Guiding our Minority Male Students to Graduation

At the very heart of the community college mission is our commitment to an open-door/open admission policy for all students. While we take pride in the diverse groups of students we serve, we know and realize we need to find solutions on the widening trend of minority male students not entering and staying in college at the same rate as female students.

To examine this issue further, Northwest Vista College’s Public Relations staff coordinated and hosted a panel discussion on Feb. 20 to bring to light this critical issue. The panelists were Dr. Ron Kelley, CEO of National School Improvement Corporation; Dr. Mateen Diop, executive director of Campus Administration & School Leadership for San Antonio Independent School District; and Jorge Segovia and Mike Gutierrez from UT Austin’s Project MALES – a group that mentors Hispanic male students from middle school to college. In addition to our employees attending the discussion, we had guests from other universities and educational organizations in San Antonio. 

Last year, the Center for Community College Student Engagement conducted a comprehensive report stating minority males are underrepresented across the board in higher education and are more likely to attend community college. African American and Hispanic males are earning associate degrees at a rate of 5 percent, compared to 32 percent for white male students, according to the report.

The panelists discussed the need for mentorship of minority males and the need for colleges to implement programs that involve employees guiding male students throughout their two-year college experience. Some of the takeaways from the CCCSE report and the panel discussion included setting high expectations for men of color and encouraging male students to get involved in campus clubs or events.

On campus, we have the Male Student Initiative where male students are mentored by male employees to help navigate the college process. NVC Rec Sports’ Daniel Johnson, who is the staff advisor for MSI, will also continue to volunteer to teach an all-male SDEV class.

From Mr. Johnson’s previous experience in teaching this course, he observed that the male students were more engaged in the class and participated more in conversations compared to co-ed SDEV classes. In the future, we hope to provide more resources to help our male students in a deliberate effort to provide an environment at NVC where men of color will be motivated to persist and graduate with an associate degree or certificate in hand. 

To see the full CCCSE report, see the link: