A Phenomenological Study on the Professional Development of African American Male Administrators at Predominately White Post-~Secondary Institutions

Arnold Shmorn Bell


As of today, African Americans continue to face a daunting endeavor when seeking to become executive administrative leaders at predominately White post-secondary institutions, even though, according to Tillman (2001), “Mentoring was identified as a technique to assist the professional advancement of African American faculty. In doing so, their numbers will increase at predominantly White institutions” (p. 295). Literature steadily indicates that mentorship contributes to one’s career development in the post-secondary environment. The influential aspects of mentorship on one’s professional development is supported by numerous studies that examines mentoring relationships across various academic disciplines and businesses in corporate America (Brown, 2005).

In spite of this body of knowledge, African Americans in academic leadership positions often face various cultural challenges with minute mentoring opportunities (House, Thornton, Fowler & Francis, 2007). Within post-secondary academia, there is a considerable shortage of African American male administrative leaders. Numerous post-secondary institutions have mentoring programs, however, there is limited research aimed at examining how African American males are identified, recruited, retained, and developed for administrative positions. Furthermore, little has been documented regarding the experiences of African American male administrators who have been mentored. The purpose of this phenomenological study is to explore the role mentoring plays in the professional development of African American male administrators at post-secondary institutions. Keywords: African American, male, administrative, mentoring