Summit Tracks 

New Pathways to Success: The Next Decade for Black and Latino Males in Higher Education   

Track 1. Identity Reimagined

Black and Latino males experience a pervasive imposition of negative stereotypical notions and misperceptions about masculinity, emotion, and intellect. Knight (2015) suggests Black and Latino males “are often portrayed through a distorted lens. But many live counter-narratives everyday”. Knight further suggests that men of color possess a range of identity complexities that the public may not see or accept because they are typically defined far too narrowly. Media provides a reservoir of images and ideas that are too often applied to this population in general without considering the possibility of a multidimensional aspect. Laboring under these narrow definitions, men of color find themselves conforming to the notions or restricted by them.

What if their identity was re-imagined? What if black and Latino men defined masculinity for themselves? How do men experience self-actualization regarding racial, ethnic, masculine, emotional and intellectual identity?

This track will focus on identity for men of color, how institutions can reframe assumptions and embrace the population as it exists, and ways to help students conduct critical self-exploration.

Track 2.  Health and Wellness issues for Men of Color

The American Journal of Public Health (May 2012) cited the accumulating evidence that shows people of color suffer disproportionately from a number of health and social conditions as compared to their white counterparts. They further suggest that in discussions of health disparities, the unique factors contributing to disparities faced by and men of color are too often overlooked. The cause for disparity is multifaceted and includes health issues such as physical (i.e. life expectancy, HIV infection, illness) and mental health (suicide, depression, and substance abuse).

This track will contextualize the health and wellness issues of men of color and enhance the understanding of the numerous factors (e.g., demographic, community, societal, personal) that impact health and wellness. Additionally, the track will focus on current strategies for mitigating non-health promoting behaviors and identify culturally appropriate approaches for reducing the disparity, as well as educating and inspiring young black and Latino males to embrace healthy lifestyles.

Track 3.  Academic Readiness & Academic Achievement

“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” – Maimonides
This statement summarizes the mission and focus of the critical need to prepare minority males for college and career options that will sustain them for life. Recognizing the obstacles and challenges men of color face as they mature into adulthood, college practitioners and administrators need a holistic approach to equip them with resilient skills to persevere towards academic success.

Adelman (2005) points out that students of color throughout the country are significantly less likely to persist in college when compared to other racial/ethnic groups. Among the challenges often faced by this population are low academic expectation, language barriers, insufficient access to technology, higher need for academic remediation, and low self-efficacy. These inhibitors can impede a student’s dreams and aspirations for college and professional careers if they are not properly navigated and addressed. As such, being properly equipped with sufficient academic prowess and technology skills is essential in order to compete and gain access to meaningful college and career opportunities and experiences.

This track will offer best practices and resolutions for addressing the aforementioned issues and moving male students of color towards a more successful and meaningful path of academic and professional accomplishment.

TRACK 4.  Social Justice

According to the Chronicle of Higher Education (Feb 2014), many Black and Latino male students enter college with higher aspirations than their white peers. However, white men are almost six times as likely to graduate in three years with a certificate or degree when compared to men of color (CCCSE Special Report, 2014). Research regarding best practices and strategies substantiates the impact of faculty mentoring, tutorial services, personal support systems and college engagement to improve completion and graduation rates for men of color (Harris, 2013; Wood & Harris, 2015). Often, these strategies do not incorporate socio-political constructs associated with college success for men of color. Despite educational and professional success, there are still instances in which men of color are perceived as criminals or threats. National studies indicate that this population is overrepresented in juvenile detention centers and prisons and in special education classes and is more subject to labels such as “high risk,” “dangerous,” and “endangered” (College Board, 2012).

Strategies for Black and Latino male student success cannot be considered complete without addressing the social justice issues that impact the daily lives of these young men. How do we change the social construct in the college environment? While men of color are encouraged to value college engagement, how does the college really view them?

This track will address social justice issues, such as micro-aggression, negative stereotyping, racism, and the perceived denigration of men of color, and the impact on the overall achievement of this population. Further, this track will seek solutions for how Black and Latino men can successfully navigate issues of social justice.