According to current research, just 1.4 out of 10 minority male students enrolled in community colleges nationwide will ever earn a certificate or degree. With the vast majority of minority males beginning their postsecondary careers at community colleges, this statistic is one that educators are increasingly looking to change.
In response, San Diego State University professors Frank Harris III and J. Luke Wood have launched the Minority Male Community College Collaborative (M2C3) to advance research that will address this alarming trend and help educators understand what they can do to help these students succeed.
“The retention, achievement, graduation and transfer outcomes for these males are a persistent concern among college professionals,” said Wood, an assistant professor in SDSU’s College of Education and co-director of M2C3 with Harris. “Through this collaborative, we believe SDSU can become a leader in helping this population achieve better outcomes, which would only serve to improve lives in a permanent way.”
According to Wood and Harris, during the past decade there has been an emergence of efforts to find ways to address the issue, ranging from teacher training programs to student organizations. The SDSU collaborative seeks to coordinate more of these efforts, assist with assessment and evaluation, and identify best practices.
Based at the SDSU Interwork Institute, the collaborative will also support a national consortium of minority male initiatives and serve as a clearinghouse for data on minority male student outcomes. Additionally, it will conduct and disseminate research on the experience of minority male community college students.
“The knowledge and practical implications that will emerge from M2C3 will be absolutely critical in transforming institutions to better serve men who have been historically marginalized in college education” said Harris, associate professor in SDSU’s Department of Administration, Rehabilitation, and Postsecondary Education.
Wood and Harris have both done extensive research on minority male initiatives and are considered leading scholars in the field.
The advisory board for the SDSU-based collaborative includes such national higher education leaders and experts as George Boggs, president and CEO emeritus of the American Association of Community Colleges.
"I am encouraged to see an increasing number of efforts to improve the success rates of minority males in higher education, in particular in community colleges where most of them attend,” Boggs said. “Now, with the creation of the Minority Male Community College Collaborative, we have the mechanism to learn about successful strategies in a systematic way and to develop a database that will be valuable as we tackle one of the most important issues in today's society: the successful inclusion of minority males."
M2C3 was established with support of the SDSU President's Leadership Fund. Among its institutional partners is Hermanos Unidos-Brothers United (HUBU), an initiative begun by San Diego City College to support the success of African American and Latino men.