Dr. William Allan Kritsonis, Dissertation Chair for Mary Ann Springs, Dissertation Defense PPT.
LIVING LEGACIES: A PHENOMENOLOGICAL STUDYOF SEVEN AFRICAN AMERICAN MALEEDUCATIONAL LEADERS AT A SOUTHWESTERNHISTORICALLY BLACK COLLEGE AND UNIVERSITYIN TEXASA Dissertation DefenseByMary Ann SpringsDissertation Chair: William Allan Kritsonis
William Allan Kritsonis, PhD(Dissertation Chair)Dr. Douglas S. Hermond(Member)Dr. Patricia Hoffman-Miller(Member)Dr. Carl Gardiner(Member)Dr. Solomon Osho(Member)
IntroductionAfrican American male leadership is crucial tothe African American community because ofthe rise of Black-on-Black crime, pooracademic performance, the overrepresentationof Black males in special education, anddisproportionate numbers of African Americanmale incarceration in comparison to otherraces (Child’s Aid Society, 2006; Ladson-Billings (1999).
Without proper guidance programs and thenecessary mentors and coaches to help youngAfrican American males, this group may lackthe resilience to work hard and becomeproductive citizens that will carry the legacy ofAfrican American male leadership (Child’s AidSociety, 2006).
The consistent decline of African Americanmale participation and contribution to theAfrican American community could lead to theabsence of future leaders of HBCUs and publicschools in general (Jackson, 2001; Wiley,2001; Woodson, 1933/2005).
Despite these social, political, and culturalbarriers that impede African American males,many do succeed. In fact, African Americanmale educational leaders at HBCUs aresuccessful and have a significant influence onAfrican American male students throughmentorship (Lucas, 2010).
The literature tells us little about the impactand influence of such men; therefore, theresearcher conducted a study that woulddescribe the impact of Critical Race Theory(CRT), what made the subjects of the studyresilient in overcoming societal barriers, andthe significance of mentorship on their journeytoward educational leadership.
The researcher utilized search engines suchas ProQuest, Sage Publications, and EBSCOHost search engines to locate studies on theemergence, essence, and influence of AfricanAmerican male educational leaders whosurvived societal barriers and becamesuccessful at an HBCU in Texas.
The researcher was approved to conduct aphenomenological study devoted to examiningthe emergence of African American maleeducational leadership asperceived, experienced, and exercised byAfrican American male administrators of anHBCU in Southwest Texas.
Research QuestionsResearch QuestionsThe following research questions guided thestudy. According to Marshall and Rossman, ascited in Creswell (2007), the central question of aphenomenological study should be explanatoryin nature when little is known about a particularphenomenon and descriptive when describingpatterns related to the phenomenon.
Research Question #1What was the evolution of leadership over thepast three decades of seven African Americanmale educational leaders from a SouthwesternHistorically Black College and University?
Research Question #2What critical moments in history haveimpacted the educational leadership style(s)of seven African American male educationalleaders from a Southwestern HistoricallyBlack College and University?
Research Question #3Which leaders from the past have left animpression on seven African American maleeducational leaders from a SouthwesternHistorically Black College and University?
Research Question #4In the face of social, political, or racialadversities, what influenced the decisions ofseven African American male educationalleaders at a Southwestern Historically BlackCollege and University?
Research Question #5What is the essence of the leadership of sevenAfrican American male educational leaders ata Southwestern Historically Black College andUniversity?
Research Question #6How has the leadership of seven AfricanAmerican male educational leaders influencedstudents, policy, the development of programs,strategies, and curriculum at a SouthwesternHistorically Black College and University?
Purpose of the Study The purpose of this study was to conduct aphenomenological investigation that gave voice toseven African American male educational leaders. The study examined the emergence ofeducational leadership and its impact on AfricanAmerican males as perceived, experienced andexercised by African American maleadministrators of a Historically Black College andUniversity (HBCU) in Southwest Texas.
Significance of the Study Absence of Black leadership and Black mentors willnot only negatively impact public and post-secondaryschools that educate African American males but willimpact these young men by decreasing their influenceand visibility at the social, political, economical, andeducational levels (Stupak, 2008). Failure in these areas could ultimately affect thenation as a whole when considering true and timelyreformation.
The researcher conducted a hermeneuticalphenomenological study that focused on the lifeexperiences of seven African American maleeducational leaders at an HBCU. This study may serve as a tool to restore what"excellence in action" looked like in the form ofphenomenology, the re-creation of livedexperiences.
The desired outcome was four-fold:1. To foster the meaningful paternal relationships from senioreducational leaders to succeeding generations;2. To teach and share leadership characteristics with youngmale youth of all backgrounds;3. To encourage African American males to graduate; and4. To inspire and motivate African American males aspiringleadership positions in public and higher education.
8 The study highlighted seven African American male educationalleaders and gave them opportunity to be heard with minimalinterpretation from the researcher. This study did not reflect the thoughts and opinions of the entireAfrican American male educational leadership population; neitherwas the narrative experiences of the participants germane to allAfrican American male educational leaders but included the uniqueexperiences of the seven participants of the study. The study added to the limited body of research on AfricanAmerican male educational leadership among HBCUs in theSouthwest region of the United States.
Personal Statement According to Moustakas, as cited by Creswell(2007), “the first step toward "phenomenologicalreduction" in the analysis of the data is for theresearcher to set aside all preconceived ideas orexperiences in order to best understand theexperiences of the participants” (p. 235). The researcher therefore shared her experienceswith risk and protective factors that have framedher interpretation of leadership.
Delimitations of the Study This study looked at seven African Americanmale administrators, therefore eliminating theexperiences and contributions of AfricanAmerican female administrators. Theparticipants of the study have all served aseducational leaders at a Southwestern HBCU.
