How I made it over : the socialization and experiences of black male doctoral students

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Date

2012-08

Authors

Platt, Chester Spencer

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Abstract

The struggles of Black males at various stages of the educational pipeline have been well documented. However success stories and the experiences of high achieving Black males have received less scrutiny, as research has focused mostly on problematic outcomes from a deficit perspective until recent years. There remains a dearth of research that examines and gives voice to the experiences of Black male doctoral students (BMDS) on the campuses of predominantly white colleges and universities (PWI). Under these circumstances, it is important to understand how Black males have navigated their way into and through doctoral programs. Specific aims addressed in the present study examine the various aspects of socialization among BMDS, including experiential commonalities, sources of social support and how BMDS make sense of and respond to socialization efforts in their various departments. To address these specific aims qualitative research methods were employed. The study highlights results in five key areas: 1) Black male doctoral student pathways to doctoral programs, 2) choice of dissertation and research topics, 3) campus and community environment, 4) socialization experiences and, 5) the advisor-protégé relationship. My dissertation’s unique contributions are its addition of the Black male doctoral student socialization to the discourse and by examining their unique experiences. a central concern for this study’s participants has been navigating, resisting, and transforming many of the structural and cultural aspects of doctoral socialization that they as Black males find to be subtractive. BMDS in this study have largely adopted proactive strategies to aid them in their academic careers. Most have sought strategic relationships with faculty, Black faculty in particular as well as community support networks. Most have either created or worked closely with organizations that seek to transform the experiences of graduate students. These efforts are to maintain control of their educational experiences and resist elements of doctoral socialization that can be dehumanizing, frustrating and isolating for students of color while hopefully leaving the department and institution easier to navigate for those who follow in their footsteps.

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