Research indicates that the graduation rates of African American males on a national level are in a state of decline.

A new initiative to proactively battle this issue at NC State was recently introduced by Thomas Easley, Edward Brown, and Abraham Dones. It has been approved by Joanne Woodard, the vice provost for the Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity.

The program, which is entitled Packs Pact is searching for 30 African American males to jump-start the pilot program.

Easley and Brown stated that this program is being established to “better equip African American males with the necessary skills to perform well academically and persist with high standards, while increasing their cultural awareness about their own community.”

The target group for the program will be African American sophomore and junior males, who have at least a 2.5 GPA who are also not actively engaged across university programs and student organizations. Recent NC State reports have indicated sophomore and junior years are the most critical.

For example, in 2007, the retention rates for African American males following year 1 was 88.7%, but after year three rates dropped to 74.4%, which is a 14% difference.

Additionally, many programs already focus on the first year experience for college students, yet only recently has the trend shifted to focusing on the sophomore and junior year experience.

The goal of this initiative is to implement a strong support system for African American males through peer-to-peer networks and faculty/staff engagement while positively impacting student achievement.

Brown and Easley stated that they “hope to see increased retention and graduation rates of African American males, along with their increased participation in more campus activities like CSLEPS, Study Abroad, and professional student organizations. More African American male involvement will reflect their investment in their NC State experience, which will also contribute to them viewing themselves as future NC State alumni. As a result, this will directly contribute to increased persistence for this demographic.”

The deadline for interested students to apply for this program is November 22nd, 2011 at noon. The completed application for this program should be emailed to Thomas R. Easley in the College of Natural Resources (Dean’s Office).

Photo contributed by: Kareem Williams/Kream of the Krop Photography