Filed Under:  Education

Dillard to host summit on Black males in higher education

3rd March 2014   ·   0 Comments

On Monday, March 10, from 8:30 a.m. to 11 a.m., Dillard University will host a half-day summit to develop creative ways to improve Black male success in higher education. The event is free and will be held in Georges auditorium in the Professional Schools and Sciences building on Dillard’s campus. President Walter M. Kimbrough is spearheading the initiative in an effort to improve the number of Black males who complete college and go on to successful careers.

“This is an important topic for me,” Dr. Kimbrough said. “I’ve looked at the numbers and while the national numbers are grim, Louisiana’s are worse.

According to the 2012 report from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) Digest of Educational Statistics, 35.2 percent of Black males complete a bachelor’s degree in six years or less and only 12 percent complete an associate’s degree in three years or less from a public two-year college. In Louisiana, 20.6 percent of Black men earned bachelor’s degrees during that same period. Kimbrough pointed out that only 13 percent of Black students in the state complete associate degrees in three years and since this data is inclusive of both males and females, the rate for Black men is probably in the single digits.

Dr. Kimbrough spearheaded a similar effort in Arkansas when he served as president of Philander Smith College. Kimbrough explained that the rate there was 11 percent but within a few years they were able to triple the rate by crafting programs targeted to improve the success of Black men. “As we progressed, we were able to obtain funding, including a grant from the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation,” he added.

Kimbrough has invited a number of experts, elected state officials, and others to join Dillard in addressing this issue. Dr. Shaun Harper, associate professor and executive director of the Center for the Study of Race and Equity in Education from the University of Pennsylvania, will be the keynote presenter. The event will also include a panel discussion featuring Dr. Tyrone Bledsoe, found of the Student African American Brotherhood and Michael Hutchinson, past director of the Black Male Initiative at Philander Smith College.

This article originally published in the March 3, 2014 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper.

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