Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


School of Education


International and Multicultural Education


International & Multicultural Education EdD

First Advisor

Shabnam Koirala-Azad

Second Advisor

Desiree Zerquera

Third Advisor

Patrick Camangian


Daily experiences of isolation and invalidation create adverse campus climates that often lead to men of color dropping out of higher education. Student leadership positions can increase feelings of belonging, provide greater access to campus resources and increase retention for men of color, particularly when they centralize identity exploration. White women are overrepresented in student affairs direct student contact positions in higher education and are likely to supervise and/or advise men of color student leaders, but many student affairs professional are not properly trained to supervise or advise through an identity-based framework. This study explored: how do men of color make sense of their racial and gender identity formation during their undergraduate experiences in student leadership settings? and how do men of color describe their experiences of racial and gender identity formation while being supervised and/or advised by white women student affair professionals?

It blended elements of Constructivist Grounded Theory with a Participatory Action Research approach to create a new methodology: Co-Constructivist Grounded Theory. Three co-researchers collectivity interviewed eight racially and ethnically diverse participants who attend a variety of four-year institutions. The co-researchers used memo writing, axial coding, thematic coding, and co-researcher meetings to develop the Ecological Resiliency Model for Men of Color Student Leaders.

The ecological model illustrates that the supervisory/advisor relationships between men of color student leaders and their white women supervisors are best understood when they are situated within the institutional climate and the student leadership microclimates where the men of color are engaged. They experience specific types of interactions within each climate and relationship that have positive and negative impacts on their experiences. Men of color learn to respond to their different climates by shifting their energy between focusing on healthy identity growth within positive environments and employing resiliency strategies to navigate and survive within negative environments. Race was the most salient identity for all of the participants in the steady. The men who had nurturing environments where they could heal from institutional racism were more able to explore their masculine identity and understand their privilege as men.