In addition, the participants of the study arecurrently serving as a professor oradministrator at the university chosen for thestudy. The participants of the study haveserved the same HBCU for 30 or more years.Based on the criterion, seven AfricanAmerican male educational leaders emerged asparticipants for the study.
LimitationsFirst, participants narrative expressions maybe limited to the researchers ability to usestrong and descriptive language in order toaccurately report the experience.
Second, since the study and experiences arespecific to the participants in question, thereproduction of this study for a largerpopulation with different demographic andracial make-up could change the outcome.
Third, since participants shared experiencesfrom the past, their expressions may be limitedto their capacity to recollect information.
Fourth, the study depended upon the honestresponses of the participants while sharingtheir experiences.
Fifth, since the seven participants are activelyserving as leaders or as teachers, theiravailability was limited when schedulinginterviews.
Sixth, the demographic survey asked foroccupational information that could potentiallyreveal the participants identity. Theparticipants were given the liberty to answer ornot answer any portion of the questionnaire.
Literature Review In order to understand the phenomenon ofAfrican American male leadership, it isimportant to understand their history as apeople. The aftermath of slavery, racism, andinequality has left a negative impact on theplight of African American males at theeducational, social, and political levels(Woodson, 1933/2005).
It is important to note that these risk factorshave significantly decreased the pool ofAfrican American males as future leaders insociety (Eatman, 2000; Green, 2001; Wiley,2001). Racism and inequality has had a majorimpact on African Americans and continues toaffect many aspects of their lives.
The literature review began with the history ofBlack education in the South, the rise andsignificance of Historically Black Colleges andUniversities (HBCU), and the establishment ofAfrican American male leaders at the nationallevel. Leadership styles of African American men wereexamined in addition to their barriers in highereducation.
The review also revealed the significance ofmentorship for future generations of AfricanAmerican males and discussed Critical Raceand Resiliency Theories. The literature reviewconcluded by identifying risk factors thatpotentially threaten African American males.
In general, the following were examined relative to the literature review:• History of Black Education in the South• Critical Moments in African American History• Black Leaders and Politics• The Jim Crow Laws and Segregation• The Black Power and Civil Rights Movements• The Black Family and Community• The Rise of African American Leadership and National Leaders• Leadership Styles of African American Men• Frederick Douglas
• Henry Highland Garnet• Marcus Garvey• William Edward Burghardt DuBois• Malcom X• Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.• Educational Leaders of African American HBCUs• Black Faculty in Higher Education• African American Male Administrators in Higher education• A Brief History of HBCU Educational Leaders• Leadership Demands
• The Significance of Mentorship for African American Males• Critical Race Theory• Resiliency Theory• Risk Factors that Threaten African American Male Youth
Methodology1. Chapter three described the methodology for this study by defining the researchdesign, participant selection and description, data collection method, and analysis.2. The researcher described the qualitative methodology used for the study and gave the rationalefor the methodological selection. The research design and the role of the researcher werealso detailed.3. Data collection included interviews, demographic information, artifacts, and vitas.
Subjects of the StudySeven participants were selected based upon criterion samplingThe following criteria were used to determine the participants for thestudy: African American male, educational leaders or teachers who becameleaders at a Southwestern HBCU in Texas, served the university for 30 or moreyears, and currently serves as an educational leader at the same SouthwesternHBCU. Successful African American male leaders would include theattainment of a doctoral degree and stabilization of employment.
Instrumentation1. The study required the use of four forms ofdata: demographic information, interviewquestions, artifact observations, and vitas.2. Each participant was asked to complete ademographic instrument prior to schedulinginterviews. The instrument included familial,educational, and occupational information.
3. The researcher scheduled three face-to-face in-depth interview sessions with each participantcomprised of open-ended and semi-structuredinterview questions.4. The same questions were asked of eachparticipant, and when necessary, a follow-upquestion for clarification to a previous response.
5. For the purpose of the study, interviewquestions were experience or behavioral innature. The researcher interviewed AfricanAmerican male educational leaders who sharedtheir past and present experiences andbehaviors which led to their success.
6. Each interview session was audio tapedwith the participants consent. The researcherused an interview protocol that included theresearch questions and space to write notes orresponses. The audio tapes were latertranscribed by the researcher.
7. The observations included artifacts such asphotos, letters of excellence in leadership fromsupervisors, peers, and former students, plaques,awards/programs honoring the participants, andpublic documents were video-taped at theparticipants’ office or home.8. In addition, each participant was asked toprovide an updated vita that included workhistory, publications, and honors.
Data Analysis Table 1 includes the six research questions thatguided the study and the data collectioninstruments. The letters "IQ" represent eachinterview question as they align with eachresearch question. An X represents data used for triangulation. Theresearch questions were answered in thefollowing manner:
Research question one was answered by interview question one ofthe interview instrument. The demographic survey, observationalartifacts, and vitas were used for triangulation and verificationpurposes. Research question two was answered by interview question two. Research question three was answered by interview question four.
Research question four was answered by interview question three. Research question five was answered by interview questions sevenand eight. Research question six was answered by interview questions five andsix. The information from the participants demographic survey,vitas, and artifacts were used for triangulation purposes.
Table 1 Data Collection__________________________________________________________________________________Question No. Interview Instrument Observations of Artifacts Vita__________________________________________________________________________________Research Question 1 IQ 1 X XResearch Question 2 IQ 2Research Question 3 IQ 4Research Question 4 IQ 3Research Question 5 IQ 7 & 8Research Question 6 IQ5& 6 X X__________________________________________________________________________________Note. Research questions will be answered by the interview instrument (IQ). The X represents data that will be used fortriangulation. Demographic information will be used for triangulation as well.
