“Moving the Dial”: BMI Presents at Diversity Conference on Effective Retention of Black Male Students
By Nadine Wedderburn, associate professor/mentor
November 17, 2016
The inspiring results of research and analysis conducted collaboratively by SUNY Empire’s Decision Support division and the Black Male Initiative were presented at the 2016 SUNY Diversity Conference themed “Awareness to Action: Building a culture of inclusive excellence.” Co-sponsored by the SUNY Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and the University Faculty Senate, the conference was held in Albany earlier this month to provide SUNY constituents with opportunities to explore and share best practices in promoting diversity and inclusion, and to examine how issues of equity, justice and critical pedagogy functionally relate to the recruitment, retention and overall development of students, faculty and administration.
Titled “Moving the dial: The Black Male Initiative at SUNY Empire State College”, the presentation was delivered by Faculty Mentor David Fullard, Director of Institutional Effectiveness Joseph King and Vice President for Decision Support Mitchell Nesler. The presentation provided historical and contemporary context for the retention, academic assistance and graduation goals set by BMI and highlighted the results of a study conducted among 383 black male students of the Metropolitan Center who started their first term in the academic years 2010-11 through 2014-15. According to the study, BMI students showed a course completion rate of 85.2%, compared to a course completion rate of 69.8% for non-BMI students. Stated another way, BMI students who enrolled at Metro for the first time during 2009-10 and 2014-15 were shown to be two-and-a-half times more likely to complete their courses than their peers who were not BMI participants during that time. The study also showed that first-term performance is crucial to a student’s overall success regardless of age, degree type, receipt of a Pell grant, enrollment status, or area of study. BMI students were twice more likely to complete all first-term credits than non-BMI students. Further, the data suggests that BMI-affiliates who completed all of their first-term credits were more likely to be retained at the college after one year, compared to their peers who were not affiliated with BMI.
During a very dynamic question and answer segment, participants congratulated ‘Team BMI’ for its work and commented positively on the value of targeted efforts like BMI in supporting the success of higher education students from typically underrepresented groups. Fullard expressed hopes of replicating the Metropolitan Center BMI model across ESC and thanked the audience for thoughtful and engaging discussion.
The Black Male Initiative was started in 2009 at the Metropolitan Center and provides a welcoming and supportive environment that bolsters its members’ confidence and keeps black male students actively engaged on their journey towards graduation and future success. Black male students experiencing any barrier to completing their degree are encouraged to reach out to BMI members and faculty advisors for assistance, guidance and solutions.
For more information on the conference presentation and/or BMI at ESC, visit BMI at ESC, contact Peer Mentors Dexter Mead Dexter.Mead@esc.edu, Craig Pride Craig.Pride@esc.edu, David Fullard David.Fullard@esc.edu or Mentor Lear Matthews Lear.firstname.lastname@example.org.