School of Education


Doctor of Philosophy in Education (PhD)


Katelynn Wheeler


Black Male Initiative, Black male, HBCU, Mentor, anti-deficit, success, transcendental phenomenology, support programs, self-efficacy


Education | Philosophy


The purpose of this phenomenological was to identify and understand how Black Male Initiative programs contributed to the completion of an undergraduate degree for Black males at HBCUs. The study's central research question was: What role does the Black Male Initiative (BMI) play in Black male undergraduate degree completion at HBCUs in the U.S.? Shaun Harper’s anti-deficit achievement framework (ADAF) served as the conceptual framework for this study. Albert Bandura’s social cognitive theory (SCT) served as the guiding theoretical framework for this study. The design of this study was a transcendental phenomenological design with multiple units of analysis. The sample consisted of 10 Black males who participated in a Back Male Initiative and graduated from a US-based HBCU. I collected data using individual interviews, focus groups, and a journal prompt. The data was analyzed through phenomenological reduction. Findings from this study revealed the experiences of Black males throughout their educational journey and their persistence toward an undergraduate degree. The research revealed the importance of Black Male Initiatives, mentors, and support systems needed for Black males to succeed and be successful on their educational journey. Recommendations for future research include expanding the study to Black males who have successfully graduated from Predominantly White Institutions (PWI) and employing quantitative methods to explore Black male graduates.