The analysis of the data was guided by CriticalRace/Resiliency Theories, and mentorship. Theprocess began by bracketing or suspending theresearchers personal bias concerning leadership. The researcher read and horizontalized thetranscribed interview responses and observationsby describing how the participants hadexperienced leadership.
Triangulation was employed to validate thefindings. The researcher also allowed theparticipants to review their responses and makerevisions, omit, or add additional comments. Once the data was analyzed, the results werereported through a combination of narration,tables, and figures.
Data Analysis Chapter four contained the narration of thehistorical, social, and reflective aspects ofleadership among seven African Americanmale educational leaders and how theyovercame barriers in the attainment of theircareer goals.
The data analysis process began with uploading allaudio-taped interviews into the researcher’s computer. An individual file was created for each participantwith the letter A representing participant1, letter B forparticipant 2, letter C for participant 3, letter D forparticipant 4, letter E for participant 5, letter F forparticipant 6, and letter G for participant 7. A similarfile was created for the participants’ observations ofartifacts.
Research QuestionsThe researcher of the following questions for the study:1. What is the evolution of leadership over thepast three decades of seven African Americanmale educational leaders from a SouthwesternHistorically Black College and University?
2. What critical moments in history haveimpacted the educational leadership style(s) ofseven African American male educationalleaders from a Southwestern HistoricallyBlack College and University?
3. Which leaders from the past have left animpression on seven African American maleeducational leaders from a SouthwesternHistorically Black College and University?
4. In the face of social, political, or racialadversities, what influenced the decisions ofseven African American male educationalleaders from a Southwestern HistoricallyBlack College and University?
5. What is the essence of the leadership ofseven African American male educationalleaders from a Southwestern HistoricallyBlack College and University?
6. How has the leadership of seven AfricanAmerican male educational leaders influencedstudents, policy, helped develop programs,strategies, curriculum, or theories from aHistorically Black College and University?
Narrative Responses1. When and how did your journey toward leadership begin?2. Throughout your life, what social, educational, or political risk factors did youexperience as potential road-blocks in the pursuit of your career goals and how didyou overcome them?3. What do you contribute to most of your ability to overcome barriers throughout your career as aneducational leader?4. During your life as a young man, who were the leaders that inspired you, what qualities did theypossess and how did these qualities influence your leadership?
5. How do you think African American male educational leadership adds value to the mainstreamof society?6. Provide examples of how your legacy has impacted the lives of students/formerstudents by implementation of leadership programs, strategies, curriculum, and theoriestargeted toward African American males. Describe policies, political office, or positions ofpower that assisted seven educational leaders in becoming change agents of local, state, ornational policy.7. Describe what it means to be an African American male in a leadership position that helpedpave the way for African American males.8.What keeps seven African American male educational leaders continuing their life of service?
Research Question #1What was the evolution of leadership over thepast three decades of seven African Americanmale educational leaders from a SouthwesternHistorically Black College and University?
Participant AI believe my journey toward leadership actually started when Iwas probably in elementary school. I think some of myteachers recognized that I had a gift for teaching. I wasactually, I guess, a kind of peer tutor. I didnt know what I wasdoing back then in those days; I was just doing what I wasasked to do. When I think about it though, thats how theyutilized the gift that I had to support other students. I think thatwas when my journey toward leadership began.
Participant BI suppose it began when I started participating asan athlete in school. It was in elementaryschool…physical education, when I startedplaying sports. I found that my teammates askedme to do certain things, or be in charge of certainthings. They would say such things as, “Let me beon your team.” I guess you would call that thequality of a leader…when others want to be withyou. That was when I first started noticing myself.
Participant CI would say that my leadership journey began inhigh school. When I was growing up in the rural,segregated South, I participated in a program whichwas called the “New Farmers of America” (NFA).As part of that we, went through leadership training.We were taught leadership skills and givenopportunities to participate in leadership.
Participant DMost of my interaction was with family, and Ithink leadership kind of started from thisinteraction. My great-grandfather wasinstrumental in my pursuit of education becausehe developed one of the first Black schools inWaller County.
Participant EUnfortunately, my mother died when I was eight years old, somy aunt, who was my father’s sister, came to live with us. Shewas a teacher, and she really inspired me to be a teacherwithout a direct influence.Apparently, somebody recognized leadership skills within meand felt that I could make a contribution. I seized upon theopportunity to serve, and whatever I participated in, I alwaysgave it my best.
Participant FWell, I think I was born a leader really. I alwayswanted to do the best at whatever I set my mindto accomplish; it was just a natural thing. Myparents didn’t have to make me do anythingbecause I was self-motivated.
Participant GMy journey toward leadership began in collegewhen I was exposed to one person in particular, acoach. As a young boy, the coach would allowme to watch the team practice. I had a greatamount of respect for him and the way he ledthat team.
Research Question #2What critical moments in history have impactedthe educational leadership styles(s) of sevenAfrican American male educational leaders froma Southwestern Historically Black College andUniversity?
Participant AGrowing up, I can recall the separate waterfountains. I can recall having to ride in the backof the bus. We always had to make sure wecarried food. When we were on trips, we couldntalways and didnt know if there would be placesto stop.
There was nothing to compare it to because you didnt knowany other way of life. During Integration, I couldnt understandwhy the Black administrators, the counselors, and the seniorEnglish teachers at the high school, were given positions of lesserauthority and prestige. These experiences caused me to take risksin fighting for what I thought was right; even today, as a leader, Itake risks, but they are calculated risks.
Participant BWell, the Jim Crow Law itself was anunconstitutional law that said certain things about ahuman, and I grew up with that law. That law saidthat you were not equal to other people, but itafforded an opportunity for you to develop yourpotential. The Civil Rights movement afforded manyBlack males an opportunity to participate inmanhood…to participate in standing for somethingthat they felt was just and right.
