An Integrated Approach Towards Increasing Black Male Engineering Graduate Outcomes



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Black males have long been underrepresented in engineering programs and the engineering workforce. Despite attempts to increase Black and other underrepresented student representation, these efforts are limited and have yet to create transformational change. There is little research that has sought to reveal and understand the factors that influence Black males to pursue engineering graduate degrees, and to discover what strengths Black males who have persisted through these programs possess. In this study, we sought to understand the factors that influenced 26 Black male engineering faculty to pursue engineering graduate degrees and the capital that they engaged to persist. Using a grounded theory approach, we developed the “STEP Forward Approach� as a guiding theory for broadening participation in engineering among Black males. This approach emphasizes the need for supportive cultures, targeted recruitment, exposure, and pathway approaches for Black males entering engineering graduate programs. Our findings suggest that an integrated approach using this framework will create better outcomes for our targeted demographic.