Degree Name

Education Specialist (EdS)

Semester of Degree Completion


Thesis Director

Charles G. Eberly



The purpose of this field study was to investigate the problems that African American males encounter at Richland Community College, Decatur, Illinois. This investigator interviewed thirteen graduates, person-to-person, who graduated from Richland Community College between the years of 1993 through 1995. Twelve themes emerged from this study: academic counselor/communication/ involvement, prejudice/isolation, teacher/student reaction, student seating location, support group(s), role models, mentors, student involvement in college life, educational purpose, programs, and college requirements. Respondents also made recommendations for the success of African American males attending Richland Community College.


Person-to-person interviews were utilized in studying this phenomenon because it is highly subjective. Individuals were selected from students who were identified as graduates by personnel in the Office of Student Development Services at Richland Community College. This researcher used six questions in the process of this investigation to allow participants the greatest possible range of responses and expression regarding their perceptions of racism, and institutional policies and procedures which affect retention. Interviews served as the primary data collection method. Interviews were relatively unstructured as represented by opened ended questions.


The findings of this study support the assumption that African American males have many challenges to deal with in getting through higher education, but the most consistent themes in successful completion college life were involvement on campus and the helpful influence of support groups.