Lessons learned from men of color student success initiatives : a descriptive analysis of the characteristics of community college programs and an in-depth analysis of the evidence of effectiveness for selected programs
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The promises of the open door community college system have helped people from all walks of life access and achieve higher education credentials. Numerous community college graduates transferred to other universities to continue their academic pursuits or entered the emerging career areas with skills that afford those wages and lifestyles that allow them to support their families, contribute as tax payers and full participants in the American Dream. For many African American and Latino men, the hope of achieving a college degree was realized through their involvement in a special student success program that offered mentoring, academic support, life skills necessary for managing personal and professional relationships, financial literacy and friendships with peers built on honesty, integrity, and accountability agreements. Many of these programs, though life changing for participants, were small in scale, are not supported across institutions, lacked broad involvement from faculty members, and were limited in their scope. Long term sustainable program plans must include issues related to scalability, replication; financial and strategic plans; common measures of effectiveness that eliminate current achievement and attainment gaps President Obama along with other policy groups has challenged 2-year colleges to help America lead all other nations in producing the largest percentage of adults with a college credential. This research used a qualitative case study approach to collect, review, and analyze 82 community college minority male student success programs. To broaden the research study pertinent to what measures of evidence are used to determine effectiveness, program directors and participants were interviewed with a semi-structured approach. Data were analyzed and greater clarity of the problems many men of color face and the programs designed to increase their academic, career and workforce success. To close the gender and racial gaps identified demands holistic solutions between and among private, public, governmental, social, cultural, academic, and financial organizations. Our global knowledge economy demands college presidents, governing board members, faculty, staff, community, faith-based institutions, and men of color to collaborate and create, and improve and strengthen the chances for more minority men to attain college credentials.