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Board of Regents Adopts 15 Recommendations in Support of USG’s African-American Male Initiative

Atlanta — May 21, 2003

The results and recommendations of an extensive statewide study aimed at determining why half as many African-American males enroll in the University System of Georgia as African-American females were presented to the Board of Regents today at their May meeting for their consideration and action.

In addition, University System of Georgia Chancellor Thomas C. Meredith committed $300,000 in additional funding to further the efforts of the study and its recommendations.

The Regents accepted the study and the recommendations, which emanated from reports of the University System of Georgia’s 52-member “Task Force on Enhancing Accessing for African-American Males” – comprised of state and national higher education and K-12 educational leaders. In addition, the study was informed by extensive qualitative research conducted with the target audience of Black males and quantitative telephone surveys conducted with 18-25 year-old Black males and 700 key influencers of their educational choices and academic performance. Dubbed the “USG’s AAMI”, the study was designed to identify barriers to African-American male enrollment and retention in Georgia’s 34 public colleges and universities. Fall 2002 enrollment data reflected that Black women comprised 68 percent of the University System’s Black enrollment 35,873 Black females compared to 17,068 males.

“This comprehensive study breaks new ground in Georgia and in the nation for its statewide approach and in-depth analysis of why African-American men are attending college in fewer numbers,” said Arlethia Perry-Johnson, associate vice chancellor for Media & Publications and project director of the USG’s AAMI. “By talking to hundreds of young men around Georgia including inmates in a state prison we delved deeply to find some of the critical and systemic sources of this issue, which we view as a critical public policy issue. With the new understanding that we have gained from our research and the Task Force’s efforts, the University System of Georgia will form partnerships and alliances which will help us raise the aspirations of young Black men, tackle these challenges we face, and continue creating a more educated Georgia.”

Key recommendations call for tracking more African-American males into the college-preparatory curriculum (including the prerequisite courses to qualify for the CPC); better data gathering and dissemination; improved cultural sensitivity training for teachers and guidance counselors; partnering with the Department of Education and the Education Coordinating Commission (EEC); calling on presidents to enhance African-American male student retention on their respective campuses; and increasing the number of high-quality teachers teaching in hard-to-staff schools where many African-American students attend.

A full list of the 15 recommendations can be found at the University System of Georgia Web site at .

The USG’s African-American Male Initiative is comprised on four components of work:

  • The “Task Force on Enhancing Access for African-American Males”
  • The external research study, which was conducted under the auspices of Matlock Advertising and Public Relations, which subcontracted with Paul Warner & Associates - a research marketing firm - to conduct the qualitative and quantitative research
  • The funding of six AAMI Pilot Programs within the University System of Georgia at $10,000 each, approved by the Board of Regents at their April board meeting, to document what works; and
  • The development of an integrated marketing plan and campaign, elements of which are already underway

Leaders from education, government and private industry, as well as six members of the Board of Regents (including the Board’s chairman, Gov. Joe Frank Harris) participated in various ways in the initiative.

It was guided by a University System office work group that was chaired by Perry-Johnson, and also included Dr. Daniel S. Papp, senior vice chancellor for Academics and Fiscal Affairs; Dr. Cathie Mayes Hudson, associate vice chancellor for Strategic Research and Analysis; Dr. Frank Butler, vice chancellor for Academics, Faculty and Student Affairs; Ms. Shelley Nickel, former special assistant to the chancellor of the University System of Georgia; Dr. John Wolfe, associate vice chancellor for Faculty Affairs; and Dr. Scott Levine, special assistant to the associate vice chancellor for Media and Publications.

The process identified key stakeholders who must be involved in breaking down the barriers to African-American male college enrollment. These include parents, teachers, guidance counselors and the students themselves. Outreach efforts stemming from the study will include a series of Public Service Announcements (PSAs) aired throughout the state on commercial media and on Georgia Public Television (GPTV). A taped message from University System of Georgia Chancellor Thomas C. Meredith to several hundred thousand Georgia middle- and high-school students via the PeachStar network will begin airing this month and pick back up in the fall semester.

Additional marketing materials will be created based on the results of the research. These targeted marketing efforts will be targeted across a wide variety of media platforms and will be distributed throughout the state. The six Pilot Programs approved by the Board of Regents at its April meeting will get underway this summer and fall, designed to improve the recruitment and retention of African-American males. The Pilot Programs will be at Albany State University, Atlanta Metropolitan College, Coastal Georgia Community College, Fort Valley State University, Savannah State University, and the University of Georgia. Those initiatives will be carefully evaluated and shared with other colleges and universities in the University System as models for potential expansion or replication.

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