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Experiences of African American male engineering students: a qualitative analysis

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Title: Experiences of African American male engineering students: a qualitative analysis
Author(s): Sanders, Courtney B.
Advisor(s): Baber, Lorenzo D.
Department / Program: Ed Organization and Leadership
Discipline: Ed Organization and Leadership
Degree Granting Institution: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Degree: M.S.
Genre: Thesis
Subject(s): African American black males higher education Science, Technology, Engineering and Math fields (STEM) engineering persistence
Abstract: Prior to the 1970s, African Americans were essentially invisible in the science and engineering academic and professional communities (Babco, 2001a). The few who did earn degrees in these fields, obtained them primarily from historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs), and these institutions also served as the primary employer for these graduates in science and engineering (Hines, 1997; Babco, 2001a, 2001b). Since the 1970s, African Americans have made considerable progress, but still are not on a level playing field with White males in terms of opportunities for preparation of science and engineering careers or for employment and advancement in those careers. The purpose of this study was to explore second and third-year African American male engineering students’ perceptions and examine what experiences have contributed to their access to and persistence in engineering. A qualitative research design was employed to gather data necessary to answer the research questions. Eight second and third-year African American male engineering students from Research University (pseudonym) participated in interviews with the researcher. The data from the interviews was used to consider the themes that emerged from the participants. The findings from this study suggest that African American male engineering students at Research University have specific experiences that influence their persistence and academic achievement. Themes identified from the interview data include: (1) pre-college experiences; (2) participation in academic and social networks; (3) institutional programming and organizational support; (4) personal accountability and motivation; and (5) goals outside of engineering. As a result of this research, several future implications are highlighted. These include acknowledging the value of diversity, continued support through organizations, and increased knowledge of best practices.
Issue Date: 2010-05-19
Rights Information: Copyright 2010 Courtney Sanders
Date Available in IDEALS: 2010-05-19
Date Deposited: May 2010

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