AACC_MinMaleRetProgs: Housatonic Community College - You Can Do It

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Housatonic Community College - You Can Do It 


Joyce Gonzales 

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Housatonic Community College  


900 Lafayette Blvd 

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Program Description

YCDI (You Can Do It) is a program focused on minority males, where they feel welcomed, understood and supported in becoming successful students at Housatonic Community College and contributing citizens of the greater Bridgeport area communities.The You Can Do It Initiative held a summer bridge program on the Housatonic Community College campus.  The six-week program ran from July 6, 2009 – August 14, 2009.  The College’s English 043 (Writing Paragraph to Essay) and Math 075/095 (Arithmetic and pre-algebra) were offered to the students.  The English course curriculum was taught in learning modules and worked with students to strengthen their grammar, English composition, reading, and study skills while incorporating literature relevant to the students’ background and experiences.  The mathematics course was taught in the College’s Open Entry/Open Exit format.  The OE/OE course is a self-paced math course in a computer lab with an instructor and tutors present.  Both the math and English methodologies allows every student to experience success at their own level.  In addition to academics, the program built supportive relationships among students and staff by incorporating school and community based activities that encouraged engagement and leadership skills. The students received a “work-study” type stipend during the 6-week program. Students were expected to earn this stipend by demonstrating satisfactory progress in their coursework and participation in all scheduled activities and workshops. The project’s intention is to continue these relationships and supports throughout the following semesters.

Program Services

Mentoring; Tutoring; Cohort Study Sessions 

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Program Initiated

Faculty members advocated for a special program for minority males to increase their access to college and more importantly to increase their success in courses and ultimately graduation rates.  The data supported this request due to the low percentage of minority males entering the college and of those at the college, the lower percentage of graduation rates compared to other groups.

What are the baseline data on college participation and success for men of color?
For the Spring 2009 semester at HCC, 49% of the male student enrollment was minority males compared to 55% of the female minority student population.  However, for the 2007-2008 academic school year, there was an overall graduation rate of only 7% for African-American males.  Of the entire 2004 cohort of first-time, full-time degree-seeking students completing their two- year Associates degree in less than 4 years, only 14.6% of African-American males and only 12.3% of Hispanic male students graduated.  Most students dropping out before completing their degree do so during the semesters of remedial college preparation they must initially complete. These statistics indicate that special measures need to be undertaken to engage and support minority males in their early attempts to achieve college success.

Program Funded

The College received initial funding to implement the pilot summer academic program from the Connecticut State GEAR UP program. The college has received an additional $15,000 from the Fairfield County Foundation to use for tuition aid.

College President and Administrators Involvement

Collaboration is key! Prior to implementation of The You Can Do It (YCDI) program, a steering committee comprised of members from the higher education community was established. College representatives from the following departments met to develop the program: Financial Aid, Veteran’s Center, Counseling Center, HCC Foundation, Humanities, Developmental Studies, and Behavioral Social Sciences departments, Dean of Students Office, Business Office, Advising Center, and the Early Childhood Laboratory School.  External members of the committee represent outside community organizations that have programs for minority males. Together with the GEAR UP Site Coordinators, this committee developed the program structure including scheduling, coursework and selection of participants.

Program Success Story

My name is John M., I am a 46-year old participant and member of the "You Can Do It" program at Housatonic Community College where I attend full-time, pursuing a degree in Human Services.  I entered the YCDI (summer) accelerated program in July 2009 where I was assisted with my math and English composition needs.  As a result of the program’s ideals and efforts,I became more confident in my own ability to successfully achieve a college education and enrolled the Fall 09 semester.  I am eternally grateful for the program's assistance and encouragement, which enabled me to enter college -- prepared for the work ahead.  My college experience thus far has been one of great expectations 'achieved'.  I am living a dream, attending college and receiving the support of YCDI.  The opportunities that await me in the future are the direct result of this program’s belief that "I can do it".  I am a father of three, who works 50+ hours a week in addition to taking four classes.  And by the way, I am attending my second semester and still going strong; thanks to the dedicated staff and contributors of this hope fulfilling program.  "If I can do it. . . You Can Do It". 
Created at 2/24/2010 3:41 PM  by System Account 
Last modified at 3/3/2010 12:54 PM  by KEVIN CHRISTIAN 
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