Retention (Community Colleges)
Doorway to Success African-American Male Retention Initiative
Contact: Ann Topping
The Doorway to Success African-American Male Retention Initiative was created to strengthen the academic, vocational, and technical skills of African American men at Monroe Community College. African-American men are typically non-traditional college students. They are underserved and often underprepared for the rigors of higher education. Greater than 90 % of all of the participants of the Doorway to Success are economically disadvantaged. Ten (10%) of the participants from this program disclosed that they were individuals with disabilities. Greater than 90% of all the participants of the Doorway to Success are considered educationally disadvantaged due to the fact that they attended Rochester City School District schools.
The primary objective of the initiative is to address the cultural and academic barriers to achievement by providing culturally relevant support, guidance and programming to increase retention and program completion rates of African-American men.
- Improve certification and graduation completion rates of African-American men.
- Increase retention of underserved and underrepresented student populations, primarily African-American men.
- Increase participation in student service programs by underrepresented students.
- Provide participants opportunities for culturally relevant support and guidance when selecting academic and career/technical programs.
- Improve the number of opportunities for employment for students as they complete coursework, certification, technical, and academic programs.
- Develop collaborative partnerships with the MCC Counseling and Advising Center, Transfer and Placement Center, The Educational Opportunity Program, Office for Services for Students with Disabilities, Damon City Campus Student Services and community organizations as appropriate.
In spring 2005 a program planning team met monthly to create a pilot structure for the program. Implementation date was established as July 2006. Key components include:
- A program leadership team consisting of the Director of Counseling and Advising, the Director of the Educational Opportunity Program, the DCC Dean of Students, two lead counselors, and the Doorway to Success staff meet quarterly to provide assistance to the program.
- The Educational Opportunity Program provides the Coordinator of the Doorway to Success with office space at the Brighton campus as well as technical assistance. Damon City Campus Student Services provides office space as well as technical assistance at the Damon City Campus.
- The Educational Opportunity Program, the Counseling and Advising Center and DCC Student Services staff advise and direct appropriate students to classes and other activities of the Doorway to Success. Staff also assists with program promotion and staff training.
- Staff providing services for students with disabilities on both campuses serves as collaborative partners to the Doorway to Success.
- Participants in the Doorway to Success are required to take a three-credit College Orientation Seminar, COS-133 and/or a one-credit Career Development and Life Planning class, CDL-100. COS-133 focused on issues such as study skills, time management, goal setting, and information literacy. CDL-100 introduces students to the elements of career decision making with emphasis on the process of career and life planning. Participants have the option of taking a Career Development class, CDL-100, in their second semester if they successfully complete COS 133.
- Faculty members assigned to teach the COS-133 course are trained through MCC's Transitional Studies department and are approved by the department chair. Faculty members teaching the CDL-100 course are approved through the Division of Student Services.
- Counseling and Advising staff are responsible for helping to advise and register students for the Doorway to Success COS and CDL classes.
- Participants are required to meet with Doorway to Success leadership team counselors as referred by Doorway to Success staff members to problem-solve difficulties.
- Participants in the Doorway to Success African-American male retention initiative are required to meet with the coordinator of the program and the program academic adviser twice a semester to discuss individual progress and to set short term goals.
- Participants are required to participate in at least one co-curricular activity each semester sponsored by MCC Campus Centers and attend presentations by student government leaders at both campuses.
- Doorway to Success participants are required to participate in orientation tours of the Learning and Academic Resource Centers at both campuses.
- All participants are given information sessions in the Career Center at the Brighton campus and the Career and Transfer Center at the Damon City Campus.
The number of participants in the Doorway to Success in 2006-2007 exceeded the original projection. One hundred and nine African-American men participated in the pilot program.
In addition to documenting the number of participants in the program, the following evaluation measures were implemented:
- Monthly meetings with the Directors of Counseling and Advising and Educational Opportunity Program, Damon City Campus Dean of Students and the Program Coordinator for evaluative discussion and program planning.
- Bi-weekly meetings with the Damon City Campus Dean of Students and the Program Coordinator to review program assessment tools and class materials.
- Monthly focus group sessions with counselors on the Brighton and Damon City Campus.
- Semester meetings with the Vice President, Student Services, the Director of Counseling and Advising, Director of EOP and the DCC Dean of Students to review program assessment tools and outcomes.
- Students in the CDL-100 were assessed using Strengths Quest, Career Thoughts Inventory (CTI) and Learning and Study Strengths Inventory (LASSI).
- Individual student meetings and class attendance were tracked and documented.
- Students who attended certain campus activities were given extra credit in the COS -133 classes.
The initial focus of the Doorway to Success initiative has been academic performance and internal resource utilization. Individual students have been assisted with issues that range from the Department of Human Services to the Department of Probation. Appropriate referrals were made to these agencies. Within Monroe Community College collaborations have been fostered through eight departments in the Division of Students Services and through the Transitional Studies and Academic Support Services departments in the Division of Academic Services.
Participants in the Doorway to Success program have yet to complete degree or certificate programs and therefore have yet to graduate. Of the students participating in the program in 2007-2008, sixty-two percent (62%) or thirty-three (33) students earned GPA's above 2.3 from the entire group of retained students, two other participants earned above 2.0 and nineteen students had GPA's below 2.0. The average overall GPA for program participants was 2.42. From this data on academic standing MCC projects that 60% of Doorway to Success participants will reenroll in fall 2008.
The retention rate for participants in the College Orientation Seminar (COS) from fall 2007 to spring 2008 was 65%. Fifty-four of one-hundred five students (51%) also participated in the advisement process and were retained for the spring 2008. This compares to 2006-2007 data indicating that African-American men have a degree or certificate completion rate of 11.3%. Retention rates of African-American men students averaged 30% in 2006-2007, with a general student retention rate of 58% at MCC.
Other reported outcomes for this initiative have been the discussion about how to begin to integrate the Doorway to Success into MCC Student Service's operational budget and programming, recommendations for including additional community resources, co curricular programming and Latino men, and a recommendation to begin a more detailed analysis of the first-year Doorway to Success program with other MCC and national retention data.