Date Awarded

Summer 2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)




Jennifer R. Cross

Committee Member

Tracy L Cross

Committee Member

James L Moore III


This purpose of this qualitative study was to explore and gain an in-depth understanding of the lived experiences of talent development toward successful outcomes among 10 expert Black scholars in the field of education. A transcendental phenomenological approach was employed to gather data through open-ended phone interviews. Research questions included: What are the talent development experiences of Black distinguished and endowed faculty in the field of education? How did contexts or situations influence or affect their path toward successful career outcomes? Five themes emerged from the interviews: (a) Background Influences and Preparation, (b) Connections, Mentoring, and Support, (c) Self-Preservation and Protection, (d) Purpose and Direction for Research, and (e) Navigation and Optimization for Success. The expert scholars utilized causal agency and social networking during their talent development process, and engaged in deliberate decision-making. They valued the influence and support of family and community, as well as teachers, mentors, and other role models in various capacities and contexts as they matriculated toward successful outcomes. Although participants received assistance from their families and mentors for dealing with challenges, each would have benefitted from formal psychosocial skills development training. School districts should emphasize the merits of developing interpersonal skills, as well as help-seeking and self-advocacy strategies for success. Colleges and universities should establish and maintain welcoming department climates centered on supportive and professional collegiality for productivity. Respect for research interests and the dissemination of implicit yet pertinent information to faculty of color may also help them to prepare for successful careers in academia.




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