The University of North Georgia (UNG) received a $10,000 grant for the 2015 fiscal year from the African-American Male Initiative (AAMI), a University System of Georgia (USG) program that focuses on the enrollment, retention and graduation of black male college students in the system's 31 member institutions.
The AAMI Grant Selection Committee, which is awarding 17 grants for the 2015 fiscal year, funds programs that address the challenges impacting enrollment of black male college students. Funded programs include targeted efforts that track the academic performance of undergraduate black male students through grade monitoring, advising and counseling, and campus learning communities specifically for black men.
UNG's Office of Multicultural Student Affairs (MSA) held its first North Star Summer Bridge program this summer on the Gainesville Campus, thanks to funding from the AAMI grant. This program helps students already accepted into UNG enhance their academic skills to prepare for the rigors of college.
"All of the students who participated in the summer bridge program improved academically and were accepted into the university. This program helped improve the student's math and English skills," said Robert L. Robinson, the MSA director and writer and administrator of the AAMI grant for UNG. "The summer bridge program was our first attempt to enhance the college experience for young black males. We are very proud of our summer bridge program and its effort to produce a more diverse UNG."
From the AAMI program, multiple organizations and events have been established at UNG to help enhance the college experience for young black men, including a speaker series called the My Journey Series that is open to all students on the Gainesville and Dahlonega campuses. This program is an opportunity for faculty, staff and community leaders to speak in an intimate setting with students so that students can learn from the personal experiences of the presenters, who share their pathways to success.
"The grant is an initiative through the Board of Regents to help Georgia address the issue of black men accessing higher education," said Robert Bryant, coordinator of the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs (MSA) on UNG's Dahlonega Campus. "At UNG, the retention rate for black men can be improved, which leads to a more diverse campus. On the flip side, if retention is negatively impacted for black men, then we lose that population and the voice of these young men on our campuses."
The AAMI program also helped re-establish the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity on UNG's Dahlonega Campus last year. Alpha Phi Alpha is the first intercollegiate Greek-letter fraternity established for African-Americans founded in 1906 for the social and academic progress of black men.
"Thus far we have noticed that AAMI participants have bonded, either graduating or deciding to stay at UNG, as opposed to transferring, and all have demonstrated stronger social and academic performance," Bryant said.
AAMI was launched in fall 2002, when a survey indicated that women accounted for 68 percent of black students enrolled in USG colleges and universities. At the time, there were just three programs at USG institutions focused on the educational attainment of young black men; by 2012, there were 36.
The goals of AAMI mesh with the goal of Complete College Georgia, which aims to increase the number of Georgians with some level of college completion to meet projected work force needs. Since AAMI began, USG has recorded an 80 percent increase in the number of black men enrolled in its member institutions.
For more information on AAMI, please visit http://www.usg.edu/aami/.