The Collaborative for Black Men Retention and Research serves as a research and programmatic initiative, dedicated to advancing the retention of Black Men pursuing academic and professional success within institutions of higher education. Rooted in a commitment to identify and address systemic inequalities, our primary mission is to foster academic success, holistic well-being, and community engagement among Black men on college campuses. 

The Collaborative employs a multifaceted approach that seamlessly integrates focused retention-based programming and cutting-edge research. The overarching goal is to not only identify, and address challenges faced by Black Men in educational spaces but also to proactively develop innovative solutions that contribute to their academic and personal growth. Through the implementation of retention-focused programming, we aim to create a nurturing environment that goes beyond academic excellence, encompassing holistic well-being and meaningful community engagement, both inside and outside of the classroom. This approach recognizes the interconnectedness aspects of an individual’s life and seeks to provide comprehensive support for the diverse needs of Black Men in academia. 

Simultaneously, our commitment to rigorous and relevant research positions us as a hub for constructive transformative investigations. By delving into the nuanced identities, experiences, challenges, barriers, and triumphs of Black men in educational spaces, we aspire to contribute not only to the scholarly discourse but also to inform the development of evidence-based strategies for fostering a more inclusive and supportive academic environment. Furthermore, the Collaborative is dedicated to building impactful campus-based programming that serves as a blueprint for educational institutions seeking to support, retain, and inspire the next generation of Black men. Through strategic partnerships, community involvement, and advocacy, we strive to create lasting change that permeates not only the academic landscape but also the broader societal narrative. 

In essence, the Collaborative for Black Men Retention and Research emerges as a dynamic and influential force, committed to reshaping the narrative around Black Men in academia by addressing systemic inequalities, promoting holistic well-being, and fostering a community-centric educational experience. Through our endeavors, we seek to contribute meaningfully to the ongoing dialogue on diversity, equity, and inclusion in higher education, paving the way for a future where Black Men thrive and succeed in their academic pursuits. 

Holistic Approach

students interacting with group work


The Collaborative for Black Men Retention and Research is a dynamic and inclusive initiative dedicated to the holistic advancement of Black men throughout their educational trajectories, spanning from undergraduate and graduate education to faculty ranks. Our mission transcends traditional academic boundaries, encompassing a multifaceted commitment to fostering support, promoting success, and cultivating a vibrant community that empowers those who self-identify as Black men to reach their potential as scholars, leaders, and catalysts for positive change within our global society. 


The purpose of the Collaborative for Black Men Retention and Research is to strategically empower, uplift, and foster community to retain Black men who are navigating the complex landscape of higher education. Our primary objective is to facilitate the academic and personal successes of Black Men by facilitating culturally responsive programming and conducting cutting-edge research, thereby bridging the realities between theory, support, and practice.  


  • Increased representation of Black men at all levels of academia, including undergraduate, graduate, and faculty ranks 
  • Higher retention rates, improved graduation rates, and academic excellence among Black men 
  • Strengthened leadership skills leading to greater influence and impact within and beyond academic settings 
  • Expanded professional networks connecting participants to mentors, peers, and leaders 
  • A vibrant and interconnected community of Black men supporting one another’s growth and success 
  • Long-term systemic change through the elevation of diverse voices in academia 

Pre-to-PhD Pathways Project

The programmatic arm of the Collaborative is the Pre-to-PhD Pathways Project (P3). P3 has been carefully crafted to create educational programs that prioritize strengthening student retention rates first, with an emphasis on meeting the unique needs and challenges that Black men encounter when pursuing higher education. P3 is a comprehensive and dynamic framework that combines innovative seminars, peer support networks, and identity empowerment exercises. Together, these components form an ecosystem designed to foster an inviting environment that goes beyond conventional methods to generate a collaborative approach for both academic and professional success. More than just offering guidance, the goal is to establish a system that enables Black males to overcome obstacles, embrace opportunities, and become leaders in academia and beyond. 

In essence, P3 represents a paradigm shift in educational programming—a force that not only addresses the immediate needs of Black men in education but actively shapes the trajectory of their academic and professional journeys by using research and theory informed approaches. We seek to reestablish a space where Black Men thrive, excel, and succeed in higher education.


The research arm of the Collaborative for Black Men Retention and Research is dedicated to exploring and disseminating insights on the distinctive experiences faced by Black Men in higher education. Our overarching aim is to contribute valuable insights that can inform evidence-based policies, best practices, and targeted interventions specifically designed to address the unique needs of Black men on today’s college campuses. Our research seeks to deepen scholarly understanding and provide practical solutions to enhance the academic success, holistic development, and retention of Black men in higher education. Through our scholarly contributions, the Collaborative aims to influence institutional policies and practices, fostering an environment that actively supports the success and well-being of Black Men on college campuses. 

Contact us

headshot of Jesse Ford

For questions or more information about the Collaborative for Black Men Retention and Research, please contact: 

Jesse R. Ford, Founder and Director