Participant CWell, communities were segregated. We had Black leadership in the Blackcommunity. We had Black neighborhoods and Black businesses, even in thesmall towns. You could easily identify leadership because it started with thechurches. The churches were always a powerful force in the community. Thoseindividuals were the outgoing people, the people with resources. So they werelooked up to as leaders in the Black community. But opportunities were stilllimited. So, this caused me to alter my goals to pursue education and attainmy advanced degrees.
Participant DDuring my formative years, racism was prevalent, but Iwas never exposed to it. Even though we heard about theracial turmoil of the nation, we were sheltered within ourcommunities and them in theirs. We just accepted it as away of life. If there’s something blocking my path, Ibelieved that I could still get there some kind of way. Onehas to work around the obstacles in order to reach theirdestination. I never recognized the challenges of racism.
Participant EIn the era in which I grew- up, if you were aspiring to be a leader, youwere aspiring to be a leader in the context of a Jim Crow and not aworld situation. The Jim Crow Era afforded opportunities for male rolemodels as teachers since career options were limited.I think that the integration we fought for as a race hurt us, as Whitepublic schools took the best Black teachers and placed them wherepredominately White students were taught. Before these moments inmy life, I believed in participatory democracy. I didn’t see any majorobstacle that kept me from getting to the point I wanted to be.
Participant FOne of the things I felt was awesome during segregationwas that we had the HBCUs. As a result of the CivilRights Movement, the doors opened and gave us anopportunity to prove our capability of handling situationsthat faced us. The negative part of the movement was thatsome people probably would not have put us in positionswe had the capacity to fulfill.
Participant GGrowing up in the Black community gave us such a strong foundation.Having strong mentors and role models that demonstrated excellence intheir field was a source of inspiration for me. The Civil Rights Movementhad a great impact.It allowed African American males to demonstrate their leadership. Dr.King used his logic and reasoning in understanding how to move theAfrican American community toward equality. These events have notchanged my leadership philosophy; so, if you ask me today what myleadership style is; Id say my leadership style is open and transparent.
Research Question #3Which leaders from the past have left animpression on seven African American maleeducational leaders from a SouthwesternHistorically Black College and University?
Participant AThere were the principals of the school that inspiredme, and certainly my father and mother. Mymentors were my ministers, Dr. Martin Luther KingJr., Presidents Kennedy, Eisenhower, and, later,Ronald Reagan, and even international leaders. So, Ithink that the people that inspired me were peoplewho provided leadership in such a way that got thejob done.
Participant BThere is a laundry list of males who inspired me. There werecoaches, physical education teachers, principals, spiritualleaders, gentlemen in the community, presidents of myuniversity, and presidents who were my fraternity brothers.Those were the kinds of people that I gravitated to. For me, itgoes back to the people who were your mentors and those yourespected and wanted to be like. If I were to describethem…they all had integrity and self-discipline; theirdemeanor seemed to be so fair and just.
Participant CMy father brought us up fearing God, and he taught us to workfor what we wanted. I was inspired in college when I started tolearn about Martin Luther King Jr., Ralph Abernathy, JulianBond, Andy Young, and some of the mega-church leaders. Thething that I saw were good, righteous, upstanding men, whohad family values, and were educated. That’s what I wanted tobe. And, I remember watching Martin Luther King Jr.. He waswilling to sacrifice everything to help bring others along.
Participant DWhile growing up in the country, I was exposed to Sam Tucker, a Blackcowboy. At a young age, I would have liked to have patterned my lifeafter his. He was a strong Black man, who would tell stories of how hegrew up. He was just a strong person. His demeanor was so calm...hewas just outstanding. He took responsibility for his wife, worked at theranch, and took care of his people. As a foreman, he made sureeveryone worked together well at the ranch. He was hard-working. Hisstyle was not authoritative, and you never heard him holler at anyone;he would just go to work.
Participant EI, undoubtedly, attribute my ascension intoadministration to the president of the University atthe time. I had no aspirations to be an administrator,but I rose to the occasion when my talents andabilities were needed. He had well-organized andwell-defined goals. Once a task was started, it had tobe finished. Dr. Thomas emphasized these virtues.
Participant FWell, my inspiration to be a leader came from my dad. He wasthe embodiment of a champion. I had role models during highschool and college that had a great impact on me. Whileattending the university as a student, I had three Blackprofessors who became my mentors. I had an outstandingexample of leadership from the president of the university atthe time. They were caring and you could touch them becausethey were approachable. They were all about the students.
Participant GDr. Patterson was one of the leaders that I really admired. Pattersonthen went on to become the president of Hampton University, and hehelped organized the Negro College Fund. One of my professors ofbiology at the University was another mentor. The president was goodat bringing quality leaders to the University. I was so impressed withthe administrators and teachers at the University. Their educationallevel was second to none. So, I was exposed to many great teachers andleaders who inspired me to become an educator. They just had thewinning philosophy.
Research Question #4In the face of social, political, or racialadversities, what influenced the decisions ofseven African American male educationalleaders from a Southwestern HistoricallyBlack College and University?
Participant AWhenever something comes up, I still kind of weigh the risks involved.There are certain things you do, whether the risk is high or low, becauseits something you have to do. Over the years, I have developed aneclectic style of leadership. I try to reach consensus; now that doesn’talways work.I also recognize that barriers are often self-imposed. I guess I dont seea lot of barriers. It may be a slight detour that may have caused me toslow down in pursuing something, but it was not a barrier.
