NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
ERIC Number: ED552177
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 151
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-2678-9838-8
How Religious Engagement Shapes the College Experience of African American Christian Males at a Predominantly White Institution: A Phenomenological Approach
Rice, Stephen J.
ProQuest LLC, Ed.D. Dissertation, University of Southern California
Understanding the different aspects of the college experience of African American males in a predominantly White institution is an important topic for researchers. This focus directly responds to the despairing statistics surrounding collegiate African American males, who often show lower graduation rates compared to other racial groups. The need to refocus research is especially urgent given the significant gap between male and female African American college students. One often-overlooked issue concerns the religious engagement of African American Christian males at predominantly White institutions, and how that engagement may shape their college experience. Based on the overwhelming data received by the participants, this study, which originally set out to look at spirituality in African American males, opened up to an exploration of religious engagement. The study aimed to answer the following research question: How does religious engagement shape the college experience of African American Christian males at a predominantly White institution. The research sub question is: How do African American males define spirituality? This study's framework draws upon the research of Alexander Astin, Helen Astin, and Jennifer Lindholm (2011) on the religious life of college students. These researchers categorized how students manage their religious life into three key areas: (a) religious commitment, (b) religious engagement, and (c) religious conservatism. The present study focused mainly on religious engagement. Qualitative methods, specifically phenomenology in the form of one- on-one interviews were used to gather the data. The participants were recruited through a snowball effect, which resulted in 11 students who identified as African American or Black males having a spiritual background (however they defined it) and functioning as full-time students at the host site. The results showed evidence that religious engagement shapes the college experience of African American males at a predominantly White institution. These findings were shown through (a) the various ways that students engaged in their religion lives, (b) how the students used their religious engagement to define their purpose, (c) how the students tried to develop their own personal religious identities, and (d) the importance they granted to creating their own religious communities. New findings from the study included the recognition that students were struggling to deal with aspects of college life that were odds with their religious identities. The student-participants were trying to find ways to navigate conflicting issues in college, such as having sex, partying, and consuming alcohol. At the end of the dissertation, the researcher offers recommendations and implications for university administrators to consider. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A