My academic and professional interests are related to public policy and higher education with particular emphasis on minorities’ access and achievement in higher education. I am interested in affirmative action, the impact of the proliferation of race neutral admission policies on minorities, recruitment and retention of students of color in higher education, and the relevance of historically Black colleges and universities (HBCU). As an African American male, I am also interested in the African American male achievement gap–the causes and remedies. I look forward to further exploring ways in which public policy and higher education can improve the quality of life for Americans.
Currently, I am involved in a mixed methods case study analysis that discovers the perceptions of Florida law school administrators on the impact of the One Florida Initiative (OFI) and the addition of two Minority Serving Institution (MSI) law schools on diversity in Florida’s legal profession. This research explores the impact of former Governor Bush’s Executive Order on diversity within the State University System of Florida law schools and examines the impact of creating two MSI law schools after implementation of the OFI, as perceived by the administrators.
The concept of Critical Race Theory (CRT), which provides modern legal debates outlining the usefulness of historical civil rights policies in opinionated climates, is utilized in this research to examine the role of CRT in relation to affirmative action and desegregation case law. CRT forms the framework for examining the impact of the creation of two MSI law schools in the state of Florida.
This research is important to the field of higher education and beyond as the United States continues to become more diverse. Government leaders as well as colleges and universities will want to better understand the impact on diversity of substituting race neutral admissions for the more traditional affirmative action policies. My research on this project, entitled, “The perceptions of administrators concerning the One Florida Initiative,” received an award from the American Association of Blacks in Higher Education, highlighting it as among the top doctoral research studies conducted nationally.
I co-authored an article entitled, “Exploring challenges that threaten to impede the academic success of academically under-prepared African American male collegians at an HBCU,” which recently received the Outstanding Research Award from the American College Personnel Association Standing Committee for Men. This qualitative study is an investigation of factors that promote the success of academically challenged African American males at an HBCU. Although all of the participants matriculated to graduation, the participants discussed challenges that threatened to impede their academic success.
I also recently co-authored an article entitled, “The impact of the synergy created by a Black college community and its influence on challenging acting White,” which consisted of a qualitative study of 11 academically unprepared African American men who entered an HBCU and yet persisted to graduation. Participants that were examined indicated that the University’s racial composition, faculty, peers, and role models helped challenged “acting White” by affirming the saliency of African American males. This research also advances the understanding of how one doctoral research HBCU, in the Mid-Atlantic, is able to facilitate academic success given its resource disparities with its White counterparts. It was recognized with a first place award in the Social Science category at the 2008 National Black Graduate Student Conference.
I have been fortunate enough to effectively marry my passion for higher education with my research interests, public policy and access to higher education by students of color. As a result of my educational training and professional experience conducting research, I have developed exemplary skills in assessment and interpretive data analysis, using both qualitative and quantitative methodologies. I expect to continue using these skills to further advance the objectives of higher education and its impact on society. My plans also call for maintaining my efforts to present at national higher education conferences and to publish in top tier peer reviewed journals that support my research agenda.
Hilda F. Owens Contribution to Knowledge in the Field Award, South Carolina College Personnel Association, 2016
Newly Published Research Award, NASPA Men and Masculinities Knowledge Community, 2016
Research Grant Award, Southern Association for College Student Affairs, 2015
Outstanding Professional Contribution & Distinguished Scholar Award, North Carolina College Personnel Association, 2014
Dr. Carlos J. Vallejo Memorial Award for Exemplary Scholarship, American Educational Research Association, Multicultural/Multiethnic Special Interest Group, 2010
Outstanding Research Award, American College Personnel Association Standing Committee for Men, 2009
Doctoral Student Dissertation Award, Second Place Recipient, American Association of Blacks in Higher Education, 2009
Paper of the Year, First Place (Social Science Category), National Black Graduate Student Conference, 2008