Degree Name

EdD (Doctor of Education)


Educational Leadership

Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Dr. Jim Lampley

Committee Members

Dr. Hal Knight, Dr. Stephanie Barham


Academic underachievement among Black students, particularly Black male students, is a troubling trend that has long attracted scholarly attention. The prevailing consensus is that the shortcomings of some Black male students in academic achievement may be attributable to traumatic experiences arising from environments of violent, inner-city poverty that disproportionately affect Black men. Traumatic experiences have been shown to negatively affect Black men’s self-perception, emotions, self-image, and social and cognitive skills, with consequences in the form of measured shortfalls in retention and graduation rates. My qualitative, phenomenological study sought to explore how previous traumatic experiences of Black men affected their academic experiences and achievement while attending a community college. This study was conducted in a virtual environment setting using Zoom video conferencing and each interview ran approximately 45 minutes. Ten Black men were selected from a demographic survey to take part in this study. When asked about traumatic experiences, several participants mentioned the death of a family member as affecting their academic progress. Interpersonal loss may contribute to long-term effects on student engagement. Another reoccurring theme was negative stereotypes related to Black men being reinforced intentionally or unintentionally in the classroom. The findings from this study on the social and cultural experiences of Black men may encourage educational leaders to create more effective academic supports and services designed to improve the success rate of Black, male students who have suffered previous traumatic experiences.

Document Type

Dissertation - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.