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Appears in:
Pages: 6232-6235
Publication year: 2011
ISBN: 978-84-615-3324-4
ISSN: 2340-1095

Conference name: 4th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 14-16 November, 2011
Location: Madrid, Spain

SUPPORTING SUCCESS OUTSIDE OF THE CLASSROOM: THE AFRICAN AMERICAN STUDENT NETWORK

T. Grier-Reed, S. Dade

University of Minnesota (UNITED STATES)
In the United States, Black students at predominantly White institutions (PWIs) of higher education face a number of stressors, including more racial conflict, more pressure to conform to stereotypes, and less equitable treatment by faculty, staff, and teaching assistants than their White counterparts. In particular, Black students experience stress related to acceptance or fitting in, cultural conflict, help-seeking, coping, lack of resources, mistrust of the institution, racism, social support, and stigma. Along with family and financial problems, these students report stressors related to institutional racism, poor health and energy, and social isolation. As a result, these students often find themselves in hostile and unfair environments; and, over half of this population enrolled at 4-year colleges fails to graduate within 6 years. In contrast, Black students who attend predominantly Black colleges have less difficulty attaining a sense of membership within their academic community, and consequently experience less stress than their peers at PWIs. An interesting outcome is that completion rates for Black students at Historically Black College/University-type institutions have been reported as higher than that of any other racial/ethnic group. One landmark study drew attention to the differential outcomes for Black students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities and those at PWIs and concluded that college outcomes for Black students are significantly influenced by their immediate social contexts. Specifically, interpersonal relationships are important mediating factors in college adjustment. These findings have been echoed in my own research.

In 2005, I co-founded a group called the African American Student Network (or AFAM as the students call it). This group meets weekly over the lunch hour and provides a space for students to talk. Food is provided and meetings are always open to new students. Each meeting begins with a check-in in which students introduce themselves and share a high and low moment from the week. After the check-in, the floor is open for students to discuss concerns, share stories, and talk about issues. Meetings are co-facilitated by a Black graduate student and me. In terms of social context, students have reported finding a sense of safety, validation, connectedness, intellectual stimulation, empowerment, and resilience through participation in AFAM, as well as the experience of a home base on campus. In exploring whether participation in AFAM is related to positive outcomes in retention and graduation, I have found interesting and promising results. First, when comparing a group of 152 students who participated in the network during its first 4 years to other African American undergraduates at the university (n=1188), initial data--mean college entrance exam score, high school rank (HSR), and 1st-term grade point average (GPA)--were quite similar. In other words, AFAM students did not appear to be more academically prepared (entrance exam score = 19; HSR = 70; GPA = 2.7) than their counterparts on campus who did not participate in the network (entrace exam score = 20; HSR = 73; GPA = 2.8). However, in terms of educational outcomes AFAM students (1-year retention 87%, 4-year retention 53%, and 4-year retention plus graduation 68%) exceeded their counterparts on all measures (80%, 33%, and 52%, respectively).
@InProceedings{GRIERREED2011SUP,
author = {Grier-Reed, T. and Dade, S.},
title = {SUPPORTING SUCCESS OUTSIDE OF THE CLASSROOM: THE AFRICAN AMERICAN STUDENT NETWORK},
series = {4th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation},
booktitle = {ICERI2011 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-615-3324-4},
issn = {2340-1095},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Madrid, Spain},
month = {14-16 November, 2011},
year = {2011},
pages = {6232-6235}}
TY - CONF
AU - T. Grier-Reed AU - S. Dade
TI - SUPPORTING SUCCESS OUTSIDE OF THE CLASSROOM: THE AFRICAN AMERICAN STUDENT NETWORK
SN - 978-84-615-3324-4/2340-1095
PY - 2011
Y1 - 14-16 November, 2011
CI - Madrid, Spain
JO - 4th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
JA - ICERI2011 Proceedings
SP - 6232
EP - 6235
ER -
T. Grier-Reed, S. Dade (2011) SUPPORTING SUCCESS OUTSIDE OF THE CLASSROOM: THE AFRICAN AMERICAN STUDENT NETWORK, ICERI2011 Proceedings, pp. 6232-6235.
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