by Alana J. Mauger
Each year, Montgomery County Community College recognizes one outstanding program or project as its Innovation of the Year award recipient. The projects are evaluated against criteria established by the League for Innovation in the Community College. Criteria include quality, efficiency, cost effectiveness, replication, creativity and timeliness.
The College’s 2011 Innovation of the Year was awarded to the Minority Male Mentoring Program and its team leaders, Vice President for Student Affairs Dr. Steady Moono, Dean of Student Success Dr. Leonard Bass, and Title III Academic Coach Michael Jackson.
Through its Student Success Initiative and work with “Achieving the Dream: Community Colleges Count,” Montgomery County Community College strives to improve student learning outcomes and reduce achievement gaps among specific cohorts of students. Analysis of data in student persistence and retention were consistent with the findings of community colleges across the country. The data reveals that African-American male students – especially those enrolled in developmental (pre-college level) courses – were at the greatest risk for not completing their courses or programs.
To address unique needs of this specific cohort of students, the College piloted its Minority Male Mentoring Program in fall 2009. The purpose of the program is to assist minority male students in coping with their everyday challenges, to provide a supportive environment, and to offer opportunities for guidance and problem solving.
The initiative connects volunteer faculty, administrators and staff with minority male students who opt to participate in the program. In 2009, the program started with 70 mentees and 45 mentors. By spring 2010, the numbers grew to 118 mentees and 49 mentors. Currently, the program has 147 mentees and 54 mentors and is growing daily.
Early results in retention and persistence show promise. 92% of the program’s fall 2009 participants returned to the College in spring 2010, and 88% from spring 2010 returned for the fall 2010 semester. As a cohort, Minority Male Mentoring Program participants achieved a 54% success rate (A, B, C, or Pass grade) in their courses compared to the 46% success rate of students in the same demographic that did not participate in the program.
In fall 2010, the Minority Male Mentoring Program was opened to all African-American male students regardless of their enrollment in developmental courses. As a next step, the College has begun to identify additional groups that could benefit from a mentoring program. Early research suggests that, when segmented by race and gender, Hispanic/Latino males and African-American females are not as successful as their peers in certain courses.
As recipient of the College’s award, the Minority Male Mentoring Program was forwarded to the League for Innovation in the Community College for national recognition in a program that is designed to showcase innovation at America’s community colleges.
Other projects nominated for Innovation of the Year at the College include: Camtasia Lecture Capture; Films on Demand; the Digital Campus Academy; the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies; the Municipal Police Academy’s Pre-Academy Course of Instruction; the Online Employee News Blog; the West Campus Speaker Series; the Central Campus Registration Lab; the College-Level Examination Program (CLEP); Scholarship Tracking and Review Systems (STARS); a Transition Program for Students with Asperger’s Syndrome and High Functioning Autism; and Video Conference Soft Client.