Piece of Cake PR

New Book Presents Evidence-Based Research for Improving Scholastic Achievement in Young Men of Color

Written by Dr. Oscar Dowdell-Underwood and published by Scholars’ Press, ‘Burden of Hope: Transition, Retention, and Collegiate Black Men’ presents groundbreaking research for maximizing the human potential of collegiate young men of color. As the public discourse shifts to begin new conversations about race relations, struggle against violence, and strategies for increasing achievement in young people of color, Dr. Dowdell-Underwood’s research and methods are more relevant than ever.


Fort Wayne, IN -- (SBWIRE) -- 03/12/2014 -- In 2010, Dr. Oscar Dowdell-Underwood sought to reproduce in postsecondary education the academic success he cultivated in his over 40 years of teaching primary and secondary students of color. Focusing on postsecondary men of color, Dr. Dowdell-Underwood conducted qualitative research among collegiate black males to identify the strongest predictors of scholastic achievement among this group. The results of his study were pivotal, challenging the classic deficit perspective by which society and education relate to young black males. Dr. Dowdell-Underwood found that perceptions of mattering built on specific environmental messages was among the strongest predictors of academic achievement in collegiate young men of color – not remediation strategies. Having used environmental messaging techniques to narrow the achievement gap among elementary and high schools students of color – methodology referred to as the “Underwood Model” – Dr. Dowdell-Underwood found that similar methodology could be adapted to collegiate students of color to produce academic success.

With the release of his new book, ‘Burden of Hope: Transition, Retention, and Collegiate Black Men’, published by Scholars’ Press, Dr. Dowdell-Underwood offers empirical research upon which higher institutions of learning can create academic initiatives that improve collegiate admission, retention and success among young men of color – an underrepresented group among American colleges and universities.


Burden of Hope is the result of groundbreaking research that impacts the entire paradigm by which postsecondary education regards collegiate Black men - men repeatedly underserved by America’s colleges and universities. Typically, postsecondary education relates to collegiate Black males from a deficit mindset, which often translates into providing remedial resources designed to improve college transition, retention, and persistence. However, the major themes emerging from this study call for an alternative approach for academic achievement, specifically, one that empowers collegiate Black males from the beginning of their postsecondary transition by engaging their inherent power, need, and desire to succeed – by engaging their burden of hope.

On February 27, 2014, President Obama launched the ‘My Brother's Keeper’ initiative, a collaborative effort between the Obama Administration, corporations, foundations, nonprofits, religious leaders, and citizens to support and implement evidence-based strategies for increasing achievement among young men of color. This research is at the heart of the solutions being sought to maximize the human potential of young men of color and could not have been published at a better time.

“We are finally having the vital conversations that we need to have,” says Dr. Dowdell-Underwood. “My belief has always been that perpetual negative messaging in one’s environment leads to dysfunctional self-imaging and corresponding negative behaviors . . . My life’s work is built on this basic premise – individuals, and by extension, students achieve exponentially when they know that they matter.”

‘Burden of Hope: Transition, Retention, and Collegiate Black Men’ is available now: http://amzn.to/1eW6oMI

About Dr. Oscar Dowdell-Underwood
In 1982, Dr. Oscar Dowdell-Underwood left a career in suburban education to head a failing, inner-city school. Within one year, student perceptions of marginalization plummeted and test scores skyrocketed. His passion for teaching and maximizing the human potential of every student has resulted in many honors, including testifying before the United States Congress on effective strategies in urban education.