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Central Washington University launches Male Success Initiative

(Ellensburg, Wash. — October 22, 2015) A concerted effort to make Central Washington University the destination of choice for male students of color has been met with widespread support for the Male Success Initiative (MSI), a new program that will host a number of events and activities designed to assist these students build skills necessary for success within and outside the classroom, and into the future.

Nationally, research shows that retention and graduation rates are significantly lower for students of color, and even more so for males. This initiative intends to address the issue from multiple perspectives.

"Our plan is to make a significant improvement in male students' satisfaction, academic performance, campus engagement, retention and graduation rates," said Dr. Keith Champagne, director of MSI.

Champagne collaborated with faculty partners Dr. Bobby Cummings, Dr. Gilberto Garcia, Dr. Raymond Hall and Dr. Alejandro Lee to develop MSI with qualitative and quantitative measures of program success. The group believes that research and evidence-based practices that promote academic excellence, as well as a supportive environment for male students of color, will be the ingredients for the program's long-term success.

Along with improving access, retention and graduation rates through academic resources, collaborations have been underway since last year to improve professional and social connections through peer support outside the classroom.

'Dr. Hall and I worked with students to bring a Brother 2 Brother chapter to Central Washington University last spring," said Champagne. "This will provide us a vehicle for engaging men of color in a positive and proactive manner outside of the classroom."

It also links Central students with like-minded men around the United States. Brother 2

Brother, or B2B, is part of a national organization called the Student African American Brotherhood (SAAB), which provides positive intervention, support and opportunity to promising young men of color. Founded by Dr. Tyrone Bledsoe in 1990, SAAB has 320 chapters in 34 states. Bledsoe visited the CWU campus in April 2015 to talk about the history and mission of the organization, and to lead a workshop with CWU students and advisers interested in establishing a B2B chapter.

CWU's chapter is the first established in the Pacific Northwest, and has seen a steady increase in membership since its inception. CWU student members and advisers recently attended SAAB's Western Regional Cluster Summit in Los Angeles, Calif., where

they had the opportunity to network with other chapters and SAAB leadership.

1. Create an academic initiative rooted in evidence-based practices to promote academic excellence among males of color

2. Create and maintain an environment and culture of excellence for all men of color, especially African American, Asian American, Asian Pacific Islander, Southeast Asian American, Native American and Latino males

3. Improve access, retention and graduation rates for men of color through academic support, mentoring, and professional development opportunities

4. Increase the numbers of men of color enrolling in graduate and professional schools

5. Focus on research that informs public policy experts, practitioners, and citizens of the importance of this issue in academe and on our campus

6. Work with faculty, administrators, staff, and colleges and academic departments to support men of color on campus inside and outside of the classroom

7. Work with K-12 schools, agencies, civic and business organizations in the Ellensburg, Yakima, and greater Seattle-Tacoma area to support men of color in achieving academic excellence

8. Make Central Washington University the destination for all men of color seeking a quality best-buy education and an environment that expects and supports academic excellence among all men of color attending the university

9. Establish a Student African American Brotherhood "Brother 2 Brother" chapter at Central Washington University

Collaborators and supporters include Campus Life, Africana and Black Studies, the
Center for Latino and Latin American Studies, President's Office, Office of Inclusivity and Diversity, Office of Public Affairs, Student Medical and Counseling Clinic, University Housing and New Student Programs, Office of Admissions, Office of Graduate Studies and Research, Center for Leadership and Community Engagement, Intercollegiate Athletic Department, College of Arts and Humanities, and the College of Business' President's Leadership Initiative.

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