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The effect of faculty mentoring on African American male student retention at a Midwestern Community College. Charles Cunningham Counselor, Madison College Jeff Galligan Senior Advisor, Madison College Dissertation Research Presentation March 10, 2014. INTRODUCTION.

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The effect of faculty mentoring on African American male student retention at a Midwestern Community College

Charles Cunningham

Counselor, Madison College

Jeff Galligan

Senior Advisor, Madison College

Dissertation Research Presentation

March 10, 2014

introduction
INTRODUCTION

Statement of the Problem

  • African-American males face considerable challenges in college.
  • Colleges and universities struggle with low persistence and high dropout rates for African-American males across the country Madison College follows these national trends.
  • Mentoring programs have not been adequately examined as strategies to improve retention
  • Madison College’s strategy for addressing low retention of African-American males is the creation of the Faculty-Student Mentoring Program
  • The Faculty-Student Mentoring Program at Madison College has not been evaluated for its impact on retention
purpose of study
Purpose of Study
  • Examine the effects of faculty-student mentoring on the retention of African American male students at a Midwestern Community College
  • Explore what components of a faculty-student mentoring program contributes to African American male student success
    • How does a faculty-student mentoring program impact the retention of African American males attending a Midwestern community college?
    • What components of the faculty-student mentoring program contributed to students’ retention?
literature review
Literature Review
  • Mentoring Research (Dr. Daniel Levinson, 1978)
  • Student Involvement Theory (Dr. Alexander Astin, 1984)
  • Faculty-Student Mentoring (Dr. Bharah, 2009)
  • Supportive campus climate (Strayhorn & Terrell, 2007a)
  • Faculty-Student Mentoring on African-American Males at Four-Year Colleges (Harris, 2007)
  • African-American male student retention at community colleges (Mears, 2011; Foster, 2008)
  • Faculty-Student Mentoring on African-American Males (Isaacs, 2011; Wood & Turner, 2011; Brown, 2007; Bass, 2011; Beckles, 2008)
research methods
Research Methods
  • Research Design – Qualitative Study
  • Conducted one-on-one interviews with 13 African American Male Students in the Mentoring Minority Male Scholars Program
  • Analyzed data through content analysis using NVivo10 qualitative analysis software
  • Identified five themes
study results 5 themes
Study Results: 5 Themes
  • Faculty-Student Relationship
  • Academic Guidance and Support
  • Motivational Factors (Intrinsic and Extrinsic)
  • Peer Group Support
  • Institutional Connectedness
quote
Quote:
  • “Obviously my mentor helped me stay in school and keep going because I was going to stop at one point, but I think that helps a lot. You need someone to tell you to keep going. Of course, I don't want to let my leaders or mentors of the program down, so my goal has been stronger. I know I'm going to finish school, and it gave me a reason. Just like a parent--you don't want to let them down, because they put all that time and effort in for you to be successful. So you want to be successful…It just give me more confidence. I've been more confident in myself with somebody telling me, “You can do it,” and sometimes you just need that.”
theme 1 faculty student relationship
Theme 1: Faculty-Student Relationship
  • Participants revealed that their mentors provided them with individual tutoring, academic guidance, counseling, leadership development and personal support.
  • Participants identified their relationships with their mentors, the academic guidance and support they received from their mentors, and the personal support they experienced in the program as three critical components of the faculty-student mentoring program.
theme 1 faculty student relationship continued
Theme 1: Faculty-Student Relationship Continued
  • Results showed that participation in the faculty-student mentoring program at Midwest Community College played a critical role in African American male students’ decisions to stay in school despite academic and personal challenges they often experience in college.
  • The study reinforces how faculty mentors can play a critical role in helping African American male students transition effectively to the community college environment.
  • This study supports studies by Brown (2007) and Harris (2007) studies that highlight the benefits of mentoring on African American male retention at a community college
quote1
Quote:
  • “I just want it to be known that with this program, it gives a first year student a sense that when times get hard or if they get hard, it's help out here. Like you said, some of the mentors are math teachers, and this mentor is an English teacher and its resources that the group provided for you. We had a lot of academic resources in our group with teachers that help, and volunteers, and mentors. That's what I was saying if I haven't said that already. The academic resources that the group provided for the students who would most likely probably wouldn't go to the tutoring center or the library. That’s what I think.”
quote2
Quote:
  • “It's affected me positively, because before I got into the program I was having a little bit of trouble academically. It got me back on schedule as far as progress reports and everything. It just showed me how to keep on top of what I'm doing. Before then, I didn't even think about checking my grade. I was just doing the work and then waiting till the end to see the results.”
theme 2 academic guidance and support
Theme 2: Academic Guidance and Support
  • Academic guidance and support from mentors played a significant role in participants’ decisions to stay in school. The mentors provided academic guidance and support in the form of individual tutoring, academic monitoring, and academic skills development.
  • Academic workshops provided participants with academic skills such as effective note-taking, test-taking, and writing skills needed to successfully complete their coursework.
  • .
quote3
Quote:
  • “Mentor encouraged me to keep going. Like last semester, I was almost ready to just give up, but talking with you, and other mentors, and other faculty, and my teachers as well, I was able to get back on track basically get through the semester and come back this semester more positive and ready to go.”
  • It's making me believe more that I can succeed. Like I said, I had a bad semester and it kind of took my courage down a little bit, but after being able to talk to people my confidence level is back up. Just wanting to succeed and do better for my family. My kids--to let them see that there is something better out there in life than the things that you know me, myself, that I was shown. Just to show my kids (pause) to get them an early start. I want them to see there are positive things that can happen when you just work hard.
theme 3 motivational factors intrinsic extrinsic
Theme 3: Motivational Factors (Intrinsic & Extrinsic)
