Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.


Counseling and Human Development

Degree Program

Counseling and Personnel Services, PhD

Committee Chair

Hirschy, Amy S.

Committee Member

Longerbeam, Susan D.

Committee Member

Washington, Ahmad R.

Committee Member

Compton, Dwayne M.

Author's Keywords

social capital; African American; college men


This qualitative dissertation was designed to examine influences which various forms of social capital have on post-secondary degree attainment of first-generation individuals who self-identify as African American men. Additionally, the sample population consisted of Black men who successfully matriculated to earn baccalaureate credentials across differing academic disciplines at a public historically White institution located in the mid-south region of the United States. The research data was extracted from one-on-one, semi-structured interviews using authentic dialogue through open-ended questions. Theoretical paradigms of the study involved a phenomenological approach and an ontological philosophical assumption, integrated with critical theory, critical race theory and social capital theory lenses. The study’s scope was constructed to analyze and interpret the contemporary lived experiences of African American collegiate men, and to extend the existing body of literature within the specified cognate areas. The findings which materialized from analyses of the participants’ data reflected 6 themes regarding the influence of social capital on degree completion of first-generation African American men. They included: (a) resourceful college relationships, (b) co-navigators of success, (c) network benefits, (d) sense of belonging, (e) mutual trust, and (f) race-centric encounters. Aims of the findings from this doctoral study were to provide salient recommendations for researchers within higher education and to underscore vital implications for secondary and post-secondary practitioners, administrators, policymakers, as well as for institutions of higher learning.