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UNT groups look to increase retention rate of African-American male students

UNT groups look to increase retention rate of African-American male students

Dedicated Men is a UNT student organization that meets biweekly on Wednesdays. They are committed to helping men reach their full potential. Jacob Ostermann

UNT groups look to increase retention rate of African-American male students
October 18
22:05 2017

At UNT, African-American men have the lowest retention rate in regards to race gender, not including non-resident females, according to UNT Data, Analytics, & Institutional Research.

According to their data, African-American men have a retention rate of 73.91 percent. Though an increase from the 2011-2012 retention rate at 64.34 percent, African-American women hold the highest retention rate at 84.48 percent, not including non-resident males.

In response to these numbers, UNT and student organizations have created initiatives to help black male students.

UNT’s student activities awarded best organization to Dedicated Men for the month of September, citing their hard work and dedication to making UNT a better campus. 

Dedicated Men is a student organization that was founded last spring by senior marketing student Joshua Okpara. He founded the group saying there was a need for a non-Greek organization designed to help minority men succeed.

Biochemistry junior David Spears, president of the organization, was unaware of the low retention rate of his fellow African-American male students but said he isn’t surprised.

“It’s another statistic, another piece of evidence that exemplifies the results of systematic racism in society,” Spears said.

Spears and Okpara are both confident their organization and executive board are doing everything they can to help improve their community by changing their mindset to one that will help them progress.

Both said their goal is to help change the stereotype of minority men.

“We’ve been programmed to think of minority men in a negative image,” Okpara said. “Not in a suit or doing anything successful.”

The executive members’ main goal is to set an example for their peers and members of the organization. They’ve created small study groups divided by major, which includes the younger generations through their mentorship program with Denton Independent School District’s high schools.

Dedicated Men will also be holding their second annual “Dedicated Fade” event at the local Denton barbershop North Texas Cutz on Oct. 23, offering free haircuts to all young men but geared towards UNT male students. 

A new living learning community, LLC, that began this fall, the “Male Alliance for Rigorous, Transformative and Interdisciplinary Approach to Learning” also known as MARTIAL Eagles, at Rawlins Hall is also dedicated to helping this group succeed in their college careers.

Harold Woodard, executive director for student retention initiatives works alongside Candi Harris, student services coordinator for this LLC, helping students with high attrition rates, which is first generation African American.

The learning communities within the UNT student housing are academic neighborhoods designed for residents of a specific group to succeed together.

Students that stay in LLC’s engage with UNT at a deeper level overall. They also get help with transitioning into college, maintaining a higher GPA, as well as elevated graduation rates, according to UNT’s Housing Department.

“I want to not only learn more from them but to set an example to the future MARTIAL Eagle members,” freshman MARTIAL Eagle Moses Chism said.

The MARTIAL Eagles will progress by focusing on the history of their culture through the lens of music, by studying African-American music heard in plantation societies followed by spirituals, blues, jazz and modern music.

The students are also required to take a three-hour sociology course, Introduction to Race and Ethnicity, as well as attend a one-hour seminar co-taught by Woodard and Harris.

“At its heart, this program is a retention-based program,” Woodard said. “I’m hoping that these young men finish their semester with the highest GPA possible for them, and see them back for another semester.”

The National Student Clearing House Research Center reported in April of this year that black students had the lowest six-year completion rates at four-year institutions coming in at 45.9 percent with black male students coming out at the lowest among gender with 40 percent.

Women among both race and gender reports had higher completion rates than men, with the gap between black men and women being the widest with black women at a 50.5 percent completion rate.

Featured Image: Dedicated Men is a UNT student organization that meets biweekly on Wednesdays. They are committed to helping men reach their full potential. Jacob Ostermann

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Kayla Goode

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1 Comment

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    Sugar Daddy Sites October 19, 04:10

    That’s a good news for African-American students.

    Reply to this comment

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