Chicago Heights, IL–(ENEWSPF)– Prairie State College student Brandon Banks decided to attend Prairie State College (PSC) because he wanted a strong start to his college education. One of the first classes he enrolled in was PSC’s College Success Seminar, Man Up!, a program designed for African-American male students.
“The Man Up! program gave me the encouragement and confidence to succeed,” said Banks. “The professors were hands-on and provided mentoring both inside and outside of class.”
Under the leadership of Linda Uzureau, vice president of academic affairs, PSC’s Man Up! program was created by the college’s four African-American male professors: Bryan Dunston, André Halliburton, James Moore, and Elighie Wilson. To develop the college success seminar, the four professors researched the practices that foster academic success for African-American male students. The professors designed the program to create a positive college experience while teaching the students about the importance of building relationships.
“We have discovered the problems of home and work keep young African-American males from becoming successful in the classroom,” said Wilson. “It is our goal to teach them how to resolve those issues and then how to tackle school.”
Nationwide, the completion rate for African-American males enrolled at community colleges is below 50 percent. Studies have shown colleges that engage their students and encourage relationship building have higher retention and completion rates.
“We do a variety of activities to help motivate the students to be the best they can be,” said Moore. “Young men have expressed how the seminar has helped them become better friends, husbands, fathers, citizens, and students.”
In addition to the positive feedback from the students, the college recently received national recognition from the National Council of Instructional Administrators for the Man Up! program. PSC was one of two institutions to receive such recognition.
“While the recognition from our peers is terrific, it is most rewarding to see the impact this program is having on our students,” said Halliburton.
“One of the reasons we are so successful is because we have made personal connections with our students,” said Dunston. “The students who took the class in the fall came back in the spring to tell us how well they were doing and many have requested more courses like this.”
The professors are working on another college success course that will complement the college’s Protégé program, which was established in 2006. The Protégé program is a year-round initiative for African-American males that cultivates academic progress through mentoring, college visits, cultural outings, and various workshops.
“We are working to blend the academic affairs side, the Man Up! program, with the student affairs side, the Protégé program, to continue to foster the success of our African-American male students,” said Wilson. “We’ve accomplished a lot so far, but we’ve only just begun.”