The Texas Education Consortium for Male Students of Color, a new statewide network of school districts, community colleges and public universities, officially launched this summer. Based within the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement at The University of Texas at Austin, the consortium plans to leverage the collective expertise and align existing male-focused programs among member institutions to advance research on best practices to improve educational outcomes for male students of color. The consortium will be led by Victor Sáenz, associate professor of educational administration and executive director of Project MALES (Mentoring to Achieve Latino Educational Success).
The “Closing the Gaps” report from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board calls for increasing college participation and success for all students, but it emphasizes the need to improve educational outcomes for Hispanic and African American males. “We’re committed to addressing the state policy imperative to improve the educational outcomes for male students of color,” Sáenz said. States such as Ohio and Georgia have similar initiatives, but the Texas Education Consortium for Male Students of Color is unique because it represents all sectors of education with the participation of two K-12 school districts, eight community colleges and four public universities.
Texas A&M University and Luis Ponjuan, the consortium’s chief external evaluator, will have a key role in the consortium. Ponjuan is an associate professor of higher education administration in the College of Education and Human Development at Texas A&M. He has collaborated extensively over the years with Saenz on research focused on males of color in education. In a November 2011 report co-written by Sáenz and Ponjuan, “Men of Color: Ensuring the Academic Success of Latino Males in Higher Education,” the authors noted that fewer than 2 in 5 degrees earned by Hispanics in 2010 were earned by males.
Narrowing the gender gap for educational attainment among students of color is not just a statewide priority but also a national one as the Hispanic population continues to grow and will become key for an ethnically diverse workforce. “This collaborative project allows the state’s two leading research institutions to leverage resources and advance the Latino and African American male educational agenda at the state and national levels,” Ponjuan said.
Funding for the consortium comes from multiyear grants through the Greater Texas Foundation, TG, and the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. Fifty individuals representing each of the 14 institutions met at the University of Texas at Austin at the inaugural meeting of the consortium in June, and their biannual meetings will continue over the next three years. Their next meeting will take place in mid-December at Tarrant County College in Fort Worth. To learn more about the consortium,
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