CWU News

CWU Launches Male Success Initiative

Numerous studies have found that university retention and graduation rates across the United States are lowest among male students of color.

In response, Central Washington University has announced an ambitious goal to make it, “the destination for all men of color seeking a quality best-buy education in an environment that supports academic excellence,” according to Keith Champagne, director of CWU’s new Male Success Initiative (MSI).

“Our plan is to make a significant improvement in male students’ satisfaction, academic performance, campus engagement, retention, and graduation rates,” Champagne said of the initiative.

On Saturday, November 14, Champagne will help lead a university MSI contingent to the sixth annual Black and Brown Male Summit at Highline Community College in Kent. In addition, MSI will work with K-12 schools, agencies, civic and business organizations in the greater Seattle-Tacoma area, Ellensburg, and Yakima to support MSI members achieve academic excellence.

“We also want to encourage more men of color to enroll in graduate and professional schools,” he added.
CWU already offers peer support, to improve students’ professional and social connections, through the MSI-involved student chapter of the national Brother 2 Brother (B2B) organization.  
Founded last spring, CWU’s chapter was the first established in the Pacific Northwest. Champagne noted it is seeing a steady increase in membership. A part of the non-profit Student African American Brotherhood, CWU’s B2B is among more than 200 chapters on university and college campuses, high schools, and middle schools nationwide.

As designed, the Central initiative is a collaborative venture involving faculty, staff, and administrators from all university colleges and academic departments, to provide positive intervention, support, and a variety of opportunities to CWU students.

Champagne’s faculty partners include Bobby Cummings, English, who also directs the university’s Africana and Black Studies program; Gilberto Garcia, political science; Raymond Hall anthropology; and Alejandro Lee, Spanish. They worked to launch MSI, while also developing the qualitative and quantitative measures needed to guide it.

“This group believes that research and evidenced-based practices promote academic excellence, as well a supportive environment for male students of color, will be the ingredients for the program’s long-term success,” Champagne noted.

Additionally, he said there will be an outreach component to the campus effort “that informs public policy experts, practitioners, and citizens of the importance of this issue not only on our campus but throughout academia.”

Media contact: Robert Lowery, director of Radio Services and Integrated Communications, 509-963-1487, 
November 10, 2015