Participant BThere may be a term called demands, but I dont see them asbarriers; I see them as demands to be successful. And, if youwish to be successful in this arena, these are the demands youhave to meet. For example: If you learn what is correct, eventhough the law said Im not privileged to mix with you, Im notdenied the opportunity to know what you know becauseleadership qualities and skills are not owned by anybody. Myleadership style is one of respect for the individuals in which I interact.
Participant CI would say my faith in God… I dont talk about it a lot, but thats beenthe big stabilizer for me. Going through many challenges, I couldalways know that going back to Biblical scripture and reading myfavorites would give me comfort in knowing that in the end, Im goingto be okay. When I saw the direction, the impact that segregation, nowdesegregation, was having, it made me change my thinking. These jobsare not going to be there for me in the future. So, I thought maybe Ishould set my sights on the college level. Over the years, I’ve learnedthat you get more done through democratic leadership.
Participant DIt’s hard to answer why those experiences didn’t stop me… Iguess it’s like going from here to that building outside. I canwalk straight, or I can go around to get to the building. Ifthere’s something blocking my path, I believed that I couldstill get there some kind of way. Racism was one of thosefactors. One has to work around the obstacles in order to reachtheir destination. I never recognized the challenges of racism;I knew I would reach my goals one way or another.
Participant EOne has to keep a positive frame of mind. I’ve never been anegative person. I speak positively and look on the bright side ofthings. If you have confidence in your ability, then you will worktoward accomplishing your goals. When I was in college, I wentto Black schools and White students went to White schools. Ifinished college in the 1950’s and went to graduate school, but Idid not find this arrangement to be a handicap; I discovered that itwas a strength. I believe in participatory democracy.
Participant FMy dedication to education has helped students to understandthat they cant get anywhere without working hard and to bethe best that they can be. I teach those ideas, and demonstrateto them what it takes to be a great thinker. I teach them to havea positive attitude, and that if anybody else could do it, theycould, too. We dont have that kind of enrichment of Blackprofessors anymore. Its scary that nobody cares about ouryoung Black males. I put blood, sweat and tears into mystudents…I work night and day trying to help them.
Participant GHaving knowledge and being educated were factors that helpedme to overcome challenges, in addition to having strong mentorsand role models that demonstrated excellence in their field. So,yes, there were laws, and we knew those laws; but we wereintelligent enough to abide by them, and not allow the laws tosubjugate us to inferiority. These events did not alter myleadership style…I’ve always believed in transparency andconsensus among the group.
Research Question #5What is the essence of the leadership of sevenAfrican American male educational leadersfrom a Southwestern Historically BlackCollege and University?
Participant AI see it as a big responsibility being in a position toencourage younger Black males to do the best they can.Im trying to make sure that younger Black males havemany experiences to lead and take advantage ofopportunities that come up. I just worry when I see Blackmales that are being placed in positions where they maynot have that same kind of encouragement, which is why Itake mentoring very seriously.
3 Participant BFor me…if I were to sum it up… if I can help somebody, letme do that. When a male sees me, Id like for him to see anddesire to use many of those strategies that he sees within me.We have to set examples as leaders to inspire them to emulatethe qualities of a leader; therefore, we must lead correctly.There are many people who are leaders, but their behavior isunacceptable. Therefore, African American males who arelooking at those types of leaders need to be careful of whatthey choose.
Participant CIn my graduate school days, we talked about how we weretreated different and were held to different expectations. Butat the same time, we had a responsibility to stand strong. WhatI mean was that there has always been a double or triplestandard. Standards are not the same if youre a Black man.So, I learned that its not really the position that youre in thatmatters; its what you do with the one you have. The example Itried to set was to do all I could to the best of my abilitywherever I went.
Participant DServing as an African American educational leader means having theability to impact the lives of people. The heart of my leadership hasbeen the power to “impact”. If you look at a medical doctor, while hemay be the one who is making the impact, he can only touch oneperson at a time.But, as an educator, you have the potential to reach twenty, thirty,forty, or perhaps a hundred people at one time. So, impacting the livesof people... that is the key. That is what educational leadership means tome.
Participant EI think we are here to make a contribution. You have tomake some type of impact on society. And if you’re goingto do it, you give your best to the people with whom youare interacting.The students are our clientele. If you made any impact,then you should certainly inspire the student to pursue theprofession to which they aspire.
Participant FIt feels great. Its a joy. Its outstanding, considering the impact that Ivehad on young people at the University and beyond. The reputation ofmy teaching style has encouraged students to come to my alma mataseeking my instruction.The journey has been great, and as I sit back and reflect, I know I didntcheat my students. They were successful all across the country becausethey had the background knowledge. I thank God for that, and it hasbeen a blessing to have influenced the lives of my students.
Participant G“I think it was an accomplishment.”
Research Question #6How has the leadership of seven AfricanAmerican male educational leaders influencedstudents, policy, the development of programs,strategies, and curriculum at a SouthwesternHBCU in Texas?
Participant AFor society, in general, I think the African Americanpopulation brings the ability to solve problems that maycome from a different perspective. How did we surviveduring the Jim Crow era?How did we survive when people thought we were lessthan human? I think just that “survival instinct” issomething we can bring to the table.
Participant BServing as a role model is important. There is adisconnect in what I think the young Black malestoday, based upon the period in time in whichthey are growing up, have tried to redefine somebasic things like respect, integrity, and honesty.
Participant CWell, even now, we’ve made a lot of progress, but there’s stilla lot of work to be done with this whole issue of race. AsAfrican Americans, we were taught to get an education, butthat was still not enough...opportunities still won’t be equal.So, you basically have to out work your competition, and betwice as good; you have to understand that going in. You canget through some of that, but youve got to be willing to workextra hard to overcome inequality.
