Ohio University’s New Program to Boost Black Male Enrollments and Graduation Rates

ohio-uOhio University in Athens has established the African American Male Initiative on campus. The goal of the program is to increase the number of Black men who enroll and graduate from the university.

The African American Male Initiative aims to connect its more than 40 students to academic support services on campus. It also is working in tandem with student organizations, student affairs, and the Athens community to establish a welcoming environment that young Black males can call home.

pattonJamie Patton, assistant dean of students, says that “it is important that these students see someone who looks like them early on, both inside and outside of the classroom, to aid in their sense of belonging.”

caldwellChris Caldwell, co-chair of the African American Male Initiative, adds that “coming into a predominantly white university is tough for all students of color, and specifically for Black males, for two reasons. All students have to adjust to the academic rigor and the burden of too much time, but Black males also have to adapt to cultural differences in their residence halls and in their classrooms.”

Caldwell notes that “nationwide, the African American male community is the largest college-going population with the lowest graduation rate. We want to turn that around and Ohio University wants to develop a model that other institutions can follow to help reverse this trend.”

The African American Male Initiative is funded by a two-year grant from the Konneker Fund for Learning and Discovery.

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  1. Ohio is doing a better job of addressing this unfinished business. I am proud of the work that President McDavis has done over the years.

  2. This is great to see a renewed focus on such a basic need. During my time on campus in the early 2000’s we established an organization with a similar aim called SAAB (Student African American Brotherhood). I can credit that and other organizational involvement for my success on campus and launching into the “real world.”

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