Leading in the black: African American HBCU student leadership engagement unpacked

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter explores how participating in campus leadership at HBCUs positively affects African American college student experiences. A review of existing research about the benefits of leadership involvement for African American students is followed by a discussion of student leadership at HBCUs. Next, motivations for being involved as leaders are discussed and described. The chapter concludes with recommendations for bolstering student motivations and involvement outcomes, as well as ways to increase African American student leadership at HBCUs. Specifically, this chapter is informed by empirical data gathered during in-depth focus groups with 13 African American student leaders (7 males, 6 women) who occupied leadership roles at their HBCU institutions. Two emergent themes are discussed: (1) playing the game, which spoke to the development of their leadership competencies; and (2) getting something out of it, which focused on building the leadership capital afforded to them as a result of their leadership. Recommendations for bolstering motivations and involvement outcomes for Black leader collegians are described in detail at the end of the chapter to provide insight about best practices of support for this student demographic.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAdvances in Education in Diverse Communities
Subtitle of host publicationResearch, Policy and Praxis
PublisherEmerald Group Publishing Ltd.
Number of pages19
StatePublished - 2017

Publication series

NameAdvances in Education in Diverse Communities: Research, Policy and Praxis
ISSN (Print)1479-358X


  • African American
  • Student leadership, higher education


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