell, J. A. (2013). Qualitative research design: An interactive approach (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Menson, R. P., Patelis, T., & Doyle, A. (2009). New England’s state of college readiness. New England Journal of Higher Education, 23(5), 22-23.

Merriam, S. B., & Tisdell, E. J. (2016). Qualitative research: A guide to design and implementation (4th ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Miles, M. B., Huberman, A. M., & Saldaña, J. (2014). Qualitative data analysis. A methods sourcebook (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/10572252.2015.975966

National Center for Education Statistics. (2016). The condition of education 2016 (NCES 2011-144). Washington, DC: US Department of Education. Retrieved from https://nces.ed.gov/pubs2016/2016144.pdf

Padgett, D. K. (2008). Qualitative methods in social work research (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Padilla, R. V., Trevino, J., Gonzalez, K., & Trevino, J. (1997). Developing local models of minority student success in college. Journal of College Student Development, 38(2), 125-135.

Palmer, R. T., Davis, R. J., & Hilton, A. A. (2009). Exploring challenges that threatened to impede the academic success of academically underprepared African American male collegians at an HBCU. Journal of College Student Development, 50(4), 429-445. doi: https://doi.org/10.1353/csd.0.0078

Palmer, R. T., Wood, J. L., Dancy, T. E., & Strayhorn, T. L. (2014). Black male collegians: Increasing access, retention, and persistence in higher education (ASHE Higher Education Report). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.

doi: https://doi.org/10.1002/aehe.20015

Pascarella, E. T., & Terenzini, P. T. (2005). How college affects students (Vol. 2): A third decade of research. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

doi: https://doi.org/10.14426/jsaa.v2i2.70

Patton, M. Q. (2015). Qualitative research and evaluation methods (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Peterson, N. A., Farmer, A. Y., & Zippay, A. (2014). The implicit curriculum in an urban university setting: Pathways to students’ empowerment. Journal of Social Work Education, 50(4), 630-647. doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/10437797.2014.947163

Quaye, S. J., Tambascia, T. P., & Talesh, R. A. (2009). Engaging racial/ethnic minority students in predominantly white classroom environments. In S. Harper & J. Quaye (Eds.), Student engagement in higher education: Theoretical perspectives and practical approaches for diverse populations (pp. 157-178). NY: Routledge. doi: https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203810163

Raber, M., Tebb, S., & Berg-Weger, M. (1998). Recruitment and retention of minority students in bachelor of social work programs. Journal of Baccalaureate Social Work, 3(2), 31-49. doi: https://doi.org/10.18084/1084-7219.3.2.31

Radford, M. L. (2006). The critical incident technique and the qualitative evaluation of the connecting libraries and school project. Library Trends, 55(1), 44-64.

doi: https://doi.org/10.1353/lib.2006.0051

Reason, R. D. (2003). Student variables that predict retention: Recent research and new developments. NASPA Journal, 40(4), 172-191. doi: https://doi.org/10.2202/0027-6014.1286

Rhee, B. (2008). Institutional climate and student departure: A multinomial multilevel modeling approach. Review of Higher Education, 31(2), 161-183.

doi: https://doi.org/10.1353/rhe.2007.0076

Rogers, L. (2013). Should there be mentoring efforts to help retain and recruit more Black males into baccalaureate and master’s social work programs? Journal of Human Behavior and the Social Environment, 23, 908-917.

doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/10911359.2013.788463

Saunders, S., & Kardia, D. (1997). Creating inclusive college classrooms. Retrieved from http://www.crlt.umich.edu/gsis/p3_1

Schwartz, R. A., & Washington, C. M. (2002). Predicting academic performance and retention among African American freshmen men. NASPA Journal, 39(4), 354-370. doi: https://doi.org/10.2202/0027-6014.1178

Seidman, A. (2005). Where we go from here. In A. Seidman (Ed.), College student retention: Formula for student success (pp. 295-316). Westport, CT: Praeger.

Singh, K. (2007). Quantitative social research methods. New Delhi: Sage.

