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Peabody Journal of Education, Volume 89, Issue 3, 2014

Advising, Mentoring, and Advancing African American Students in Higher Education

Preface by Maurice Apprey

For 20 years, the Journal of Blacks in Higher Education has published graduation rates for African Americans in higher education. Between 2004 and 2010, 43% of all African American students in U.S. colleges and universities graduated within 6 years. For Caucasians the rate was 66%. This substantial gap must be closed if African Americans are to have equitable opportunities to enter graduate and professional schools and competitive workplaces. This issue presents representative best practices in higher education that have generated models for academic achievement through exposure to knowledge generation and knowledge transfer.

The issue begins with a policy paper by Freeman A. Hrabowski, III on how innovation and collaboration could affect institutional change in higher education. Hrabowski uses his work at the University of Maryland at Baltimore County as a representative case, including, more specifically, the nationally acclaimed Meyerhof program.

After considering policy, institutions that wish to undertake change must engage in strategic positioning in order to demonstrate their expected trajectory. In the second article, Maurice Apprey and his collaborators take the view that strategic positioning precedes program effectiveness. If the strategy is well considered, program effectiveness follows seamlessly, allowing strategic alignment between high graduation rates and correspondingly high graduating cumulative grade-point averages.

In the third contribution, Maurice Apprey and his collaborators provide accounts of various mentoring and advising programs for African Americans to illustrate how program implementation actualizes strategic positioning. They use a cluster-mentoring program to show how three separate activities aggregate with high impact.

The next three articles focus on national programs: The Institute for the Recruitment of Teachers, which prepares underserved and underrepresented students for graduate study in education, social sciences, and the humanities (Poloma); the Leader Alliance, which provides longitudinal mentoring mainly in the natural and physical sciences (Ghee et al.); and the McNair program, which addresses preparation for both the human and the natural sciences (Gittens).

A countless number of students are especially challenged by skills and competencies in quantitative reasoning. Accordingly, the McClain article takes African Americans as an example of underrepresented student population and describes the mathematics identity they bring to the academy and the vicissitudes of that identity in the course of their undergraduate study.

The final full-length contribution, by Tazzarae Spivey-Mooring and Cheryl Burgan Apprey, describes a reciprocal mentoring program in graduate school. They discuss ways to match graduate students across race, gender, and academic discipline that can yield positive results.

The concluding article by Apprey, Poe, and Preston-Grimes summarize key issues that enter into the negotiation of the trajectory from policy making and articulation of strategy to program implementation.


Journal abstracts are linked to titles.

Institutional Change in Higher Education: Innovation and Collaboration
Freeman A. Hrabowski III

Strategy Precedes Operational Effectiveness: Aligning High Graduation Rankings With Competitive Graduate Grade Point Averages
Maurice Apprey, Kimberley C. Bassett, Patrice Preston-Grimes, Dion W. Lewis & Beverly Wood 

From Crisis Management to Academic Achievement: A University Cluster-Mentoring Model for Black Undergraduates
Maurice Apprey, Patrice Preston-Grimes, Kimberley C. Bassett, Dion W. Lewis & Ryan M. Rideau 

The Politics of Priorities in Turbulent Times: Policy Logics, Faces of Power, and Reform Possibilities
Brendan D. Maxcy 

Why Teaching Faculty Diversity (Still) Matters
Asabe W. Poloma 

The Leadership Alliance: Twenty Years of Developing a Diverse Research Workforce
Medeva Ghee, Deborah Collins, Valerie Wilson & Willie Pearson, Jr. 

The McNair Program as a Socializing Influence on Doctoral Degree Attainment
Cheryl Bailey Gittens 

Negotiating Identity: A Look at the Educational Experiences of Black Undergraduates in STEM Disciplines
Oren L. McClain 

University of Virginia Graduate Mentoring Institute: A Model Program for Graduate Student Success
Tazzarae Spivey-Mooring & Cheryl Burgan Apprey 

Key Issues From Policy and Strategy to Program Implementation
Maurice Apprey, Shelli Poe & Patrice Preston-Grimes