Cuyamaca College has joined a national consortium dedicated to improving student success among men of color in community colleges.
The Rancho San Diego college joins its sister campus, Grossmont College, and about 50 other community colleges and universities across the country in signing on with the National Consortium on College Men of Color, a project of the Minority Male Community College Collaborative, also known as M2C3.
The collaborative, which is affiliated with San Diego State University’s doctoral program in Community College Leadership, partners with colleges to find ways to improve student success of a historically underrepresented and underserved student population.
Co-directed by Frank Harris III and J. Luke Wood, faculty members in SDSU’s College of Education, the M2C3 consortium provides opportunities for member campuses to exchange ideas through webinars, discussion boards and a working group meeting held annually in San Diego. M2C3 provides the data so that decisions could be made to serve students of color effectively and equitably.
“The M2C3 consortium is an innovative group of college leaders that will be instrumental in implementing cutting-edge practices and policies to address the achievement gap facing underrepresented men,” Wood said.
The data reflects the achievement gap among black and Latino males -- 17 and 15 percent, respectively, who earn a community college certificate or degree, or who transfer on to four-year campuses within six years of starting at a two-year college. Figures for men from other ethnic groups such as American Indian and Southeast Asian also point to a great need for improvement.
“Closing the achievement gap for disproportionally impacted students is imperative in higher education in order to train the future leaders of the state,” said Wei Zhou, interim president of Cuyamaca College. “The M2C3 National Consortium on College Men of Color provides Cuyamaca College, a federally designated Hispanic Serving Institution, with a unique opportunity to focus our efforts.”
Harris and Wood gave a workshop in spring 2014 at Cuyamaca College that focused on the critical role that community colleges play in the education and career development of black and Latino males and the degree of the achievement gap for this demographic.
In California, four out of five of all Latino and black male students enrolled in public postsecondary education are enrolled in community colleges, according to a M2C3 report. And while community colleges serve as a primary entry into higher education, access is not always synonymous with success.
“While community colleges are certainly dedicated to the students and communities they serve, many men of color experience disparate outcomes in comparison to their peers,” the report states.
For example, 58 percent of black men who enrolled in credit courses during spring 2013 passed those courses with a grade of C or better, compared to almost 75 percent of white males. Completion rates - which measure the total percentage of males who earned certificates or degrees, or transferred or became transfer eligible – were only about 38 percent among blacks and Hispanics.
Launched in February 2015, the M2C3 has already seen much success in information-sharing between community colleges. An average of more than 1,000 consortium members participates in each webinar.
“It is inspiring to see educators collaborate and openly share innovative ideas for serving men of color,” Harris said. “We look forward to the future of M2C3 and the future success of men of color.”