African American Student Success Initiative at CSM to Improve Graduation Rates
A newly launched male leadership and mentoring initiative, The Men of Excellence Mentoring Program, is working to improve retention, graduation and transfer rates for African American males who enter the College of Southern Maryland as first-time, full- or part-time students.
The Men of Excellence is a cohort-based model designed to accept students annually and to work with students to ensure they persist each semester until they transfer or graduate from CSM with an associate degree, certificate or letter of recognition.
For the upcoming academic year, the program begins with the Men of Excellence-Summer Academy Aug. 4-14. The academy provides students with an orientation to CSM and its resources through student engagement, summer academic enrichment, team building and leadership development prior to the beginning of the fall semester. Academy benefits include a textbook stipend for the CSM College Store, transportation voucher, lunch, and student and faculty networking.
The college has taken a proactive approach toward championing behind student success efforts aimed at eliminating the achievement gap and thereby improving graduation rates among students who are most at risk for non-completion due to a number of factors, said Executive Director for Institutional Equity and Diversity Makeba Clay. Research has shown that building close faculty advising and peer mentoring relationships can actually reverse a growing national trend of college success gaps. The CSM program will prepare students to experience a greater level of academic success, said Clay.
Mentor Program Coordinator Evan Green is helping to guide a new generation of young men through exposing them to academic opportunities while developing skills to effectively navigate college. The program aims to increase student engagement and use of CSM support services, and provides weekly seminars on academic advising, financial literacy, professional development and networking, leadership development and transfer services. Students in the program have access to tutoring in math and English, and monthly access to one-on-one advising to help with mapping personal and professional goals.
Green said that as a teen his dad presented him with the choice of three life courses: work, join the military or go to collegemaking it clear that each choice would require him to move out on his own.
College was the only option I ever considered, said Green. He said his college path was made easier by parents who were themselves college graduates and as such understood the trials and tribulations, ups and downs, and temptations he would face because they had been there, done that, years before.
For African-American male students who may not have come from a family with college experience, Green said that CSMs Men of Excellence Program will help demystify and relieve the stress of beginning their college careers.
For information and to apply for the Men of Excellence Summer Academy and program, visit http://www.csmd.edu/Diversity/MenofExcellence/.
Men of Excellence Summer Academy. 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Aug. 4-14. College of Southern Maryland, La Plata Campus, 8730 Mitchell Road, La Plata. A gateway to the 2014-15 academic year Men of Excellence Mentor Program, the summer academy is open to African American male students entering CSM full- or part-time. The Academy provides students with an orientation to CSM through student engagement, summer academic enrichment, team building and leadership development prior to the beginning of the year, and includes math and English enrichment courses taught by CSM faculty, tours and introductions to campus resources such as advising, tutoring, financial aid and library resources, and faculty networking. $25. Application deadline July 22. To apply for the Summer Academy, visit http://www.csmd.edu/Diversity/MenofExcellence/ or contact Mentor Program Coordinator Evan T. Green at firstname.lastname@example.org or 301-539-4743.