African American Perspectives on Race and Culture in US Doctoral Education

Edited by Pamela Felder Small, Marco J. Barker, and Marybeth Gasman

Subjects: Education, Higher Education, African American Studies, Women's Studies, Gender Studies
Paperback : 9781438478005, 242 pages, January 2021
Hardcover : 9781438477992, 242 pages, August 2020

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Table of contents

List of Tables

Editors' Introduction
Pamela Felder Small, Marco J. Barker, and Marybeth Gasman

1. Understanding Race, Culture, and the Doctorate
Pamela Felder Small

2. Programmatic Efforts and the Black Doctoral Experience in Education: A Literature Review
Pamela Felder Small, Girvin Liggans, Fanuel Chirombo, and Sydney Freeman Jr.

3. Resistance Narratives: Counterstories of Two Black Women Doctoral Students
Delma Ramos and Varaxy Yi

4. Demystifying the Monolithic Black Male Mystique: Advancing a Research Agenda on Black Men in Engineering Graduate Programs
Brian A. Burt

5. Being One of Few: Examining Black Biomedical PhDs' Training Experiences and Career Development through a Campus Racial Climate Lens
Kimberly A. Griffin, Kenneth D. Gibbs Jr. , and Shelvia English

6. From Firm Foundations to Where?: Understanding the Role of HBCUs in African American PhD Student Commitment
Pamela Felder Small and Carmen McCallum

7. Rethinking Engagement: Examining the Role of Faculty–Student Interactions and Black Doctoral Student Success at HBCUs
Tiffany Fountaine Boykin

8. Double Consciousness: Exploring Black and Doctoral Student Identity within Cross-Race Advising Relationships
Marco J. Barker and C. Ellen Washington

Pamela Felder Small and Marco J. Barker


Explores the complex interplay of race and culture in the doctoral experiences of African American students.


Sankofa reexamines doctoral education through the lens of African American and Black experiences. Drawing on the African diasporic legacy of Sankofa and the notion that "it is not wrong to go back for that which you have forgotten," the contributors "go back" to address legacies of exclusion in higher education and take care to center and honor the contributions of historically marginalized doctoral students. Whereas earlier studies focused largely on socialization, departmental norms, and statistical portraits of doctoral degree attachment, this book illuminates the ways African American students encounter, navigate, and make sense of their doctoral experiences and especially the impact of race and culture on those experiences. Individual chapters look at STEM programs, the intersections of race and gender, the role of HBCUs, and students' relationships with faculty and advisors. Amid growing diversity across programs and institutions, Sankofa provides a critical model for applying culturally based frameworks in educational research, as well as practical strategies for better understanding and responding to the needs of students of color in predominantly White contexts.

Pamela Felder Small is an Independent Scholar, Consultant and Founder of #BlackDoctoratesMatter. Marco J. Barker is Vice Chancellor for Diversity and Inclusion and Associate Professor of Practice in Educational Administration at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. Marybeth Gasman is Samuel DeWitt Proctor Endowed Chair in Education and Distinguished Professor at Rutgers University–New Brunswick.


"The range of topics covered and the nuance provided about Black students' graduate school experiences are impressive. There is a balanced representation of both women and men's experiences and the differing gender foci help highlight some of the unique challenges that these students face—both individually and collectively. Given the scope of qualitative studies and empirical data offered, this volume makes a profound contribution to the field. " — Derrick R. Brooms, author of Being Black, Being Male on Campus: Understanding and Confronting Black Male Collegiate Experiences