Retaining African Americans in Higher Education
Challenging Paradigms for Retaining Students, Faculty and Administrators

Edited by Lee Jones
Paper: 978 1 57922 042 6 / $29.95
Published: May 2001  

Cloth: 978 1 57922 041 9 / $95.00
Published: May 2001  

Publisher: Stylus Publishing
224 pp., 6" x 9"
Retention of African Americans on campus is a burning issue for the black community, and a moral and financial one for predominantly white institutions of higher education. This book offers fresh insights and new strategies developed by fifteen scholars concerned by the new climate in which affirmative action is being challenged and eliminated.

This is the first book devoted specifically to retention of African Americans in higher education, and is unique in addressing the distinct but inter-related concerns of all three affected constituencies: students, faculty and administrators. Each is considered in a separate section.

The student section shifts attention from, to paraphrase McNairy, "fixing the student" to focussing on higher education's need to examine and, where appropriate, revise policies, curriculum, support services and campus climate. Responding to the new agenda shaped by the opponents of affirmative action, but rejecting the defensive "x percent solutions" espoused by its proponents, this book puts forward new solutions that will provoke debate.

Section II begins with a survey of the literature on African American administrators, and presents a Delphi study of twelve administrators to provide an understanding of pathways and barriers to success. The contributors then consider the importance of developing community support and creating alliances, the role of mentoring, and the setting of clear expectations between the individual and the institution.

Starting with the recognition that African Americans represent less than five percent of full-time faculty, the chapters in the final section examine the effects of the dismantling of affirmative action, the consequences of faculty salaries trailing more lucrative non-academic employment, the declining enrollment of students of color, the politics of promotion and tenure, and issues of identity and culture.

The book concludes by stressing the roles that parents, faculty and administrators must play to empower African American students to take responsibility for their own academic performance.

This is a compelling, controversial and constructive contribution to an issue of national importance.

Reviews & Endorsements:
"White academics who seek social justice need to read this book and act on it. Its fourteen articles include statistics, political critique, personal agony, motivational reflection, and detailed proposals. This is not another detached study of someone else's 'problem.' In this book Black academics address directly the painful inequities which institutional and personal racism creates in higher education. The [author's] recommendations hold out the hope of developing the internal strength to withstand the social contradictions of the American economic and political system. If the book has a flaw, it's the title, which is far drier than the content of the book it names. The statistics and analyses are all here, but some selections such as Kipchoge Kirkland's 'Dual Consciousness: A Brother's Response to the Academy' could also be a hit on BET. The passion, the pain, and the hope make this book far more readable than many others produced for academic audiences. I already have plans for using it at my college. I hope others will do the same."
- Teachers College Record
"[This is] a timely and novel approach to a critical topic. Original thinking is needed because, despite numerous suggestions for closing the gap, retention in higher education continues to be lower for African Americans than for whites. This book makes several important contributions to our understanding of the issues....Most of the authors appropriately recognize that retention is a process that involves transitions between different positions and statuses. (A) strength of this work is that, consistent with Jones' stated goals, most authors conclude their essays with practical recommendations. Taken together, these recommendation offer a comprehensive assessment of the issues influencing the retention of African American students, faculty and administrators."
- The Journal of Higher Education