Participant DThe truth is “uncompromising” discipline…That’s probablythe best description of what African American male leadersoffer. In my opinion, this quality kind of sums up whatPresident Obama represents: truthful, uncompromisingdiscipline, which indicates that he knows what needs to bedone. The President has people challenging him in manydifferent ways, yet he demonstrates the strong ability to listento them. Even as President of the United States of America,Barack Obama is still denied the respect he deserves.
Participant EFirst of all, there is a great need for the representation of role modelsamong all ethnic groups. I believe that seeing various ethnic groups inleadership roles provide hope and the possibility of being successful inlife.If young adults have never witnessed someone from their ethnicbackground in certain positions of authority, then their aspirationscould be limited. For example: witnessing Barack Obama as thePresident of the United States of America was a historical event forAfrican Americans.
Participant FWhen people of other groups recognize our accomplishmentsas African-Americans, they are amazed. Schools dont teachBlack history to White students, Asians, or whomever, so theydont know that Black people have made significantcontributions to society.President Obama has made an impact now, but the struggle toovercome had already been established by Dr. King and othersin what they had done for society.
Participant GThe first thing that educational leaders mustunderstand is that theyre not bosses; they’releaders. Leaders command they dont demand.As a leader, you have to clearly understand andbecome familiar with the people that youreworking with and serving.
Research Question #6 (cont.)How has the leadership of seven AfricanAmerican male educational leaders influencedstudents, policy, the development of programs,strategies, and curriculum from a SouthwesternHistorically Black College and University?
(part two-policy/programs, etc) Participant AWell, I’ll give one example: the Capital Campaign….We raised $33 million when the economy was down. Iwas on the Faculty Advisory Committee at the districtlevel. I’ve written and continue to write policies for theUniversity.
Participant BIn my case, individuals are privileged to write an acknowledgment in their researchpapers in my class. I have just hundreds of acknowledgments that express theirappreciation for helping them to conduct research correctly.For the 55 years that Ive been here, Ive been able to lead in some of the highestlevels of leadership because of the reputation that I have developed in high schooland by men who served as my mentors. Ive been privileged to have a reputation ofsomeone that knows how to get a job done as it relates to leadership. When youlook at my legacy, when you look at my background, people voted me into thosepositions.
Participant CIm proud that I was responsible for a program that started back in 1982, theResearch Apprentice Program (RAP). We exposed the students to role modelsand mentors, field trips, industries, and other places; A lot of PhDs, MDs andJDs have come through the program and are very successful.Probably one of the highest positions that Ive served was chair of theExperimental Station Committee on Policy back in 2005-2006. We had a lot todo with the formation of the 2008 Farm Bill, in which we set policies andprograms that impacted agriculture; I was an integral part of writing that bill.
Participant DWell, some of my former students have went on to obtain their PhDs . I guess over eighteen years, I can say that I helped in thedevelopment of the electrical engineering curriculum and pushedfor the establishment of seven engineering labs; When I wasserving as the interim dean, I presented the administration withthe Masters in Electrical Engineering with the possibility ofdesigning a PhD program in a few years. So, I introduced theconcept and the information on how to get the programs started.
Participant EIn fifty-eight years I have touched a lot of students. Iimagine, at that time, I am sure there are at least 400 or500 physicians that I have taught, and it’s something to beproud of. At one time, every student that went to medicalschool had to take my class. As the department head, Iwas involved in curriculum changes in biology, whichincluded the input of faculty members.
Participant FJust about all of the students in engineering wereinfluenced by me because they were required to takemy class. This number also included high schoolsacross the state of Texas and other schools in thenation. As a faculty, we have been able to writeproposals and get grants for millions of dollars tosponsor programs that benefited the students.
Participant GI have a list of students who have graduated and gone tomedical school from 2000-2011, and it reads as follows: theUniversity of Texas Medical Branch, Tulane University,Baylor College of Medicine, Boston University College ofMedicine, Brown University Program of Medicine, HowardUniversity, Indiana University, John Hopkins School ofMedicine, Meharry Medical College, Michigan StateUniversity of Medicine, New York College of OsteopathicMedicine,
Ohio University, Oklahoma State School ofOsteopathic Medicine, Philadelphia College ofOsteopathic Medicine, Russia Medical,Temple University, Texas A&M University,Texas Tech University,
The University of California, University ofCincinnati School of Medicine, and theUniversity of Florida College of Medicine.
Findings, Implications, and RecommendationsData Analysis The analysis yielded six common themes thatwere identified as protective factors to the successof the seven participants of the study:a. Recognition of and opportunities forleadership;b. Recognition of the positive and negativeimpact of segregation and integration;
c. Community, family, and national leaders as mentors;d. Negative risk factors were not acknowledged asroadblocks;e. African American males impact and continued service toyouth;f. Influence inside and outside of the school community.
Common ThemesA. Recognition and Opportunities for Leadership The evolution of the leadership for the majority of the participants seemedto have originated during their formative years, some as early as elementary school.All seven participants pointed out that individuals such as teachers, peers , family andadministrators were significant to their leadership development.The recognition of their talents and leadership qualities allowed the appointment orelection into leadership positions. It was during segregation in Black schools thateach participant was given the opportunity to recognize experiencesand exercise their leadership ability.Benson, 2010; Berry, 2008; and Bacon, 2002 were studies that also found that AfricanAmerican male educational leaders were critical to the development , nurturing,and empowerment of students.
These men pursued education as a career pathby influence or limited job opportunities.During their tenure at the University, as youngmen, they were given the opportunity to fillleadership positions at an HBCU. Some took on the responsibilities and title ofa specific position yet did not receive the pay.
