The University of North Georgia has recently been awarded a $10,000 start-up grant from the University System of Georgia’s African-American Male Initiative (AAMI) to initiate programs aimed at recruiting and retaining African-American male students. Robert Bryant, coordinator for institutional diversity on the Dahlonega campus and co-author of the grant, talks about what this grant means for UNG.
What is AAMI and how did it originate?
AAMI was established more than 10 years ago by the Board of Regents. The initiative is aimed at enhancing the recruitment and retention of African-Americans in college. Several USG institutions have AAMI programs and they have noticed significant improvements; since the creation of AAMI in 2002, African-American male enrollment has increased by more than 80 percent.
What makes UNG a good fit for this grant?
UNG is a good fit because we have an opportunity to enhance the numbers of African-American males on campus, and retain them up until graduation. Our goal is to increase the number of African-American males on campus and maintain their academic success so that they remain at UNG, as opposed to transferring to another school or dropping out. Currently, the data suggests a need to increase efforts to educate our African-American male students in the region and this state.
How will this grant be used to achieve AAMI's mission?
Robert L. Robinson, the director of the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs, and I have developed a strategic plan that involves academic enhancement, networking opportunities, and identity development programs so that AAMI participants are connected to UNG. Our goal is to connect the participants so they feel like a part of the UNG community by becoming involved in class and co-curricular activities, and so they develop a self-purpose while in college. Specifically we have programs that will allow AAMI participants to attend conferences, visit civil rights museums, network with prominent community leaders, and a host of other programs to enhance their collegiate experience.