Men, most notably African-American men, rarely seek assistance when faced with the challenges of succeeding in college. This dynamic has been evident in student services initiatives for years. The majority of participants are normally women. To complicate this problem, our college’s minority men have persisted at a rate ten percent lower than other ethnic groups and have graduated at a rate one third of their student counterparts.
The purpose of Visions, Durham Tech’s minority male leadership initiative, is to provide opportunities for men who do not have the academic skills to be successful in college, the monetary resources to be financially stable, the presence of a positive role model to help develop leadership potential, and an encouraging and positive social network to promote success.
Durham Tech, like many community colleges, has piloted several student support programs in addition to the traditional services we provide. These programs have had limited success primarily due to the difficulty in attracting at-risk, first generation, or first-time enrolled students to take advantage of programs that are not required for an academic course of study.
Despite this dynamic, Visions has succeeded. The initiative provides a multi-faceted student engagement model that encourages the participation of minority men. Visions attracts men by providing intrusive academic advising in a weekly group discussion format, fostering the artistic development of talented students through a jazz ensemble, offering financial support through scholarships and job placement services, tutoring kids at a local elementary school, and expanding academic opportunities by visiting local universities.