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African American Male Initiatives

Morehouse College has decided to play a more active role in conducting and disseminating research and best practices regarding the affirmative development of African American males. As the only predominantly African American male institution of higher education in the country, and given its history of producing leaders and successful individuals, Morehouse is a natural laboratory for studying the personal, academic, and leadership development of African American males. The Morehouse Male Initiative (MMI) is the first of a three-phase plan designed to achieve the college’s goal of becoming a clearinghouse of information regarding African American males. The second phase will include research on African American males attending several HBCU’s and predominantly White institutions. The third phase will involve the establishment of national and international research workgroups studying Black males and establishing Morehouse as a clearinghouse for research and best practices regarding the academic and personal development of African American males.

The MMI is the result of several meetings facilitated by Dr. Walter Massey where a committee of faculty members and administrators discussed student development and the Morehouse experience. The MMI officially began at the inception of the 2006-2007 fiscal year with the budget housed in Academic Affairs. Dr. Bryant T. Marks (class of ’94 and faculty member in the Morehouse Psychology Dept) became director of the MMI on November 1, 2006. The MMI team also includes an internal advisory board (comprising students, faculty, staff, and administration) as well as an external advisory board (comprising highly respected national scholars who study African Americans with an emphasis on African American males). The MMI is located in room 227 of the Nabrit-Mapp-McBay building.

Although it is generally accepted that Morehouse facilitates student success in college and in various aspects of life, the specifics regarding the process by which this positive influence occurs lacks scientific measurement. The Morehouse Male Initiative (MMI) is a college level effort to measure the impact of the Morehouse experience. Specifically, the MMI will assess the personal, academic, and leadership development of students from freshmen through senior year via surveys, focus groups, and behavioral observations. The college recognizes that the student body is quite diverse, and consequently, the impact of the Morehouse experience may vary among subgroups. The MMI will identify these subgroups and document the differential impact whether it is positive, neutral, or negative. This effort will involve a series of activities including a detailed assessment of the attitudes and behaviors of Morehouse students. In short, the MMI addresses the following questions: 1) What are the expected attitudes and behaviors of a Morehouse graduate? 2) To what extent do students already possess these attitudes and behaviors when they begin attending Morehouse? 3) How do these attitudes and behaviors develop over the time they attend Morehouse? 4) Do Morehouse students develop attitudes and behaviors that differ from African American males attending other colleges / universities?

In order to identify the key attitudes and behaviors expected of a Morehouse man (question #1) we have engaged in focus groups with current students, alumni and alumni, one-on-one interviews with President Franklin, administrators and staff.

During the summers of 2007 and 2008 we will conduct focus groups with 1) various chapters of the alumni association across the country, 2) Morehouse staff members, and 3) Morehouse administrators. We also hope to send an e-mail to students, faculty, staff, alumni, and administrators in which we asked them to define / describe the expectations of a Morehouse Man.

In order to assess incoming Morehouse students (question #2), we will collect survey data from the entire freshmen class during new student orientation (August) that will include measures of attitudes and behaviors mentioned in the focus groups. We will examine the development of these attitudes over time (question #3) by 1) assessing the attitudes and behaviors of a subset of sophomores, juniors, and seniors in April/May of each academic year and 2) collecting data from those same students (including the freshmen class) at the end of each ensuing academic year until they graduate.

Finally, we plan to identify the unique impact of the Morehouse experience (question #4) by comparing the development of Morehouse students to that of African American males attending 12 – 15 other colleges.