Date of Award

Winter 2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Curriculum, Instruction, and Leadership

First Advisor

Dawn Besinger


Academic success among African men has increased but many African-American men continue to fall behind the academic achievements of their Caucasian male counterparts. African-American men who achieve academic success have been marginalized in research that primarily focuses on reporting deficit or negative factors that hinder and not promote academic growth. The purpose of this phenomenological study was to identify environmental, social, and socioeconomic factors that were perceived to contribute to the academic success of African-American men in secondary and post-secondary institutions. The researcher used the Ecological Model of Human Development (EMHD) to identify factors and which systems had the greatest impact on academic achievement. The researcher interviewed ten African-American men who graduated from a secondary and post-secondary institution.

All participants were recorded during a semi-structured interview. Each interview was transcribed using the online transcription company Rev. The researcher coded data based on environmental, social, and socioeconomic factors that contributed to their academic success. Data were further coded based on the systems in the EMHD (i.e. microsystem, mesosystem, exosystem, macrosystem, and chronosystem). The researcher identified seven themes that attributed to academic success:

• Family • Community members and educator support • Intrinsic motivation • High school and college teacher support • College attendance expectations • Peer influence and motivation • Financial assistance

Regardless of research that reports a deficit point of view and the lack of academic achievement among African-American men, positive support from parents, family members, high school and college educators, friends, and members of their community, African-American men can achieve academic success. Even though some African-American men may experience many different positive or negative factors in their academic environment, continuous high levels of academic support in high school and college predicted academic success. The microsystem and mesosystem in the EMHD were found to have a greater impact on the academic success among African-American men over all other factors identified within the remaining EMHD systems.