B. Recognized Negative and Positive Impacts of Segregation and Integration All seven participants agreed that the Jim Crow era had accomplished itsmission of establishing a culture of inequality and separatism that eventuallybecame the norm. On the contrary, all seven of the participants agreed that segregation andthe laws became a protective factor by providing African American males theopportunity to exercise their leadership and manhood by solving political andsocial problems that the nations leaders would not address. Gritter (2010)found that while participants were subject to the laws at the time, Blacksoutherners used their knowledge and intellect to advance the education oftheir people.
Although the aftermath of discrimination and inequality wereexperienced throughout their lives, the seven participants did not view suchcritical moments in history for African Americans as risk factors or barriersto their success. Jordan-Taylor (2010) examine the resiliency of ninesouthern educators in overcoming inequality and returning to the South toprovide better educational experiences for African American students. Five out of the seven participants agreed that the struggles that they had toendure did not affect their philosophy of leadership because it had alreadybeen established through their list of mentors and role models.
Two out of the seven participants noted that during theearly stages of their leadership, they were autocratic in theirapproach but later developed a more democratic andeclectic approach. The issues that were presented during their livedexperiences were viewed as challenges that could bedefeated through faith and belief that they could overcome,financial independence, knowledge, taking risks for the sakeof the cause, and access to dynamic role-models thatunderstood the mission of cultivating a strong AfricanAmerican nation.
C. Community, Family, and National Leaders as Mentors The seven participants stated their mentors and rolemodels were a kaleidoscope of local and nationalleaders at the familial, community, educational, spiritualand national levels. Frazier (2009) found that family,community, and national leaders were critical to therecognition, selection, and development of AfricanAmerican leadership.
All seven participants, identified teachers andeducational administrators as mentors and rolemodels. The participants expressed how theirmentors led by example by way of integrity,discipline, teamwork, goal orientation,perseverance, education, and compassion(Scott, 2011).
The lives of these men and women were socompelling that the seven participants wereinspired to imitate the qualities andcharacteristics they saw exercised by theirmentors and role models, which became thefoundation and later, the bedrock of theirleadership (Jackson, 2008).
The seven participants attributed their careersuccess in the field of education to parents orfamily members, teachers, administrators, andnational leaders during pivotal moments inBlack history.
According to the participants of the researcher’sstudy, African American communities were powerfuland developed outstanding educational values whenthey embraced the same ideals as a collective group(DuBois, 1903/2003; Woodson, 1933/2005).
One participant felt strongly that the Blackcommunity lost its sense of direction whenAfrican American national leaders wereassassinated. Because no alternative leaderwas in place after the assination of Dr. MartinLuther King Jr., the African Americancommunity lacked a sense of direction.
Another participant concluded that after AfricanAmericans gained a degree of rights and equality,though not complete, the struggle to fight for ajust cause diminished. He believed this slowed the momentum ofcontinuing to gain knowledge, exercising anddemanding excellence from oneself and the valueof community and church.
Although all seven participants are activelyengaged in mentoring African American maleyouth, the degree, impact, and results of theirmentoring has not been quantified. The study revealed that mentoring was a strongpredictor of success for African American males.Further study on the practice and roles ofuniversity mentors was needed.
D. Negative Risk Factors Not Acknowledged as Roadblocks As it pertains to social, political, and racial barriers thathad the potential to serve as a roadblock to the participantssuccess, five out of the seven participants did not recognizebarriers as a force to circumvent their career goals. Eachviewed barriers as opportunities to exercise their faith, acquireknowledge to meet the demands of unjust laws, develop apositive attitude, and develop strong work ethics (Daniel,2006; Adell, 2004; Kennedy, 2008).
The majority of the participants mentioned theimportance of role models. Four participantsmentioned their faith in God as a protectivefactor in overcoming barriers to success.Overall, the participants of the study hadaccess to an array of positive role models andstrong family connections.
E. African American Males Continued Service to Impact Youth When asked about the importance of AfricanAmerican males as educational leaders tosociety, the commonality among the sevenparticipants responses was having theopportunity to influence the lives of students(Barker, 2009).
The participants attributed their resiliency, to role modeling forassurance of core values, education, double standard work ethics,uncompromising discipline, and effective people skills. Possessingthe ability to overcome barriers from a different cultural perspectiveenabled Participant A to bounce back from the impact of unjustlaws.Walker (2007) exploration of 12 African American male leadersutilized their social and academic knowledge to enhance theirleadership skills in actively serving their institutions, which servedas a buffer against negative stereotyping.
Participants B, C and D felt that serving as rolemodels could guide and preserve values thatdefine manhood. Participant F postulated thatthe absence of African American history inmainstream schools have robbed society of therich contributions and intellect of AfricanAmericans.
The participants who no longer serve in anadministrative role are back in the classroomreported having more satisfaction and an evengreater potential to touch the lives of studentswho need to see examples of successfulAfrican-American male leaders.
F. Influence Inside and Outside of the School CommunityOver 30 years of experience in educational leadership in the area of theendowments and grant proposals were represented by four out of the sevenparticipants such as the “Capital Campaign”, agriculture, math/science, andbiology grant proposals.These funds provide scholarships for students and fund programs and researchprojects. All seven participants either developed policy or curriculum at theuniversity, state, or national levels. Lucas (2010) and Howard (2007) revealedthat service/partnerships in and outside the school community supports studentgrowth and the value of civic engagement.
All seven participants expressed theirfulfillment in serving as mentors/role models totheir students. The medical profession/schoolsacross the nation have accepted myriads ofstudents because of the reputation established bytwo of the participants.
The same is true of the engineering program.One of the seven participants of the study hadthe opportunity to impact his son who nowserves society as a medical doctor. Six out ofthe seven participants had former students whostarted in their program and have earneddegrees at the Master’s and PhD level.
