Jackson State University associate professor Rodney Washington, Ed.D., is recruiting participants for his Presidential Creative Award-winning research project that aims to keep black, male students on track to their degree.
The JSU G.U.Y.S. (Guiding Undergraduates through Yearly Support) Project: A Research-Based Approach to Retaining Minority Male Students in Higher Education won a 2013 Creative Award for Faculty and Staff. In recent weeks, Washington has been actively recruiting black, male freshmen to share their stories about obstacles they’ve encountered that could have discouraged them from continuing their degree. Interested students can contact Washington through the JSU Guys Facebook page or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org. JSU Guys is also on Twitter.
The objective is to keep black, male students in school, said Washington, who is chair of the Department of Elementary and Early Education in the College of Education and Human Development.
The increasing decline of African American male students in higher education has become a national epidemic and one that merits extensive investigation, Washington said.
Washington has recruited faculty from all five of the university’s colleges to assist on the project.
“Studies indicate that African American male graduation rates are dismally lower than that of all other ethnic and gender groups,” Washington said. “This vulnerable population has been ignored in many aspects.”
Washington said early feedback from students has revealed some students aren’t taking advantage of support services offered by the university.
“When they’re freshmen, they really don’t know how to navigate that track,” he said. “This project has strong implications for university service models, such as First Year Experience, developmental education and enrollment outcomes.”
The study will examine four years of cohort data from 2008 to 2011 to determine a profile of African American male students enrolled at JSU.
He said the final component of his study will be the creation of a formal mentoring program at the university.