Project MALES (Mentoring to Achieve Latino Educational Success)
The University of Texas at Austin
505 East Huntland Drive, Suite 270
Austin, Texas 78752
Rationale for Project MALES
The educational future for our nation’s Latino male student population is in a state of peril. Even as the number of Hispanics attending college and attaining degrees has increased steadily in recent years, the proportional representation of Latino males continues to lag behind their female peers (Sáenz & Ponjuán, 2009). Latino males have the lowest high school graduation rates as well as the lowest college enrollment and completion rates of any subgroup. In 2009, more than 61% of all associate’s or bachelor’s degrees earned by Hispanics were earned by female students, and this degree attainment gap is only growing wider (NCES, 2010). What we know can be summed up succinctly: Latino males are struggling to keep pace relative to their male and female peers at key transition points along the education pipeline: at high school graduate, at college entry, and at college completion.
Brief History of Project MALES
Project MALES (Mentoring to Achieve Latino Educational Success) is multi-faceted research and mentoring initiative based within the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement (DDCE) at the University of Texas at Austin. In the fall of 2010, Dr. Victor B. Sáenz (Associate Professor, UT-Austin) — with support from co-founders Dr. Luis Ponjuán (Associate Professor, Texas A&M University) and Dr. William Serrata (President, El Paso Community College) — officially launched this ambitious new effort to shed greater light on the plight of Latino males in Education. Presently, Project MALES is lead by Dr. Sáenz and Dr. Ponjuán, and Dr. Emmet Campos, Director. Project MALES encompasses three interrelated initiatives with national, state, and local impact: nationally, it oversees an ongoing research agenda focused on understanding the experiences of Latino males across the education pipeline; statewide, it convenes a P-16 Consortium focused on the success of male students of color in six major urban areas through its Texas Educational Consortium for Male Students of Color; and locally, it coordinates a mentoring program that aims to cultivate an engaged support network for males of color at UT-Austin and in school districts across the Central Texas community, and serve as a model for other mentoring programs across the state.
Project MALES embodies praxis by fusing these initiatives through strategies that employ mentoring, research, collective impact, and dissemination. For example, our mentoring model emerged directly from our research findings, and it highlights near-peer and intergenerational mentoring as a way to leverage social capital among Latino males across multiple generations. Our Project MALES Student Mentoring Program has a strong focus on mentoring, leadership development, community engagement, and collective impact, all of which serve to address the goal of enhancing the overall academic success and retention of male students of color in both secondary and post-secondary education. Our strategy to forge partnerships across the educational spectrum through our Consortium embraces the philosophy of collective impact to wield even greater influence over the policy imperative. Ultimately, Project MALES is focused on the goal of enhancing Latino male student success at all levels of the educational spectrum.
- To develop and sustain a research-informed, culturally-relevant mentoring program that advances the success of Latino males and males of color across the educational pipeline
- To increase year-to-year retention as well as graduation rates of Latino male students (and other males of color) enrolled at UT-Austin and our partner institutions
- To increase Latino male participation in academic support programs
- To sponsor the Project MALES Student Council, a UT student organization specifically designed for the advancement of male student success
- To host an annual community dialogue to raise awareness about the unique challenges facing Latino males at every step of the educational pipeline
The Texas Education Consortium for Male Students of Color
On June 1st, 2013 we officially launched the Consortium, funded by two new grant awards from the Greater Texas Foundation (GTF) and Trellis Foundation (Formerly TG) as well as continuation funding from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. This new state-wide collaboration focuses on improving Hispanic and African American male student success across the state of Texas. The Consortium seeks to align and coordinate existing programs and services that target underrepresented male students across the education continuum, and it further seeks to stimulate new male-focused initiatives within Texas school districts, colleges, universities. Current Consortium members include two-year and four-year institutions across the state as well as two public school districts. The Consortium will achieve the following four objectives over the next three years (Summer 2013 – Summer 2016): to build the Consortium; to annually hold two Consortium meetings and a male student leadership summit at UT Austin; to incubate research-based, male-focused programs at each institution; and to disseminate our research and evaluation findings through a resource center and other online tools.
For more information on our Consortium activities, visit: https://diversity.utexas.edu/projectmales/tx-ed-consortium/about-con/
Stay tuned for more updates!
National Center for Education Statistics. (2010). Digest of education statistics. Retrieved from http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2010/2010013_0.pdf
Sáenz, V. B., & Ponjuán, L. (2009). The vanishing Latino male in higher education. Journal of Hispanic Higher Education, 8(1), 5489.