University of Georgia Program Aims to Boost Black Male Retention and Graduate Rates

The Georgia African American Male Experience (GAAME) started in 2014 as a two-day transition program for Black males accepted into the University of Georgia. The program has grown into a multifaceted initiative that centers on the needs of Black male students, supporting and improving retention and graduation rates.

Originally focused on encouraging students to attend the university through GAAME Weekend, the program expanded to offer more dynamic support during the 2018-19 academic year. GAAME supports Black and African American males offering academic skill enrichment, student support services, mentoring, and leadership development.

Marques Dexter, assistant director of student initiatives and director of the GAAME program, stated that “GAAME provides an opportunity for students to find community within their community. The resources at UGA are extensive. This allows us to focus on them as individuals, helping them develop into the leaders they see themselves to be and not to fit a mold.”

Before being named director of the GAMME program earlier this year, Dexter was a graduate assistant in the Office of Institutional Diversity, creating and organizing programming supporting UGA students from underrepresented backgrounds. Dr. Dexter is a graduate of Robert Morris University near Pittsburgh, where he majored in business administration. He holds a master’s degree in kinesiology and just completed a Ph.D. in kinesiology from the University of Georgia.

GAAME has directly served more than 50 students in the 2020-21 academic year, and more than 200 students since its inception. GAAME program participants generally retain at a higher rate and often maintain higher GPAs than their peers.

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