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Dream Keepers: Faculty and Staff Validation, a Key to Creating Academic Achievement for Black Males At Community Colleges.
Black males have faced animosity in society, causing them to feel little sense of belonging. Our educational systems are microcosms of the unjust social practices these men have faced. The impetus for this study arose from a desire to explore the important role that faculty and staff attitudes and practices play in fostering a sense of belonging for Black males at community colleges. This study also sought to identify whether faculty and staff validation, faculty-student engagement, and the sense of belonging predicted academic success in terms of increased GPA rates and credits/units earned for these men. This study’s goal was to help community college educators play an integral role in helping Black males keep their dream alive by creating a blueprint, or framework that promote, support, and institutionalize their educational attainment. The study used a portion of the 2013-2015 Community College Survey of Men (CCSM) data (N = 590) collected by The Minority Male Community College Collaborative (M2C3) research center. A hierarchical linear regression was performed to test the path analysis model in the study. The path analysis identified the influence of faculty and staff validation and faculty-student engagement on the sense of belonging, while controlling for background characteristics. This study proposed to measure three variables—faculty and staff validation, faculty-student engagement, and sense of belonging—as independent variables to determine the significance of their impact on academic success outcomes, GPA rates, and credits/units iv earned. “Sense of belonging” did not have a linear relationship with credits/units earned, therefore it was removed from the second part of the study’s analyses. To summarize the findings, faculty and staff validation and faculty and student engagement impacted the sense of belonging for Black males at community colleges. Faculty and staff validation was the strongest predictor of credits/units earned. The findings suggest that Black male sense of belonging and an increase in credits/units earned are significantly influenced by the validation received from college faculty and staff. It is in this role, taking these specific actions, that faculty and staff at community colleges can help keep the dreams, goals, and aspirations of Black males a priority.
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