CCC Launches Initiative to Bolster Retention of Black Students
The Cross Cultural Center (CCC) launched its newest effort, the African-American Male Scholars (AAMS) Initiative, on Sept. 1, with an informational session and networking reception.
More than 50 Saint Louis University affiliated attendees discussed AAMS's mission, goals and purpose in the Sinquefield Stateroom of DuBourg Hall. While there, prospective student-participants took the opportunity to interact with University administrators, staff, faculty, graduate/professional students and alumni in a reception that immediately followed.
The primary ambition of the AAMS Initiative is to improve the retention and graduation rates of the University's African-American male undergraduate students.
"Saint Louis University is committed to the success of all students, which includes closing degree attainment gaps that may exist among student populations" said Kent Porterfield, vice president for Student Development. "A SLU education should create opportunity and change lives. This program for African-American male students is a good example of that commitment and aspiration."
Although the retention and graduation of the students is important, AAMS's aspires to achieve a larger objective in facilitating the personal success of the participants. The Initiative's stated goals are to provide:
- Experiences that enable African American male students to better understand themselves in the context of the larger community and demonstrate pride in their own cultural heritage.
- A supportive campus community for African American male students by assisting students in building relationships with their peers, faculty, staff, administrators, alumni and members of the local community.
- Exposure to campus and community resources that will enable African-American male students to realize their potential for academic success and to impact the campus and community as servant leaders.
- Awareness of issues that affect African-American male college students among campus and community stakeholders.
Major components of the AAMS Initiative include faculty/staff/alumni/peer mentorship and networking, college success workshops and community service/engagement. More than twenty SLU African-American male faculty, staff, administrators, graduate/professional students and alumni have already committed to serving as mentors in the program. Those mentors and student participants will connect in mid-September and continue to build their relationships throughout the remainder of the undergraduates' academic career.
"I am happy to be part of a network so dedicated to seeing young black men achieve," said Andre Benson, program coordinator of Student Support and Retention in the CCC.
As a part of the network, Stefan Bradley, Ph.D., AAMS advisory council co-chair and associate professor of history and African-American studies, contends that "AAMS is a winner for all those involved, as it creates a cadre of successful students who will learn to love the University and become loyal alumni in the future."
The AAMS Initiative is open to all African-American male undergraduates with a specific focus on freshmen and sophomores. To find out more about AAMS or to recommend a student, please contact the CCC staff at firstname.lastname@example.org.