Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Counselor Education and Counseling Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. Joseph R. Morris

Second Advisor

Dr. Glinda J. Rawls

Third Advisor

Dr. Mariam Konate


Academic resilience, student engagement, Black males, Black males at PWIs, PWIs, resilience


The proportion of Black men enrolled in college is representative of the Black male population in the U.S. (Toldson, 2019). However, an investigation of the 2010 college entry cohort of Black men showed that only 34% graduate within six years (National Center for Education Statistics; NCES, 2019). The disparity in Black male graduation rate is clearer when compared to other races such as White men (61%), Hispanic men (50%), and Asian men (70%) (NCES, 2019). Within-group disparities also exist in that Black women graduate at a rate of 44% (NCES, 2019). Much of the literature on Black undergraduates has been conducted at predominantly White institutions (PWIs) and has shown a pattern of Black male underachievement (Harper, 2015). These studies examined deficit-informed factors such as hostile racial climate (Carter, 2008; Flowers, 2004), racism (Harper, 2007, 2015; Singer, 2005), microaggressions (Sue et al., 2007), and lack of institutional support (Hotchkins & Dancy, 2015) to understand institutional or personal impediments to Black male graduation.

Although deficit studies discussed institutional policies and demographic variables that combine to decrease Black male graduation rates, such research also endorses the perception that Black men cannot succeed in college. However, some recent literature has utilized an anti-deficit framework which elucidates the positive attributes of Black men who have graduated despite the institutional inequities (Bridges 2010; Harper, 2007; Strayhorn, 2008; Williamson, 2010). Much remains to be known about Black male students who succeed through these challenges. With that goal in mind, this study will examine the factors of resilience and engagement that help Black men attain academic success in college.

The present study utilized quantitative analyses to explore hypotheses concerning the relationship among demographic variables, academic resilience, student engagement, and academic achievement. Participants were recruited from a Midwestern PWI. This researcher engaged in a variety of techniques to obtain the sample which included email list-servs, registered student organizations, flyers, and snowball sampling. The measures used included a demographic instrument, the Student Engagement Scale (SES; Gunuc & Kuzu, 2015), and the Academic Resilience Scale (ARS-30; Cassidy, 2016). Data were collected online using Qualtrics survey software. A total of 124 Black men from a Midwestern PWI agreed to complete surveys Primary analyses were bi-variate correlation and logistic regression.

In this study, academic resilience and student engagement were statistically significant predictors of academic achievement. Student engagement was found to be a predictor of academic achievement. Academic resilience was not a better predictor of achievement when compared to student engagement.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access