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  1. Purpose In spite of ongoing and recent initiatives aimed at broadening participation in engineering, the representation of diverse groups of learners in engineering graduate programs in the USA remains a challenge. Foregrounding the voices of 26 Black male engineering faculty, this study aims to investigate how institutions might recruit and retain more Black men in engineering graduate programs. Design/methodology/approach For this study, inductive thematic analysis was used. Findings The authors show that three themes, namely, representation as an asset, invested mentors and faculty, and supportive peer networks described as the “Vibe” manifest as crucial elements for successful recruitment and retention of Black men in engineering graduate programs. Originality/value These findings are meant to augment the conversation around diversity, equity and inclusion in engineering graduate programs and to address a dearth of published research on the Black male engineering population. This work is also meant to help institutions conceptualize ways to create a “Vibe” that might be transferable to their institution’s sociocultural context.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 1, 2023
  2. Black males are severely underrepresented in undergraduate and graduate engineering programs. While postsecondary interventions have shown to be effective, they are few and far between. Representation of Black males in all segments of the engineering pipeline continues to lag. There also remains a dearth of research that has sought to uncover and understand the factors that influence Black males to pursue engineering graduate degrees and further use these perspectives for more informed intervention design. As a part of a larger study, the authors used interpretive phenomenological analysis to understand the factors that influenced 15 Black male engineers to pursue engineering graduate degrees and to elucidate factors that led to their degree attainment. As the data was analyzed using interpretive phenomenological analysis, the authors were guided by cultural capital theory to uncover the assets possessed by participants to attain an advanced degree. Three major themes emerged from this study: benefits of advanced degrees (motivation for why they pursued advanced degrees), social supports (motivation for attainment), and hurdles and obstacles experienced (possible barriers to attainment). Two minor themes (advisor and mentor challenges and negative racial experiences) emerged from the major theme of hurdles and obstacles experienced. Finally, the authors provide recommendations formore »improving the educational pipeline to in-crease the number of Black males attaining advanced degrees in engineering. The findings of this study may impact intervention design and efforts aimed at recruiting and retaining Black males in engineering graduate programs.« less
  3. The topic of engineering identity is neither new nor complete in its coverage within current literature. In fact, although this body of work predates the last ten years, researchers have argued that some of the most significant burgeoning in this area has occurred in the last decade. By applying both quantitative and qualitative lenses to this inquiry, researchers have concluded that, much like a STEM identity, an engineering identity describes how students see themselves, their competence and potential for success in the academic and career context of the field. To further examine the latter component i.e. potential for academic and career success, we attend to an emerging concept of an entrepreneurial engineering identity. This preliminary work unfolded organically; the authors’ primary goal involved a larger Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) study that investigated persistence and advanced degree aspirations among 20 Black male engineering undergraduate students from a variety of institutional settings. While we did not intentionally seek to examine this emerging component of engineering identity, our preliminary analysis of participants’ interview data led us down this path. What we observed was a latent phenomenon of interest among participants: these Black male engineering undergraduates recurringly articulated clear intentions for academic and careermore »opportunities that integrated business components into their engineering realities. Kegan’s (1984, 1994) Theory of Meaning-Making provided a framework for understanding how participants perceived the development of business acumen as a strategy for ascending existing corporate/organizational structures, creating new business pathways, and promoting corporate social responsibility. Based on these findings, authors were inspired to explore the conceptual development of an entrepreneurial engineering identity and its practical application to engineering degree (re)design, student academic advisory and career planning.« less
  4. Black males are often underrepresented in postsecondary education settings and frequently encounter many barriers in getting to college. Our aim in this qualitative investigation was to understand the precollege and college experiences of Black males who successfully enrolled in a postsecondary institution. Through a focus group interview, seven Black males in a living and learning community shared their experiences prior to and during enrollment at a highly selective, predominantly White institution. We used the grounded theory approach ( Strauss & Corbin, 1998 ) to analyze the focus group data and pinpoint thematic explanations of precollegiate and collegiate experiences of Black males. Based on the thematic findings, we offer specific recommendations on how school counselors can help Black males prepare and eventually matriculate in higher education.
  5. As early as the age of ten, Black boys are viewed as older, guilty until proven innocent by law enforcement (including school resource officers), and encounter a myriad of adverse racialized academic and social experiences (e.g., explicit and implicit biases) (Goff et al., 2014; Noguera, 2008). Dancy (2014) noted how Trayvon Martin, a Black male teen murdered for essentially being seen as threatening and intimidating, was viewed as adult-aged, deviant, troubled, and shiftless. Moreover, Black boys are expected to express minimum “signs” of weakness, vulnerability, and/or sensitivity. The aforementioned social persona may contribute to young Black men and boys not feeling comfortable talking about their feelings and emotional distresses or even seeking professional help, when needed. Generally speaking, many young Black men and boys struggle with emotional vulnerability and choose to avoid or resist any attempts to examine their emotional experiences. Thus, it is important to note that the absence of healthy emotional support channels to process and disclose their feelings may lead to negative life outcomes, such as depression, cardiac arrest, and a shorter lifespan (Ford, 2020). In this article, we discuss the historical and contemporary contexts of adultification of young Black boys; present two vignettes to show examplesmore »of how boys are adultified; examine how toxic masculinity may prevent healthy relationships and emotional expressions for Black boys; and offer specific recommendations to educators and families.« less