Strand: Equitable leadership practices
Time: Thursday, April 19, 2018 from 9:45 – 11:00 am
Our instincts and experience informed us, our data and research confirmed it. Minority male students were simply not achieving on par with all other students. This was not acceptable. Like other colleagues at other colleges, where and how do we start? We began by listening to our students’ voices – using Appreciative Inquiry. They trusted us to tell their stories – about abandonment, bonding dysfunction, their personal experiences with multitudes of life setbacks.
Eric Lara, Ed.D.
Associate Dean, Student Success and Equity
Mt. San Antionio Community College
Biography: Dr. Eric Lara is the Associate Dean, Student Success and Equity at Mt. San Antonio Community College. Dr. Lara oversees all Student Equity funding on campus, the four equity programs: ARISE, ASPIRE, Dream and REACH, and serves as the co-chair for the Student Equity Committee.
His professional experience spans over ten years and three levels of the California Higher Educational system. Eric has worked as the Director of the Mathematics Engineering Science Achievement (MESA) program at College of the Canyons, as the Director of Student Affairs in Electrical Engineering at UC San Diego, and as the Retention Coordinator and Academic Advisor for the Maximizing Engineering Potential (MEP) Program at Cal Poly Pomona.
Dr. Lara holds a Doctorate in Education with an emphasis in Higher Educational Leadership from the University of Southern California, as well as a Master’s in Education and Bachelor’s in Electronics and Computer Engineering Technology, both from Cal Poly Pomona.
Social Media: (LinkedIN)(Twitter)(Facebook)
Michelle Sampat, J.D.
Associate Dean of Instruction
Mt. San Antonio Community College
Biography: Michelle Sampat is Associate Dean of Instruction at Mt. San Antonio College. She was a K-6 teacher for 9 years and a Professor of Reading at Mt. SAC for 16 years. Michelle’s focus in education has been equity-driven.
Michelle holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Pomona College in Claremont, CA, a master’s degree in education from the Claremont Graduate University, and a juris doctorate from Whittier Law School.
Michelle served as senate secretary, legislative liaison, and curriculum chair at Mt. SAC. She was on the Foundation Board for the Academic Senate of the California Community Colleges and on the state ASCCC Curriculum and Standards and Practices Committees. She co-chairs the Institutional
Effectiveness Committee, the Guided Pathways Workgroup, and the Curriculum and Instruction Council. She serves on the Faculty Professional Development and Management Steering Committees as well as the Equity Committee and promotes Mt. SAC’s instruction-lead equity initiatives.
Social Media: (Facebook)
The goal of this session is to share the experiences, insights, and effective practices gained in the establishment of the Mt. San Antonio College Minority Male Initiative. With the support of management, faculty, and support staff, MMI aspires to develop exceptional intervention practices for minority male students. Our presentation is based on the fact that, despite all that we have read and studied, there wasn’t a clear roadmap on developing specific interventions for minority males in community college. Serving as an open entry institution, our students come to us with different levels of college preparedness. Therefore, a comprehensive approach is needed to have candid conversations about challenging issues and foster an environment where we can learn from each other, with the end result increased access, equity, inclusion and success for minority males.
The Minority Male Initiative (MMI) is not a self-contained program. Rather, it is an “initiative” in the sense that it is organic and dynamic – constantly under development and making additions and adjustments to improve our reach and our outcomes. It includes both direct services and interventions to students as well as an action plan that incorporates campus-wide approaches to improving student success. Through a network of strategies, the College is addressing student equity, access, success and social mobility.
Through our efforts in addressing student equity, our Institutional Research department confirmed that our African American, Latino, Pacific Islander, and other minority male students are not graduating and transferring at the same rates as the average Mt. SAC student. While we also noticed similar statistics with females of the same ethnic groups, minority males, most specifically, African American, Latino and Pacific Islander male students are not accessing services, are not progressing in mathematics, and are not persisting. Focus groups with members of these impacted student groups found two salient factors: (1) that it wasn’t that they were too proud to ask for help; they simply believed that they should figure things out on their own, and make it work for themselves – by themselves. (2) When they did ask for help, the response from staff and faculty was either insensitive or they were unable to phrase their needs correctly. With these insights, we further pursued initiatives and interventions, articulated by our own students that would be pertinent to addressing their needs.
Our research has found that:
• African American and Latino males are far below equity in Transfer
• African American, Latino, and Pacific Islander males are below equity in
o English writing and math completion
o Certificate and degree completion
• Foster Youth, AB 540/Dream, and disabled students are far below equity in
o Course and ESL completion
o Certificate and degree completion
Our desire was to create a model of holistic development. Our students’ lives are so complex and their issues and concerns extend well beyond the classroom. Research from the Community College Research Center advised that “Colleges can better serve men of color by implementing effective practices for all students, while also emphasizing campus diversity, cultural competence, and other strategies for reducing stereotype threat.” The College’s student equity and student success focus is to look at deep, systemic changes that will enhance success and close equity gaps across the campus for all groups. Additionally, particular attention must be paid to specific groups of students who are most negatively impacted. To that extent, Mt. San Antonio College has developed an initiative to focus on the improvement of minority male student success, knowing that this improvement will move the needle for the entire campus.
