Degree Date


Document Type

Dissertation - Public Access

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Academic Discipline

Adult and Continuing Education

First Advisor

Gabrielle Strohschen

Second Advisor

Tom Heaney

Third Advisor

Ervin Griffin


The overall goal of this qualitative case study was to provide information to African American males regarding barriers they are challenged to navigate for career advancement at mainstream institutions of higher education. I utilized semi structured interviews to: (1) determine what barriers face African American male administrators in higher education that prevent advancement to executive positions; (2) identify and detail ways in which African American male administrators successfully navigate the barriers and; (3) identify coping mechanisms and support systems to aid African American men to navigate the identified barriers.

I identified three themes of barriers that reflect the route of the African American male experience in higher education administration. The first barrier is limited and limiting opportunities, the second, institutional racism, and third, invisibility. These three identified themes of barriers evidence how African American male administrators, regardless of their degrees and experiences, are placed in designated positions and how mainstream institutions are oppressive in their color-blind practices of inequity while allocating funds and resources. The description of these barriers shows how individuals of the dominant culture at mainstream institutions attempt to silence voices while perpetuating the non-existence of African American male administrators in the hierarchy of higher education administration.

Five themes of specific coping mechanisms were identified in this study. Mentoring and networking are the major coping mechanisms that play a significant role how African American male administrators are inspired and inspire one another to navigate the barriers for success.

The implications for mainstream institutions of higher education includes adult educators who can work with higher education administrators in articulating the importance and facilitating practice of inclusion for African American male administrators in the involvement of all facets of decisions made at mainstream institutions of higher education.

Recommendation for future research study includes studying the comparison of African American male administrator’s experiences and degrees held to those of the dominant culture at mainstream institutions of higher education. The outcome would be to determine if there is equality in the selection and placement process in the hierarchal structures of higher education administration.




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