  • All of the participants discussed their fears of disappointing their mentors, their children, and peers.
  • Participants expressed how important it was for them personally to be successful at school and to be the first in their immediate family to earn a college degree.
  • The participants referenced their mentors 69 times in their conversations regarding their motivation to persist and succeed in college.
  • Interaction with faculty mentors and participation in the program were cited as the most important reasons why participants persisted despite the obstacles they faced in school or at home that would normally prevent them from continuing with their education.
quote4
Quote:
  • “Yeah. It helped me succeed more in my classes--to work for something. I'm working with a bunch of the guys in the program, and it helped me succeed because we're all working towards something. At the end of the semester, when we're like, “Okay, let's see how everybody did. I don't want to be that guy at the end of the pole, you know. (Laughter.) So I try my hardest. just think it's a great group. If you haven’t joined it, I would definitely recommend it to anybody. I just think it's great to have a group of guys that work together. It was nice because no one didn’t not like anybody for what they were doing. Everybody had their different goals, and everybody just seemed to help everyone out, so it's really nice.”
theme 4 peer group support
Theme 4: Peer Group Support
  • Participants referenced the support they received from their peer group members a total of 36 times.
  • The participants discussed how beneficial it was to connect with their peers for support.
  • All of the participants referenced peer group support as a critical factor in encouraging them to stay involved in both the mentoring program and to stay in school.
quote5
Quote:
  • “It feels like I'm closer to them--the staff and mentors. I can talk to people and not be scared or embarrassed to ask questions. Yeah, I feel closer to the college. Like I can go up and ask someone without feeling embarrassed or nervous or anything. I feel closer, like we could just be all one big family.”
  • “Yes, I did. I think it helped me feel connected because when I first started here I wasn't too connected. I felt like I was lost, and I felt like I was behind everyone, and I just didn't know what I was doing.”
theme 5 institutional connectedness
Theme 5: Institutional Connectedness
  • The participants referenced institutional connectedness 35 times in the interviews.
  • All of the participants stated that the faculty-student mentoring program helped them feel connected to the college.
  • Research suggests that supporting connections and nurturing a supportive and inclusive environment is critical for increasing retention rates of African American male students (Mears, 2011, Foster 2008, Elam, 2011 & Iscaas, 2011).
findings research question 1
Findings: Research Question 1
  • How does a faculty-student mentoring program impact the retention of African American males attending a Midwestern community college?
findings research question 2
Findings: Research Question 2
  • What components of the faculty-student mentoring program contribute to African American male student retention?
    • Faculty-student relationship
    • Academic guidance and support from mentors and staff
    • Peer group support – learning community
    • Counseling and advising support from mentors and staff
    • Academic and life skills workshops
recommendations
Recommendations
  • Institutional Policies:
    • Funding
    • Welcoming environment reflected in institution’s policies
    • Develop Diversity Hiring Programs “Grow Your Own Program”
    • institutional policies should allow incentives for community colleges to develop creative mentoring programs that increase African American male retention.
    • Community college administration can also provide incentive for Academic Programs, Support Service Personnel, and Student Life to come up with creative programming that increase African American male student engagement and connectedness on campus with the aim of increasing retention.
    • Admissions and enrollment play a key role in retention – customer service and integration Business Model perspective and Student Development Model
recommendations1
Recommendations
  • Student Support Services:
  • This researcher recommends that student support services need to be on the forefront in supporting programs that increase African American male retention at community colleges.
  • This researcher recommends that student service personnel think creatively in alternative ways to reach African American male students on community college campuses.
  • The students in this study also expressed how beneficial it was for faculty and staff to monitor their academic progress in class.
  • student support services provides African American male students with academic workshops focused on academic and personal life skills that prepare students for success.
recommendations academic degree programs
RecommendationsAcademic Degree Programs:
  • This researcher recommends that Academic Degree Programs attract, recruit, train and retain faculty who are committed to serving the academic and personal needs of African American male students at community colleges.
  • This researcher recommends that academic degree programs at community colleges develop informal and formal mentoring programs for their African American male students.
  • Faculty can provide African American male students with a variety of academic and career support that can increase retention at community college.
  • Faculty in the academic degree programs can help African American male students navigate the college experience and also provide a sounding board for career and academic guidance.
recommendations2
Recommendations
  • Student Life:
  • The researcher recommends that student life personnel identify, recruit, train and retain successful African American male student peer role-models to service as peer mentors during orientation and by students’ specific academic program.
  • Student life can assist community colleges with providing African American male students a place on campus to meet regularly with mentors, peers and staff on campus.
  • Student life can also provide incentives to encourage African American male student participation in campus extracurricular activities.
significance of the study
Significance of the Study
  • Provides Madison College with evidence that mentoring programs contribute to the retention of African American males.
  • Illuminates components of mentoring programs that make a difference for students to connect them with faculty, peers, and the institution.
  • Findings and recommendations can be applied to support programs across the College.
  • Research adds to the literature regarding the importance of supporting mentoring programs for African American males in higher education, and in particular at community colleges.
  • Community Colleges need to examine and support the needs of African American male students with prior involvement in the correctional system.
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Questions?

Thank you!

Edgewood College

Doctoral Program in Educational Leadership (Ed.D.)