Graduate Program

College Student Affairs

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Semester of Degree Completion


Thesis Director

Richard L. Roberts


This research study explored the perception African American men had of mentorship, its value to their education and the effects it had on their college success at a predominantly White institution. The study further focused on the impact mentorship had on the student when the mentor was of a different race versus the same race of the student. The research was guided by the following questions: (1) What is the value of mentorships related to attending a higher education institution, (2) What factors lead Black male students to seek mentorships, (3) What are the perceived differences between mentorship with cross-race faculty/staff and Black male faculty/staff, and (4) What is the Black males' perception of the role of mentorship to their success?

From each research question posed several themes emerged: guidance, growth, acceptance, retention, feeling unsupported, sense of belonging, barriers such as uncomfortableness, white faculty/staff reticence, stereotypes, and lastly mentorship roles that bridge the gap and provide encouragement and company. Research revealed that students perceived mentoring to be of great value to their college experience. Although not mutually exclusive, it was also determined that having access to Black faculty/staff also played a major role in the student's retention and satisfaction at the PWI. Even though all of the participants interviewed expressed feeling comfortable with White faculty/staff, they also identified barriers to seeking mentorship. Feelings of segregation, being stereotyped, and judged led these students to seek mentorship with Black faculty/staff who they believed could identify with their strife and provide them with encouragement to overcome these obstacles. Recommendations include developing multicultural competency programming for faculty/staff to properly address the needs of Black male students, providing comfortable spaces for Black males to express and address their feelings, and the hiring of more Black faculty/staff to assist in their development and serve as role models.