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This sixth volume in the Diversity in Higher Education Series is the first of two that specifically addresses the subject of the disproportional decline of Black American males in higher education. As editors, the three of us viewed this topic as so critical and in need of more acknowledgment regarding its serious nature. Though we initially wanted to publish such a volume a year earlier, all three of us had position changes and subsequent workloads that interfered with our devoting time to the project; however, we kept receiving queries as to when could there be an expected publication date for this volume. Given the consistent interest and encouragement, and our own internal need to finish the volume, we forged ahead. This volume and the following one were compelling projects that we sought to complete in spite of the many competing factors for our time. The result is a volume that we believe is better than what we would have produced a year ago.
This volume, Volume 7 – Black American Males in Higher Education: Research, Programs and Academe, is the sequel to Volume 6 – Black American Males in Higher Education: Diminishing Proportions. Volume 7 continues the examinations and discussions initiated in Volume 6. Volume 7 is a collection of 16 chapters where the contributing scholars examine the situation or state of Black American/African American males in higher education, particularly as pertains to higher education environments and those programs and policies that affect them. Additionally, there are discussions of research findings and theoretical concepts that seek to provide explanations for observed outcomes pertinent to African American males in higher education settings.
This volume's birth sprang forth from a conference, “Beyond Stock Stories and Folktales: African Americans and the Pipeline to the Professoriate, An Evidence-based Examination of STEM Fields,” on the campus of Washington University in St. Louis, and was sponsored by that university and the National Science Foundation. Initially, the conference invitees were charged to focus on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields and African American males. In particular, as co-organizers, we sought to assemble a group of scholars to discuss the evidentiary base associated with programs, policy, and practices purported to positively influence STEM outcomes for African American males. Our concern for African American males emanated from policy analyses that characterized the plight of African American males in terms of personal and social cost–benefit terms. For instance, using California as a basis, one cost–benefit estimate of that state's educational attainment trends indicate that each additional Black male “expected high school graduate” will earn $520,000 more over his lifetime than a school dropout counterpart. In addition, the social gains associated with each expected Black male high school graduate was estimated to be $681,130. One can only imagine what those gains are when projections model Black males who have attained college degrees, and particularly advanced graduate degrees in specialized STEM fields. Our thinking as conference organizers evolved with respect to focusing all of the conference papers on African American males only. Specifically, our review of the literature suggested that a more careful examination of how STEM outcomes for African Americans were influenced by gender was warranted. To address this perspective, we also solicited contributions that included gender-based analyses, where commonalities and differences by gender in STEM pathways for African Americans might be highlighted and better understood.