A-B Tech Receives Funds to Improve Minority Male Success

Marshay Proctor-Bates

A-B Tech Community College has received a 2016-17 Minority Male Success Initiative Grant to help attract and retain minority male students.

The grant has helped the College expand the role of Marshay Proctor-Bates, an academic advisor who also serves as a success coach to students. In her expanded role, she will be able to connect minority students with college resources.

“My goal is to create supportive relationships where students feel confident in accessing the college resources and services available on campus, as well as promote student success through leadership, personal validation, purpose, self-efficacy, engagement, social integration, self-awareness, and reflection,” said Proctor-Bates.

Awarded by the State Board of Community Colleges, the $17,234 grant helps move assistance provided to minority male students from the previous voluntary cohort-based model to an institutional action plan. During this first year, A-B Tech will focus on assessing and improving the academic achievement of first-year minority male students who have not previously attended college.

The Minority Male Success Initiative is a redesign of the NC Minority Male Mentoring Program that was established in 2003 to improve retention and graduation rates of minority male students in the state’s community colleges. The NC Community College System redesigned the program to more closely align with the student success initiatives currently taking place throughout the system.

The new model is designed to strengthen minority male student outcomes by encouraging greater participation and collaboration with the College. The primary reasons for the redesign were to increase student success, maximize student and campus participation, and increase program effectiveness and efficiency.

“We want to eliminate any system barriers that might prohibit students from completing their educational goals,” said Michele Hathcock, Title IX Compliance and Student Life Development Director. “Working with the Progress and Completion committee on campus, the project aims to see what can be done to increase student success semester to semester.”

A-B Tech also will concentrate on the assessment and identification of policies and procedures that may impede or boost student completion. Funding will be used to support the College’s Academic Learning Center, which provides free tutoring services to A-B Tech students.

“Historically, the Academic Learning Center does not have a large number of minority-identified students who utilize that service. One of the factors to success is utilizing the academic center. It covers all subjects. If you take a class at A-B Tech, they have a service to assist you,” Hathcock said. “Sometimes people just go sit in the lab and do their homework even though they never get the tutoring, but it is there if needed. It’s that safety net if you get stuck.”

The grant funds also will enable the Academic Learning Center and Writing Center to hire additional staff and expand its hours to include evenings. Ron Layne, Dean of Academic Success, Lisa Johnson, Writing Center Coordinator and Sharon Smith, Academic Learning Center Coordinator, also are working to bring in tutoring staff of diverse backgrounds.

“As the College looks to support all student groups, it is vital to provide the services needed to underpin success,” Layne said. “The ALC includes tutoring in mathematics, as well as the sciences and English. The Writing Center offers both drop-in services and appointments for students needing work with academic writing of all types.”

Layne said data indicates that students who utilize the services are more successful. “The earlier students begin garnering support while building a network for success, the better their academic progress and overall performance,” he said.

Contingent upon state funding approval by the General Assembly and the State Board of Community Colleges, A-B Tech will receive a total of $51,702 for three academic years. In all, 47 community colleges of the 58 in North Carolina received Minority Male Success Initiative grants.

About A-B Tech Community College

One of 58 colleges in the North Carolina Community College System, A-B Tech offers associate degrees, diplomas and certificates in more than 60 curriculum programs through its five academic divisions: Allied Health and Public Service Education, Arts and Sciences, Business and Hospitality Education, Emergency Services and Engineering and Applied Technology.

The Division of Economic and Workforce Development/Continuing Education offers opportunities for workforce partnerships, specific job training and retraining, as well as personal enrichment classes. A-B Tech enrolls more than 25,000 curriculum and continuing education students in programs at its Asheville, Enka, Madison, South, Woodfin and Goodwill locations.

For more information visit www.abtech.edu

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