The Components of MMI
• Student Development
o Leadership Retreats: There have been three, highly successful MMI student leadership retreats comprised of minority male students who have been nominated from equity programs (EOPS, Aspire/Umoja, Arise/AANAPISI, Dream, Bridge, ACES/TRiO, DSPS, REACH/Foster Youth). With the theme “I Can, I Will,” training topics have included: Imposter Syndrome, Locus of Control, Social Capital, Stereotype Threat, Code Switching, Emotional Intelligence. Results show:
o Cultural Capital: Students have participated in field trips to movies and theatrical productions to expose them to issues as well as the arts. Movies include: Spare Parts, They Call Me Malala, Hidden Figures, Moana. Theatrical productions include: Wicked, Motown, Hamilton.
• Success Intervention Plan: At each leadership retreat and at subsequent meetings on campus, students have developed particular interventions they believe will enable the college to improve success rates, especially with minority male students. These interventions have resulted in the development of an overall MMI Success Intervention Plan.
o Student Ambassadors: In order to reach students like themselves (first generation, low income, foster youth, formerly incarcerated, disabled, male of color) the students developed a Student Ambassador program. Student ambassadors are stationed at key locations on campus to provide direct inreach services to students on campus and conduct information sessions for new students.
o Monthly Mentoring Meetings, Fale Fono, Indaba: Monthly meetings are held in which mentors help to lead guided discussions with students on topics ranging from time management, communication skills, money management, stress management, career planning. The Fale Fono and Indaba are culturally-based, safe spaces where students share and discuss cultural identity, personal development, and life challenges.
• Academic Support: MMI students have articulated the need for academic support. However, they do not talk about “tutoring”. Rather, they ask for more opportunities and spaces for “group study.” They desire to be with others like them and to be in a supportive environment where they are comfortable attending, yet have access to resources (tutors). Based on both research, as well as our students’ own expressions of concern, increased emphasis on math success has been a critical development.
o Math Boot Camp: students enroll in a 6-8 week program in which they use the ALEKS online program to review math and learn new concepts to prepare both for placement testing as well as for enrollment in math classes.
o Math Success Lab: a safe space for students to go and study and review math has been developed. Tutors in the classroom/supplemental instruction tutors are available to review lessons and assist students as necessary. Students have the ability to use the ALEKS software to enhance their learning and preparation for enrollment in math. Study spaces, computers, and tutors are available. The space differs from the college’s math tutoring center in that students are encouraged to form study groups in their classes and meet in the lab where they can study together as well as receive direct assistance as necessary. MMI students have articulated the need to be able to go to safe spaces where they can study with individuals like them.
• Career Development
o SSEED – Student Success through Educational and Employment Development was developed to provide low income students, especially those who have few to no job skills, with opportunities to learn job skills and earn money. Jobs on campus enable students to interact with college staff who acknowledge them as students and provide a critical source of support by demonstrating interest in their roles as students. Students who are encouraged, and supported, to learn job skills and soft skills while earning a paycheck tend to attend class more regularly and have higher pass rates. Outcome data regarding SSSEED has shown that students with multiple disadvantages have had outstanding success.
o Student to student surveys – Student ambassadors survey students on campus regarding services provided, services needed, suggestions for improvement. This information is included in planning and evaluation of Student Services, accreditation, and annual program reviews.
o Student focus groups—Students have been posed specific questions to enable college staff/faculty/administrators to better understand and work collaboratively with students to better meet their needs. Students responded to prompts such as: What are the barriers/road blocks you faced? What does Mt. SAC need to do?
Impact the Program Is Having – Testimonials
There are many ways to measure the impact of a particular program or initiative. We are meeting our goals, continuing our work, and monitoring our progress. Students are becoming self-actualized and in turn are impacting others. Thus, the efforts of MMI on a concentrated core is having an increasing impact across the entire campus. We continue to listen to our students’ voices and use their words to be our compass. Their testimonials demonstrate the impact the program is having and how we are meeting our goals.
• It’s a game – and Mt. SAC teaches you how to play the game.
• “Closed mouths don’t get fed.” My first year here, I kept my mouth closed … but I got hungry.
• Be the individual you needed when you were younger.
• The humiliation I go through when I think of my past is grace.
• Your stories of success drive me.
• I’m not where I want to be yet, but thank God I’m not where I was before.
1) Participants will have an increased awareness and insight in approaching minority male initiatives on their campuses.
2) Participants will learn of specific initiatives based on students’ voices that can be implemented on their campuses.
3) Participants will be more knowledgeable about the challenges associated with improving success rates for African-American, Latino, and Pacific Islander male college students.