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Students Sitting in from of Dixon Hall at Cal U - NewsStudents Sitting in from of Dixon Hall at Cal U - News


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Posted on September 15, 2010

Meetings: 4 p.m. Monday, Sept. 20, or 11 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 21, (choose one) in the Carter Hall Multipurpose Room; group will meet once every other week. Regular meeting time and location will be discussed at the initial sessions on 9/20 and 9/21. Check the events calendar at for details.
Information: 724-938-4014

A mentoring group for students aimed at improving retention rates for men of color at Cal U was introduced Monday, Sept. 13, at a dinner at the Kara Alumni House.

The goal of Cal U Men United is to "provide a campus community that will support the growth, development and achievement of young men of color as they strive to become men of character prepared to take an active role in the global community," said President Angelo Armenti, Jr. in his remarks at the dinner.

About 30 students attended - mostly freshmen and sophomores and recipients of Board of Governors scholarships. Provost Geraldine Jones also made remarks, and others in campus leadership positions were introduced.

"We want to create an environment that enables these young men to reach their academic potential and prepare them for successful professional careers," said Dr. Lisa McBride, special assistant to the President for EEEO/University ombudsperson.

Dr. Gwen Perry-Burney, associate professor in the Department of Social Work, received a grant from the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education to conduct focus groups among men of color at Cal U. Issues identified by participants included student engagement, advising, tutoring and social climate.

Cal U Men United will meet every other week, beginning Sept. 20, to address these issues and others, including philanthropy and community involvement. "We envision future meetings that will include community and corporate leaders who have expressed an interest in being involved with this student group," McBride said.

Senior Ronald Taylor, who is president of the Black Student Union and vice president of the Student Activities Board, attended the dinner. "I commend Cal U for putting this group together. It will be a great resource, and I think it will become something bigger than we can see at this moment."

At Cal U, recruiting and retaining students from diverse backgrounds is one of the priorities in the 2009-2012 Strategic Plan. There are currently about 310 men of color enrolled at Cal U.

Nationally, the declining numbers of African-American and Hispanic males graduating from college are distressing not only because of the implications for the men themselves, but also because of the consequences for society, according to the Journal of Blacks in Higher Education.

In addition to McBride and Perry-Burney, other faculty and staff are mentoring the group: LaMont Coleman, associate dean in the Office of Student Affairs; Eric Tarpley, assistant director of Admissions; Dr. Charles Crowley, assistant professor in the Department of Exercise Science and Sport Studies; Jennifer Ramsey, instructor/counselor in the Department of Academic Support Services; Dr. Todd Carlisle, assistant professor in the Department of English; Dr. Kelton Edmonds, director of the Frederick Douglass Institute and associate professor in the Department of History and Political Science; and Dr. Harrison Pinckney, assistant professor in the Department of Earth Sciences.

McBride said one goal for the University is to endow scholarships for male and female students of color. Cal U is working with the Pittsburgh Promise, which gives scholarships to students in the Pittsburgh Public Schools to attend certain post-secondary schools, to have even more students enroll here.