What impact did the Teaching Men of Color Program have on our participants?
- August 9, 2019
- Posted by: Karan
- Category: Blog
“We teach because we want to make a difference in the lives of our students, but we are so disconnected and do not find the time to reflect on their daily struggles and challenges. This program allows us to stop and feel the realities that some of our students experience. It allows us to finally hear the calling for help by men of color: a calling that we have ignored for too long. These men are capable of experiencing the triumphs and tasting the fruits of success of higher education, but they need our support and encouragement. They need to be validated and told that their stories are as relevant as any other student’s story. They need to feel that success at a community college is realistic and possible and that their success will confirm that Dr. King’s dream is more alive today than at any other time in our history.”
– Juan F. Quiñones, Adjunct Faculty, El Camino College Compton Center, when asked about his experience after his completion of Teaching Men of Color in Community College Program.
Student’s life in the United States is an exceptional experience. Students have many opportunities, which are followed by hurdles, twists and turns on their path. As students mature and shift from middle school to high school and further to college, they regularly go through personal, academic, psychological, financial and other challenges which sometimes hinder their growth. And it further becomes challenging for racial and socially diverse students who are often treated unevenly not only by their colleagues but also and most importantly by their faculty. Teachers play one of the most important roles in shaping the life on an individual and if that’s not done correctly then it is a problem which needs to be fixed. However, there are very few people who see it as a problem which needs immediate attention.
“I found Teaching Men of Color a head-on encounter with the issue of declining educational system, straightforwardly going to our blind-spot and entrenchment in our own attitudes about men and/or students of color and asking for a trust and belief in the capabilities of students of color. It asks us to watch out for our micro-racism and actively intervene in the educational lives of students of color. So much to be learned and so many particular points to be filled out, this workshop is a good starting point for colleges with a predominantly under-represented and under-served students of color.”
– Asad Kabir, Adjunct teacher of philosophy at Contra Coast College.
One of the perfect solutions is to recognize and work on the unconscious bias amongst most of us. This can be done by educating oneself about topics such as equity, unconscious bias and racial microaggressions. Striving for equity and intent to inculcate major values in the faculty and staff have encouraged Dr. Bridget Herrin and Dr. Luke Wood, Co-Founders of CORA, to start “Teaching Men of Color in Community College Program”. A program to make the faculties realize the mistakes they have been making while dealing with men of color and teaches them strategies and approaches that can be used to foster enhanced learning among college men of color.
“This was an eye opening and highly informative program. It really does spell out the nature of the problems and how to address them. It doesn’t promote a naive approach to things or ‘magic wand’ solutions, but it does provide some very concrete actions you can use as an instructor to remedy some of the problems that men of color on our campuses struggle with. I was impressed with the depth of the content, and again, not just problem identification but also problem solutions were offered.”
– Cornelius Sullivan, Adjunct Professor of Psychology at Fresno City College.
Since it is a nationwide issue, they started offering this program online via the platform they have created, coralearning.org. The program consists of video presentations, related articles and readings which have proved very useful, as validated by more than 1500 participants who have joined the program since its inception in 2015. The program is divided into four modules, each of which requires a 3-4-hour commitment (including lectures, discussion boards, and readings). They are initially offered a month to complete but if needed the time can be extended.
“I am impressed how interactive and engaging the virtual training courses were for me. I also, appreciated the training modules aligning the reading materials and repeating who the authors are of the articles in the modules to follow. Bravo!!! Providing relevant content, statistics and examples on how to teach men of color. I especially, like the strategies for building personal relationships or meaning full relationships.”
– Tonette Salter, Program Coordinator, JSPAC (Joint Special Populations Advisory Committee) and Teacher Preparation Pipeline/STEM-CTE grants at Cuyamaca College
“I think this is a very valuable course for educators who strive to achieve equity in our classrooms, and though the focus here is on men of color, the strategies provided are important tools that can help us to support all of our students. The readings were very informative, and the accompanying videos were good reinforcements and supplements to the other materials. I particularly enjoyed reading the discussion board posts, and I got a lot of good ideas about how to handle common challenges by seeing what my colleagues had to say. I feel like I have a better understanding of how men of color in my classrooms may perceive their educational experiences, and I hope to better serve them as a result of what I’ve learned here. Thank you!”
– Rebecca Quinn, English professor & Faculty Professional Development Coordinator, Sierra College
Looking at the impact, it makes us feel content as the major aim of the program was to cultivate values in the students, which the professors can fulfill rightly. Here are few instances which showcase the participant’s views about the program when asked about their overall experience in the program.
“My experience in this program was wonderful. The facilitators, Drs. Wood and Harris, did a fantastic job of organizing the course, laying the groundwork in terms of research, and attaining a high level of participation in the discussions surrounding this important work. They truly inspired me and empowered me to try to make these important improvements to my classroom practice.”
– Ruth Roach, Ph. D., English Professor, El Camino College Compton Center.
“The course material was well researched , well designed, well written and presented in a very organized and captivating manner. If you care about making a difference in the educational and personal lives of men of color with consequential spill over benefits to all other students , then this course will enhance your teaching practices and put you on course to make that difference a reality.”
– Emmanuel Akanyirige, Professor Mathematics at Diablo Valley College/ San Ramon Campus.
“I am forever grateful for this amazing online training program. CORA gave me the knowledge and skills that I needed to serve my African-American male students more effectively and efficiently. I encourage administrators, faculty, and staff who value a decent education for African-American male students to take advantage from this opportunity and join the CORA program to learn how to bring success to male students of color.”
– Farrah Esmaeili, Professor of Mathematics at Santa Monica College.
“Finally, a diversity workshop that is willing to give real life examples and advice for faculty who want to engage minority students but are not sure how. I found myself on several occasions thinking ‘I can do this, but will it really work?’ After implementing a few of the recommended teaching practices, I am happy to say that they do in fact work. This workshop is well worth the time of any faculty member who is committed to supporting students who are often relegated to the margins of the college community.”
– Matthew Morgan, PhD, Department of Philosophy at Moorpark College.
There is always a sense of fulfillment when you learn something new and implement that for the betterment of society. When the teaching aids in creating a better future of a student you will feel content. After all, it is the moral responsibility of a teacher to build up a culturally and racially diverse, intelligent, future community. Overall, we can see that the program has its impact on fulfilling its purpose to support the development of educators in advancing their capacity to serve historically underrepresented and underserved students. If every student has a sense of equality, discrimination of any kind will be eliminated from our society.