Stephens, N. M., Fryberg, S. A., Markus, H. R., Johnson, C. S., & Covarrubias, R. (2012). Unseen disadvantage: How American universities’ focus on independence undermines the academic performance of first-generation college students. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 102(6), 1178-1197.

doi: https://doi.org/10.1037/a0027143

Strand, K. J. (2013). Best practices for ensuring the academic success of first-generation college students. Washington DC: Council of Independent Colleges.

Strayhorn, T. L. (2006). Factors influencing the academic achievement of first-generation college students. NASPA Journal, 43(4), 82-111. doi: https://doi.org/10.2202/0027-6014.1724

Strayhorn, T. L. (2008a). Fittin’ in. Do diverse interactions with peers affect sense of belonging for Black men at predominantly white institutions? NASPA Journal, 45(4), 501-527. doi: https://doi.org/10.2202/0027-6014.2009

Strayhorn, T. L. (2008b). The invisible man: Factors affecting the retention of low-income African American males. NASAP Journal, 11(1), 66-82.

Strayhorn, T. L. (2010). When race and gender collide: Social and cultural capital’s influence on the academic achievement of African American male and Latino males. Review of Higher Education, 33(3), 307-332. doi: https://doi.org/10.1353/rhe.0.0147

Strayhorn, T. L. (2017). Factors that influence the persistence and success of Black men in urban public universities. Urban Education, 52(9), 1106-1128.

doi: https://doi.org/10.1177/0042085915623347

Strayhorn, T. L., & Saddler, T. N. (2009). Gender differences in the influence of faculty-student mentoring relationships on satisfaction with college among African Americans. Journal of African American Studies, 13, 476-493.

doi: https://doi.org/10.1007/s12111-008-9082-1

Teasley, M. L., Schiele, J. H., Adams, C., & Okilwa, N. S. (2018). Trayvon Martin: Racial profiling, Black male stigma, and social work practice. Social Work, 63(1), 37-45. doi: https://doi.org/10.1093/sw/swx049

Thomas, D. R. (2006). A general inductive approach for analyzing qualitative evaluation data. American Journal of Evaluation, 27(2), 237-246.

doi: https://doi.org/10.1177/1098214005283748

Tinto, V. (1993). Leaving college: Rethinking the causes and cures of student attrition (2nd ed.). Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

doi: https://doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226922461.001.0001

Tinto, V. (2005). Moving from theory to action. In A. Seidman (Ed.), College student retention: Formula for student success (pp. 317-333). Westport, CT: Praeger.

Tinto, V. (2017). Reflections on student persistence. Student Success, 8(2), 1-8.

doi: https://doi.org/10.5204/ssj.v8i2.376

Umbach, P. D. (2006). The contribution of faculty of color to undergraduate education. Research in Higher Education, 47(3), 317-345. doi: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11162-005-9391-3

U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. (2015). The condition of education 2015 (NCES 2015–144). Retrieved from https://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=40

Warde, B. (2009). Why social work, and what does the future hold? The narratives of recently graduated Hispanic and African-American male BSW and MSW students. Journal of Ethnic & Cultural Diversity in Social Work, 18, 129-145.

doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/15313200802595369

White, G. B. (2015). Black workers really do need to be twice as good. Retrieved from http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2015/10/why-black-workers-really-do-need-to-be-twice-as-good/409276/

Wilson, P. P. (1999). A social work imperative: Recruiting African American males into the profession. Journal of Cultural Diversity, 6(3), 77-84.

Wood, J. L. (2014). Examining academic variables affecting the persistence and attainment of Black male collegians: A focus on academic performance and integration in the two-year college. Race Ethnicity and Education, 17(5), 601-622. doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/13613324.2012.733687

Wood, J. L., & Ireland, S. M. (2014). Supporting Black male community college success: Determinants of faculty-student engagement. Community College Journal of Research and Practice, 38(2-3), 154-165,

doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/10668926.2014.851957

Xu, Y. J., & Webber, K. L. (2018). College student retention on a racially diverse campus: A theoretically guided reality check. Journal of College Student Retention: Research, Theory & Practice, 20(1), 2-28.

doi: https://doi.org/10.1177/1521025116643325

Published
2020-03-25
Section
Articles