Defense Date


Graduation Date

Summer 8-5-2023


Immediate Access

Submission Type


Degree Name



Professional Doctorate in Educational Leadership (ProDEL)


School of Education

Committee Chair

Rick McCown

Committee Member

Liliana E. Castrellón

Committee Member

Amy Olson


Predominately White Institutions, Internship, Social Capital, Unemployment and Underemployment, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion


This qualitative study aimed to investigate the significance of the Minority Professional Development Internship Program at a Predominately White Institution (PWI) of higher learning in southwestern Pennsylvania. The program was developed because many PWIs struggle to attract, recruit, and retain African Americans/Black and historically marginalized community members to lead their institutions in curriculum development, mentoring, recruitment, and governance (Reyes & Rios, 2005). Other research studies on African American/Black administrators’ lack of representation at PWIs attributed systemic barriers impeding their recruitment and advancement (Jones, 2007; Perna et al., 2007). Furthermore, Levin et al. (2013) suggest minimal progress in hiring African American/Black male administrators at PWIs of higher learning has been made, failing to keep pace with the increasing number of African American students matriculating at those institutions.

The study explored the five African American/Black men participants’ program and career experiences, including the systemic barriers they navigated to permanent employment at the university. The analysis of interview transcripts suggests that the university-sponsored and diversity-inspired initiative program’s goals and objectives were met, enabling the interns to obtain permanent employment. Each of the former interns offered recommendations for program improvement for future interns.