BY RICH REZLER
Washtenaw Community College recently joined a pair of consortiums that are committed to improving the success of historically underrepresented and underserved students in college classrooms.
In late April, WCC announced it had joined the National Consortium on College Men of Color (NCCMC), which is housed by the Community College Equity Assessment Lab.
In May, WCC joined five other post-secondary institutions in the state to form the Michigan Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (MI-LSAMP).
“These new initiatives align with WCC’s commitment to increase access to post-secondary education options and increasing the retention and graduation rates of minority students,” said Clarence Jennings, Dean of Student Access, Success, Equality and Inclusion.
An overview of the programs:
Despite programs designed to enhance outcomes for men of color, in the United States only 17% of black men and 15% of Latino men earn a certificate, degree, or transfer from a community college to a four-year institution in six years. Figures for men from other ethnic groups (e.g., Native American, Southeast Asian) also indicate an extreme need for improvement.
To combat this achievement gap, the NCCMC facilitates an exchange of ideas among community colleges across the nation on how best to serve men of color in educational institutions. The colleges share efforts and learn new strategies.
WCC’s engagement in the NCCMC will enhance development for its faculty and staff, enable informed interventions for its current programs serving men of color, and inspire new initiatives.
Funded by a five-year, $4.25 million grant by the National Science Foundation, MI-LSAMP aims to increase participation and graduation rates among underrepresented minorities in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields.
The consortium includes the University of Michigan, Michigan State University, Wayne State University, Western Michigan University, Mott Community College and WCC.
Funding from the NSF grant has allowed all four MI-LSAMP four-year institutions to host Pre-First-Year programs, a six-week academic-intensive experience designed to acclimate incoming freshmen with both the academic and environmental aspects of post-secondary education.
Community college students have the opportunity to participate in a summer bridge program between high school and their first year in community college, and then again during the summer between community college and transfer to a four-year institution.
WCC and Mott are new members of the consortium.
In a previous phase of the program, the four universities increased the number of underrepresented minority students that graduated with degrees in STEM fields from 423 in 2011 to 653 in 2016.