JSU associate professor recruiting participants for black, male student retention project

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.

Dr. Rodney Washington

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: jsu.guys@jsums.edu. JSU Guys is also on Twitter.

Tell your story and win a $100 Visa card.

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.

GUYS logo“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.


  1. Teresa says:

    I think this is a great cause. I have a son who graduated 2012. Did 3 semesters of college. He decided to take a leave. Is it too late for him to be a part of this study? Also a nephew….

  2. Mieyatta Malone says:

    This is a wonderful project Dr. Washington! Congrats.

    I teach 4th grade in the JPS school district. I would love for this type of tracking program to begin in elementary because our young men really need the encouragement, focus, and mentorship as early as elementary.

    Keep up the great work!

  3. Yu Shi says:

    Ambitious cause. Wish you a great success, Dr. Washington:)

  4. Anthony Ruttenburg says:

    I am currently a student under your online education program and would love for my daughter to be apart of this program what is the age limit.

  5. Kimberly Hendon says:

    Congratulations of your work! What an awesome project! Best wishes to you as you continue your research, and for having a positive impact on the education of our African American males.

  6. Dr. Spann says:

    Great vision and move on retention project targeting African American males. I truly believe this initiative will serve as an important aspect in the lives of many.

  7. Belinda Richardson-Cargle says:

    Is there a age limit? I have a 15 year old high school student that need to be included in this project!

    Please advise

  8. Dr. Rhythm says:

    A noble cause. . .all the best to you.

  9. Nola Radford says:

    Congratulations on your work, Dr. Washington!

  10. William A. Brown says:

    This is great! Making an attempt to stamp out the – fade outs, the push outs and the dropouts. Keep up the greatness.

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