The University System of Georgia's African-American Male Initiative (AAMI) will fund a course this spring at the University of North Georgia (UNG) aimed at helping African-American male students develop greater communication, decision-making and leadership approaches.
"In addition to the stated goals of the course, we expect there to be a residual effect of retention and graduation among the students who take this course," said Robert Robinson, director of UNG's Office of Multicultural Student Affairs (MSA). "The course will keep the same basic curriculum as our current Adaptive Leadership course, but we will supplement the class with guest speakers, tailored objectives and other leadership components."
AAMI was established more than 10 years ago by the Georgia Board of Regents, and is designed to enhance the recruitment and retention of African-American men in higher education. MSA and UNG's Department of Psychology are working together to implement the $10, 000 grant.
Upon completing the course, students will be able to:
- Demonstrate knowledge of organizational systems and identify potential stakeholders and their interests in that system
- Demonstrate the ability to reframe default interpretations, and orchestrate conflict for meaningful resolutions
- Recognize and prioritize loyalties, understand one's own "triggers" and tolerances, and identify one's true roles and scope of authority
- Understand how leaders build successful teams
"This funding will enable us to expand the AAMI initiative past our Gainesville Campus to include our Dahlonega Campus," Robinson said. "This is the first time we've been able to do this, and we hope this will help us apply for another grant in the future for other campuses."
The course also counts toward UNG's leadership minor, which can be tailored to help students grow in organizational leadership, global leadership, or leadership in society. Roger Long, a sophomore majoring in sociology, will be looking to concentrate on his societal leadership skills when he takes the course in spring semester.
"I'm hoping to further develop my skills as a community leader and social activist, and to engage in meaningful discussion with others in the class," Long said. "Leadership needs the same kind of training as athletes who practice their sport; we must exercise and fine-tune the craft of leadership, which allows us to be better students, fathers, sons and husbands. Though the course is only open to African-American men, the goal isn't to exclude others. There are people on our campuses whose points of view may not be heard as much due to their low numbers — this course is a way to bring some of us together so that we can achieve a stronger level of leadership, and hopefully attract more diversity to our university to help it grow."
UNG is designated by the University System of Georgia as a State Leadership Institution. In support of the university's commitment to provide an environment that is welcoming, respectful, and inclusive of individuals and groups from a range of social, economic, and cultural backgrounds, UNG also created a diversity studies course for faculty and staff. The first cohort of this new series of courses earned their certificates earlier this spring.