Men of Color in Community Colleges

The Center for Community College Student Engagement and the Kresge Foundation recently published a report about male students of color at US community colleges.  Anyone contemplating a career in the community college or regional comprehensive sector would benefit from reading it.

This excerpt is from the beginning of the report.  Download the whole thing here.

Race Matters

Consistently and unmistakably, data show a persistent gap separating Latinos and Black males from other student groups on measures of academic progress and college completion. These gaps exist across higher education. They are undeniable and unacceptable.

Men of color have high aspirations when they begin higher education. Why are these aspirations not matched by similarly high outcomes? Until higher education institutions fully embrace the charge of eliminating this disparity, we cannot effectively serve our students, our communities, our national economy, or our democracy.

There are two reasons that community colleges can—and should—take the lead in this work. First, community colleges open their doors to all students, and they are the higher education institutions most likely to serve men of color. Second, open access is just the first step toward attaining the equity ingrained in the mission of community colleges. The more significant work is ensuring that every student has the support he or she needs to succeed. If community colleges can make this experience the norm for every student, the gaps will close.

The Center for Community College Student Engagement has spent the past two years exploring data related to men of color in community colleges. Center staff members have worked with experts in the field, listened systematically to students, and conducted new analyses of Center data. The result is actionable, practical information that colleges can use to create the conditions for success.

The issues discussed in this report can be deeply personal and emotionally difficult. Moreover, they play out against the backdrop of both the nation’s history and the continuing reality of inequity across American social systems, including health, child welfare, employment, criminal justice, and education at all levels.

These larger societal issues provide important context, but this report has a narrower focus. Directed to community college educators, it adds to a body of work by respected scholars and practitioners. It seeks to build understanding of the experiences of Latinos and Black males in community colleges—and offers strategies colleges should consider as they work to strengthen those experiences so they lead to better outcomes.

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