While only a few participants of theresearchers study have had an impact onsociety at the state, national, and internationallevels, all seven of the participants agreed thatinfluencing, serving, and shaping the lives ofstudents was their primary goal and the reasonthey looked forward to coming to work everyday.
HBCUs Helped Prepare Students for SuccessAccording to the participants, HBCUs werehavens during segregation because theyprovided examples of great educational rolemodels, exposed African Americans to whatwas taking place in mainstream society as itrelated to the establishment of neworganizations (i.e. Boy Scouts and scholasticevents), and major educational events amongAfrican American school communities acrossthe nation.
The seven participants began their career inleadership/ teaching at an HBCU and thus,have made significant contributions to theuniversity and have mentored and influencednumerous students’ in the actualization of theircareer goals.
Dedication to Excellence and Strong Work Ethics According to Fraizer (2009), African American maleadministrators have gone through many challengesduring their leadership journey as it relates to racism andinjustice, yet maintained their resiliency inattaining their career goals.
In addition, the study confirms theresearcher’s findings in that such barriersencouraged the development of resiliencythrough faith, strong work ethics, a positivemental attitude, education, a strong self-concept, access to education, and powerfulrole-models and mentors.
Many participants were not privileged tohave their college tuition paid for, so they hadto work and save the money or join the service.This concept goes back to the idea that nothingin life is free. True success means putting fortha significant amount of effort and mentaldiscipline.
These men’s goals were crystallized as well.They knew they wanted to pursue educationbut didn’t realize they would end up aseducational leaders at an HBCU. All sevenparticipants have held (and some continue tohold) an administrative position. Most of theparticipants are back in the classrooms asinstructors/administrators.
Injustice Gave Birth to the Demand to be Successful Five out of the seven participants did notrecognize barriers as a force to circumvent theircareer goals but as opportunities to exercise theirfaith, acquire their knowledge to meet the demandsof unjust laws, maintain a positive attitude, anddevelop strong work ethics.
Taking Risks for What One Believes is Fair and Just The participants similarly overlooked societalbarriers and channeled their knowledge andefforts toward the acquisition of their personalgoals and aspirations.
Faith in God, Education and Role Models At the high school and collegiate level, and thebeginning of administration, participants hadsuccessful male role models whobelieved, advised, and interacted with them.Some African American national and stateleaders had an indirect impact that helped framesome of the participants’ journey towardleadership.
Having a solid family structure was a positivefactor to the success of the participants. Another factor was having a father that led byexample by way of teaching hard work ethics,commitment to completing a task, supporting andproviding for the family, modeling excellence,and maintaining their integrity through the timesof social, political, and educational challenges.
Summary Conclusions/ Impact on Researcher The participant’s resiliency speaks tosubsequent generations that life is aboutaccessing proper guidance and making rightchoices. The lives of these men also taught thatlife comes with its set of challenges and set-backs, but through faith, dedication, and hardwork, one can “bounce- back” and overcomebarriers to success.
The participant’s example of integrity,dedication, and commitment to excellence hasbecome instrumental in the lives of thosewhom they have served and continue to serve.
Through this phenomenological experience,African American males as a whole, can beviewed in a positive light because most mendesire to be leaders in some form or fashion, butthat desire must be channeled in a positivedirection. I found these seven leaders to bestrong, bold, confident, yet a gentle compositionof the human race…living legacies…the essenceof leadership.
Implications for Further PracticeOpportunities to Demonstrate Leadership Just as these powerful men were given opportunitiesto demonstrate leadership at the primary, secondary,and collegiate levels, school officials should focus onbuilding critical pedagogical competence.Relationship building and getting to know thestrengths of their African American male populationcan create opportunities to exercise their talents.
Adolescents need to believe that they are valued andcan make a difference in the world in which they liveby having the opportunity to serve others.Educational practitioners could help set the foundationfor building a strong self-image by developingleadership characteristics, which would enhance thesupport of African American male peers. This couldincrease the chances of African American males stayingin school and completing high school.
African American Mentorship Program All participants mentor students either in theclassroom, as advisors, or on a one-on-onebasis.
In order to reach more young Black males andincrease the retention/graduation rates, perhapsa mentorship program can be developed at theuniversity that would build positivecollaborations between the universitys pool ofAfrican American male educational leadersand African American male students from thefreshman to the senior level.
Impact and Influence/ “Dual Role in Education” African American male educational leadersshould consider balancing administration increating opportunities to teach at theUniversity as well. Dual roles could increasethe chances of impacting more male studentson overcoming societal barriers and not besusceptible to making wrong choices.
Recommendations for Further Study1. A study could be conducted on AfricanAmerican male educational leaders who haveserved 30+ years at a PWI.2. A study could be conducted on African Americanmale educational leaders’ contributions andinfluence at national private institutions.
3. A study could be conducted on AfricanAmerican male educational leadership andinfluence at community colleges across thenation.4. A study could be conducted on the students’perceptions of African American maleeducational leaders at an HBCU.
5. A study could be conducted on African Americanmale students’ perception of African Americanmale educational leaders as mentors and rolemodels.6. A study could be conducted on the contributionsand influences of African American femaleeducational leaders who have served 30+ years atan HBCU.
7. A study could be conducted on thecontributions and influence of AfricanAmerican female educational leaders at aPWI.8. A study could be conducted on AfricanAmerican female educational leaders and theirrole as mentors and role models for AfricanAmerican female students at an HBCU.
9. A study could be conducted on African Americanfemale educational leaders and their role asmentors and role models for African Americanfemale students at a PWI.10. A study could be conducted on the AfricanAmerican female students and their perceptionsof African American female educational leadersas mentors and role models.
11. A study could be conducted on minoritystudents’ perceptions of African Americanmale educational leaders as mentors and rolemodels at an HBCU.