Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Document Type



The purpose of this convergent parallel mixed methods study was to explore the representations of Black male students and Black masculinity in college films and identify what differences in representations exist when accounting for various characteristics of the films. In the qualitative component, a qualitative content analysis was utilized to analyze the representations in a sample of 18 theatrically released college films. In the quantitative component, a quantitative content analysis was performed to identify any existing differences in Black male student representations when accounting for the films’ genre, decade of release, and depicted institution type. Qualitative analyses revealed that, overall, the analyzed films primarily depicted behaviors, expressions of emotions, interactions, and experiences associated with the empty space in representation—non-stereotypical depictions or rarely seen representations of Black men in film (Guerrero, 1995). Quantitative analyses revealed significant relationships between Black male student representations and the films’ institution type and decade of release. Through the integration of qualitative and quantitative findings, three major themes emerged: Black male students were overwhelmingly represented as athletes and Greek fraternity members, representations in college films largely followed the trends of Black male representations in other films of the same decades, and empty space in representation depictions were more present in films set at HBCUs. The findings and results of this study offer several implications for university administrators, faculty, and researchers. Through the implementation of workshops, seminars, and open forum dialogues focused on stereotypical representations and perceptions, university administrators demonstrate their institutions’ value of underrepresented student populations. Students feeling valued by their institutions could lead to positive retention gains for colleges and universities. Research related to stereotypical representations aids in engaging faculty and staff in dialogue focused on addressing, changing, and challenging existing stereotypes of Black men on campus. In combination with the findings and results of this study, the analyzed films serve as instructional tools for higher education faculty charged with engaging graduate students in topics related to campus diversity, student populations, and stereotypes on campus. Finally, this study provides researchers with another way of merging mixed methods and content analysis in future research studies.



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Committee Chair

MacGregor, S. Kim



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Education Commons