How We Can Better Support Minority Male Initiatives

naspa diamond

Michael A. Couch II

September 26, 2019

Despite the increase in diversity, colleges and universities across the nation continue to struggle to provide, retain, and graduate students of color to the same degree as their White and Asian counterparts (Duranczyk, Higbee, & Lundell, 2004). Understanding what research has shown us consistently over time what is going to be the big idea to help us address how do we support our minority male students.  The big idea now is minority male initiatives focusing on success, creating a space for belonging so that students feel welcomed and supported in this educational space.  With these programs targeted around breaking down barriers to persistence and creating transparency to show campus leadership, we have to support these men differently. I believe that it starts with addressing what the definition of success looks like and sharing that information with campus leadership, faculty, staff and most importantly students. 

Often times from what I have seen the people who are actually doing the work, working with these men are often silenced and do not have a seat at the table when decisions are being made.  Hence where the issues begin, you have a difference of opinion on what success looks like, with people who have no experience dealing with these men but, we know that if we have an initiative it will solve our problem.

So, how do we better support minority male initiatives? I believe a couple of things have to happen. 

  1. Leadership in the planning process should talk to those who are working with these men, looking at areas like Trio, student success, advising.  As the interactions they have are more ground level and can bring a different perspective when creating a new program.
  2. Once a plan is in the process those who work with the program, that helped in the planning and development should continuously be made aware of the process and invited to share new suggestions and concerns.  We must continuously evolve what we are doing with our students.
  3. Listen to what the students say, in my experience while we have great ideas to help us address our completion, retention and success rates often times we forget the people we are doing this for which is our students. 

I believe that by acknowledging what we already know from research and date a simple thing we can do to better support these men is to listen more, listen to our staff and students. I believe that just like the points below we have to talk and listen to our students as their needs are ever-changing which means our initiatives and programs must adjust to best serve them. By listening to them I believe we have a great opportunity to build on the great work that minority male initiatives do.

What are some things you all feel that we as educators can do to better support our minority male initiatives?


Duranczyk, I. M., Higbee, J. L., & Lundell, D. B. (2004). Best practices for access and retention in higher education. Center for Research on Developmental Education and Urban Literacy, University of Minnesota

Opinions expressed in this blog are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of NASPA. If you agree or disagree with the content of this post, we encourage you to dialogue in the comment section below. NASPA reserves the right to remove any blog that is inaccurate or offensive.

To comment, you can login to your preferred social network. Comments are lightly moderated and we do provide the option for users to flag a comment as inappropriate.

Get in Touch with NASPA