LSU has begun to address the unique needs and concerns of Black males through the formation of a BMLI Core Team.
The Core Team represents:
The Core Team was developed to begin brainstorming and developing a systematic short-term and long-term approach for improving the awareness of Black male issues and the recruitment, retention, and graduation of Black males at LSU. BMLI will be a campus-wide initiative aimed at assisting LSU in reconceptualizing our practices, programs, and engagement with students in general, and Black males in particular. In its infancy, three major developments have occurred:
1. Formation of the BMLI Fellows Program, Underway
The BMLI Fellows Program is designed to improve the retention, graduation, and participation rates for black male students through mentoring, leadership development, and academic support, while connecting these students with faculty, staff and the campus community. The Fellows program will begin with 16-20 freshmen and sophomores and will target Black males. Participants of the program will be coined Fellows and will participate in a series of workshops on career planning, leadership, and citizenship, have their grades monitored and receive academic recommendations provided by professional staff, be assigned a faculty or staff mentor, attend leadership conferences, and engage in social activities aimed at socializing the Leader to campus and other settings.
2. BMLI 2020 Plan, Under Development
As LSU continues to finalize and format its 10-Year strategic plan, Flagship 2020, the Core Team is working to finalize a 10-Year plan that will coincide with Flagship 2020 and serve as the University’s reference tool and guide for programmatic and academic units on campus. BMLI 2020 will consist of three major core areas:
I. Recruitment & Enrollment: Exploring the current application and admission trends of Black males at LSU and developing strategies for reaching Black male high school students and recruiting those high-achieving and promising high-achieving students to LSU.
II. Retention & Performance: Exploring the academic performance and participation of Black males at LSU and ensuring that Black males are aware of social, academic, and career opportunities and resources during their academic career. There are existing programs through which Black males can benefit (e.g., Genesis Mentoring and Tutoring, First Year Experience Programs, Minority Engineering Program, Summer Scholars, Student Support Services, etc.). A part of this plan is developing mechanisms that assist Black males in seeking and utilizing current campus resources.
III. Graduation & Beyond: Exploring the graduation rates, career placement, and graduate school enrollment of Black males; educating Black males on mechanisms in place to ensure that they have a clear graduation plan; providing Black males with the necessary information and resources to ensure successful transition from undergraduate to career or graduate and professional school; and connecting Black male undergraduate and graduate students at LSU.
In addition to these 3 Core Areas, there will also include an Assessment Team designed to develop an overall assessment plan for the BMLI 2020 Plan. There are working groups for each core area and assessment team who are responsible for producing BMLI White Papers. Identifying funding opportunities is another objective of the BMLI Core Team.
3. Forming State-Wide Partnerships, In Progress
Several efforts are being made to form key, external connections regarding Black male issues.
- Louisiana Partnerships: Academic Affairs’ Vice Provost for the Office of Equity, Diversity & Community Outreach (EDCO), Dr. Katrice Albert, and Assistant to the Vice Provost and Director of Educational Equity, Marco Barker, have met with Dr. Calvin Mackie, Chair of the Louisiana Council on the Status of Black Boys and Men, in an effort to work in tandem with the work of the Council. We hope to grow these partnerships with the help of this centralized Council.
- Networks and Experts: EDCO is part of the National Association Diversity Officers in Higher Education (NADOHE) and the NADOHE list serve, which will enable EDCO to explore best practices of other institutions. Additionally, EDCO administrators attend the National Conference on Race and Ethnicity (NCORE) in Higher Education for an opportunity to hear from colleagues who are developing or have developed similar programs.
- Research: EDCO is currently conducting a content analysis of Black male leadership programs and initiatives in an effort to further examine the components, practices, and outcomes of similar programs at similar and different institutions. Following the implementation of programs, EDCO and OMA will begin to develop the Black male comprehensive study and state-wide collaboration.
BMLI Core Team Members
- Chaunda Allen, Director of Multicultural Affairs, Office of Multicultural Affairs
- Jared Avery, Graduate Assistant, Office for Equity, Diversity & Community Outreach
- Marco Barker, Assistant to the Vice Provost & Director of Educational Equity, Office for Equity, Diversity & Community Outreach
- Brian Bourke, Assistant Professor, Department of Educational, Theory, Policy, and Practice
- Derek Cowherd, Interim Director, LSU Cox Communications Academic Center for Student-Athletes
- Randy Fontenot, Assistant Director, First Year Experience
- Johnny "Ray" James, Graduate Assistant, First Year Experience
- Kenneth Miles, Executive Director, LSU Cox Communications Academic Center for Student-Athletes
- Roland Mitchell, Assistant Professor, Department of Educational, Theory, Policy, and Practice
- Darrell Ray, Assistant Vice Chancellor & Adjunct Professor, First Year Experience and Department of Educational, Theory, Policy, and Practice
- Jerry M. Whitmore, Jr., Assistant Director of Greek Life, Division of Student Life
- Erin Vaughn, Residence Life Coordinator, Department of Residential Life