School of Music


Doctor of Music Education (DME)


Jerry Newman


Retention, Recruitment, Academic stability, Jackson State University, Sonic Boom of the South Marching Band, College social stability, Extracurricular Activities, Historical Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Matriculated student, Marching Band, Social Risk Factors, Social stability




Athletic sports and the university marching band play a central role in the success of tertiary institutions as they are the most effective recruitment tools for colleges and universities. They project an institution's vision, values, and identity, which are critical aspects appealing to potential learners. There is a concern about low recruitment and retention rates in institutions of higher learning. To address the low enrollment issues, historically black colleges and universities are reinvesting and funding marching bands since they are central to their ability to attract potential students. In addition, the marching band's effect on an institution influences its ability to retain learners. To this end, developing frameworks that assist historically black colleges and universities with marketing, increasing institutional awareness, and fostering recognition are crucial. It resonates with the need to expand the institutions' presence as it makes them known to their target clients, which will improve recruitment rates. Therefore, utilizing the marching band as the primary recruiting tool is a feasible solution to the issues facing historically black colleges and universities. It will enable the institutions to attract more learners and increase diversity and inclusion within the student populations. This thesis supports the notion that marching bands are effective recruitment and retention tools in historically black colleges and universities. The report focuses on Jackson State University, a diverse, technologically-advanced four-year historically Black University located in Jackson, Mississippi. It is ranked the fourth-largest university in Mississippi in terms of student enrollment. Institutional strategies were developed and witnessed institutional growth in enrollment. The study examines recruitment plans and structural policies that facilitate growth in higher learning institutions. Steps for continued success are delineated, and alternative rehearsal techniques are discussed.

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