Founded in fall 2010 by Dr. Victor Sáenz (Executive Director; Chair of Educational Leadership & Policy and Professor, UT Austin) and Dr. Luis Ponjuán (Research Director; Associate Professor, Texas A&M University) Project MALES has expanded to include three initiatives with national, state and local impact: a research institute that disseminates emerging research on males of color in education, the Texas Education Consortium for Males Students of Color, and a student mentoring program embedded within local school districts.
“Over the last decade we have been privileged to work alongside many committed local, state, and national partners in improving educational outcomes and opportunities for boys and young men of color,” said Victor Sáenz, Project MALES co-founder and executive director.
Project MALES has played a key role in helping the university earn national recognition for its commitment to Latinx students. Most recently, UT Austin received the 2020 Seal of Excelencia from Excelencia in Education, the nation’s authority in efforts related to Latinx student success. Among the program’s many accolades, Project MALES was recognized as a finalist for the 2019 Examples of Excelencia award from Excelencia in Education for supporting Latinx undergraduates and increasing their graduation rates at UT Austin.
Over the years, Project MALES has expanded its many offerings including:
- Hosting an annual Texas Male Student Leadership Summit, attracting more than 500 students, educators and administrators from across the state for two days of personal and professional development at UT Austin
- Hosting an annual Summer Leadership Academy, bringing more than 50 Austin-area middle and high school students to the UT Austin campus for a week of mentoring and leadership-building
- One-on-one near-peer mentorship sessions with Austin-area middle and high school students and UT Austin students, serving over 350 young men in 2019-20
- Frequent dissemination of research and policy briefs focused on successful outcomes for males of color across the educational spectrum
- Monthly Zoom webinars, attracting more than 300 attendees and 1,300 viewers per event
During the pandemic, Project MALES has taken its annual events and newly created monthly webinars to virtual platforms, expanding many of its offerings to other educational stakeholders and the general public across the country.
From the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement Press Release