Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctorate of Education, Ed.D.


College of Education



First Advisor

Donna Graham, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Maggie Broderick, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Debra Smith, Ph.D.


The lack of diversity in leadership roles at predominantly White institutions (PWIs) of higher education has been a concern often addressed in the strategic plans at these institutions. Exploring how African American male faculty members perceive code-switching as a strategy to address this gap in representation was the purpose of this study. A qualitative research design was used to gain an understanding of how code-switching uses the structure of language to obtain access to advancement opportunities. Results from the study show that although African American men have varying views on how to use language within the workplace setting, the majority feel that code-switching improved the trajectory of their career path. Early exposure to code-switching, language use for networking and relationship building, as well as other ways to code-switch, such as wardrobe selection, were all factors that significantly affected the perception of code-switching by the participants of the study. Data collected and analyzed from this study can assist PWIs of higher education with ways to organize and implement ways to use or abstain from code-switching as a way to improve recruitment, advancement, and retention.

Included in

Education Commons