Higher education as a field of study at historically black colleges and universities
Higher education as a field of study has an extensive history in the United States of America. However, regrettably, this history has segments working in obscurity. One such segment was the work of graduate programs in the field of higher education at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). The purpose of this study was to trace the program development of graduate certificate, concentration, and degree programs in the field of higher education at HBCUs. This study was driven by one research question. What is the history of higher education as a field of study at Historically Black Colleges and Universities?This investigation unearthed eight universities confirmed to have held, or currently hold, the nine graduate programs in the field of higher education at HBCUs. The eight universities listed chronologically by inception of their graduate programs in the field of higher education were Tuskegee University (1965), Texas Southern University (1974), Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University (1980), Hampton University (1980s), Grambling State University (1986), Tennessee State University (1998), Morgan State University (1998/1999 & 2001), and Jackson State University (2004).This study used a blended research design. A historical organizational case study (Bogdan & Biklen, 2003) and a multi-case study (Bogdan & Biklen, 2003) were blended into what proceeded as a historical organizational multi-case study. Additionally, grounded theory methodology was used to detail what drove the development of those graduate programs in the field of higher education at HBCUs.Findings of the study revealed that graduate program development in the field of higher education at HBCUs generally began with internal and/or external overtures with the purpose of developing a current body of practitioners with specialized knowledge in the areas of student personnel, as managers and higher education leaders. Key individuals were typically recruited to write or initiate the programs with the major market being the immediate geographic area; but as programs developed, their markets expanded. Some of the consequences of delivering these established programs were being both visible and vulnerable, although the programs had an opportunity to serve as resources to their institutions and other communities.