Closing the Participation Gap for African American Men in Higher Education
Project Team: 
Debra Thompson, PhD
Assistant Professor, Political Science, Ohio University
James Moore III, PhD
Professor and Director, Todd A. Bell National Resource Center, The Ohio State University
Key Words: 
African American Men
Participation Gap in Higher Education

African American men face a three-fold crisis in higher education that warrants considerable attention. First, an entire generation of African American men experiences prohibitive barriers in accessing higher education. Second, of those few who are admitted to college, the vast majority do not complete their degrees. Finally, feelings of alienation and disengagement within college environments are not the exception, but rather the rule. The broad objective of this project is to evaluate the success of policies and programs designed to reduce the participation gap of this population group. This research employs a three-pronged approach to meet this objective. First, it will survey and evaluate state-level government policies pertaining to the access and retention of African American men in higher education. Second, it will survey and evaluate institutional programming that targets the access, retention, and engagement of African American men at each of the 13 four-year state universities in the University System of Ohio. Third, it will analyze how these initiatives affect the academic success of African American men in higher education by interviewing a cross-section of this population. In the short term, the deliverables of this project will build inter-institutional knowledge, capacity and expertise on this topic by identifying institutional best practices and developing a generalizable program model that can be customized to suit the particular needs of individual universities. It will also provide the systematic and empirically-based research necessary to meet medium and long-term goals of initiating innovative policy and programmatic change to close the participation gap.