Black Male Initiative (BMI)
The Black Male Initiative (BMI), a pilot project established by the UIS Diversity Center intends to increase, encourage, and support the inclusion and educational success of male students of color, particularly African- American males (AAM). The program assists students in both, their academic and professional endeavors, promotes and advocate for an improved educational experience and quality of life at the University of Illinois Springfield.
As a male empowerment program designed to address the needs of undergraduate men of color, BMI encourage participants to exceed personally and professionally while gaining valuable leadership skills at UIS. The initiative endeavors to and has provided educational programs, developmental mentoring opportunities, and co-curricular experiences and activities to assist AAM to be successful.
By aligning itself with the UIS Diversity Center, the program satisfies all the objectives that Center endeavors to provide. The goal of the Diversity Center is to “foster a supportive environment for students to live, learn and grow as active members of the academic community and as individuals…through educational, cultural, and social programming activities and to assist in the recruitment, transition and retention of ethnic minority and underrepresented students at UIS.”
Goals and Objectives
The goals of the Black Male Initiative are the following:
- Strengthen the secondary-to-higher education pipeline to enable many more black male students to attend college;
- Increase admission and graduation rates at the University of Illinois Springfield;
- Improve faculty and staff education to prepare campus to address the needs of the men of color;
- Improve the employment prospects for black males after leaving UIS;
- Reduce the attrition rate of men of color at UIS;
- Establish benchmarks and hold the campus and accountable for addressing the needs of men of color, particularly AAM; and
- Provide strong campus leadership on the challenges facing black youth and men in the greater Springfield community and beyond.
The objectives of BMI are the following:
- Recruit AAM from diverse socioeconomic populations and localities;
- Educate AAM through a structured, tiered program designed to help them navigate the resources (including academic support offices and program, financial assistance, and student life and engagement) that exist at UIS to be successful.
- Support and challenge men of color at UIS to achieve academically.
- Retain AAM at UIS through continued support programs.
- Promote involvement and inclusion in leadership activities, both on-campus and in the community.
- Promote community service and engagement.
- Facilitate and promote developmental mentoring.
Impact and Measurable Outcomes
The Black Male Initiative began with nine male students during the first semester, and has since grown to more than 20 males. The program has also an increased awareness of the challenges facing AAM at UIS, and other public liberal arts institutions. The initiative has also provided attention to the numerous opportunities available to AAM and the resources by which to attain those opportunities. The initiative assisted in the creation of a student organization for men of color, The Black Male Collegiate Society, and has supported and advised its efforts and programming.
In measuring the success of the initiative, BMI has continually assessed the academic performance of student in the program through semester grade reviews. Presently, the grade point average (GPA) for the overall group is presently 2.8, with no students on academic probation. In measuring other aspects of the program and their effectiveness, bi-weekly meetings are conducted with participants to provide reflection and direction for continued progress. At the end of the year, an exit counseling session and review process will be conducted to fully assess the impact that the program had on individual participants, and to gather pertinent data pertaining to academics, professional and co-curricular opportunities (for graduating seniors, potential job offers), and to offer final evaluations.
The Black Male Imitative, since its inception in spring 2010, has actively participated and established partnerships with the Springfield community and provided opportunities for AAM at UIS, both locally and nationally. The following are partnerships and programs that BMI has facilitated and participated in:
- University of Akron Black Male Summit:
- Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Illinois Capital Region
- Springfield 186 School Districts
- Springfield Club of Frontiers International:
- Illinois General Assembly Page Program/ Office of Clerk of the House internships
- Alumni Awards/Networking Dinner hosted by UIS Office of Alumni Relations
- Business Etiquette Dinner simulation
- Weekly Fellowship Outings
- Quarterly Retreat
For Further Information contact: 206-6333