WORKING WITH THE MCNAlR/JENKlNS SCHOLAR by ELGIN L. KLUGH A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts Department of Anthropology University of South Florida August 1999 Major Professor : Susan Greenbaum, Ph.D
Graduate School University of South Florida Tampa Florida CERTIFICATE OF APPROVAL Master s Thesis This is to certify that the Master s Thesis of ELGIN L. KLUGH with a major in Anthropology has been approved by the Examining Committee on May 3 1999 as satisfactory for the thesis requirement for the Master of Arts degree Examining Committet(. Major Professor: Susan Greenbaum, Ph.D. r '/ Member : Trevor Purcell, Ph. D
TABLE OF CONTE N T S ABSTRACT . ... .................. . ... .... . ... ..... . ........ ........ ..... ........ ..... ..... .... ... .... ... . IV I. INTRODUCTION .. .. ... . ... ... ... .. .. .. .. ...... .. .. .. . . . . . .. .. ... .. . ...... ... .. ... .. ........ 1 Pers onal Justifications ........... .... . ................................ .................... 5 Anthropological Jus tification . ........ ........ .. ................... .... ........ ....... 8 Overview .... ...... ... .. . .................. .............. ... ...... ........... ..................... 9 II REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE 11 Hi s tory of African American s in Higher Education ................................ . More Recent History ............. ........ . ...... .......... ...... ................... . Hi s panics in U.S Higher Education .............. ............. .... ................. ... .... The Importance of Diversity in Higher Education ...................... ........... The "Problem" of Affirmative Action .................. ................. .... .... Development of Affirmative Action ... .................... ................. . . Impact of Removing Affirmative Action From Higher Educatio n Opponent s of Affirmative Action in Higher Education .......... Other Org anizations and Individuals ..... ........................................ Possible Compromises .......... ... .... ........ ...... ........... ......... . Factor s Affecting Retention and Achi e vement . ... .... .......... ... ....... ... . Before College ................. ............... ........ .... .... .................. Raci s m on Campus ........ ... ..... ............... ..................................... Cultural Capital . .................................................................. . Mentoring ... . .......... ... ..... . ........ .... . . ............... .... . ................. The Minority Student Achiev e r ............. ........................ ...... . Economi c Status and Civic Involvement ... ....... . . ................... Programs for Minority Achievement .............. ....... ............. ........ . Summary ...... .......... . .... ... ............... ... ... .... .............. 11 16 18 20 24 26 28 3 1 3 2 34 36 36 38 40 42 44 46 47 48 III INTE RNSHIP SETTING . .. . .. .. .. . .. . .. . . .. . . . . .. .. . ... .. .. . .. . . . .. . .. . 50 The Univers ity of South Florida .. .. ... . .. . .. . ... . .. . .. . ...... ... .. .. . .. . . . .. 50 Increasing Minority E nrollment . . .. . .. .. . .. . .... . ... ... . ... ... ...... 51 The McNair Program . ... . . . .. .. .. ...... .. . ... . .. ... . .. . .. ... .. .. .. ... .. .. . . . . . . ... 53 The Jenkins Program ...... ......... ............. ........ .................... ... . .................. 58 Office Structure ... ..... .. ... ... .. ..... ..... .. . .. ..... .. .. ..... ... . . ... .. ... .. ...... .. 59 Office Responsibilities ............ .. . .... ... . .. . . . .. .. .. .... ..... ..... .. . . .. .. ... 61 Program Director ......................................... .... .... . .... ....... ... ... 62 Program Coordinator . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 3
Program Assis tant .. .. .. . . . . .. .. . . . .. .. . .. . .. ... . .. .. ... . . . . .. . .. . 63 Student Aides .. .. . .. . .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. . .. . .. . .. .. .. .. .. .. .. . .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 64 My Position a s Graduate Program Assistant .. .... .. .. .. .. ...... .... .. .. .. .. .... ........... 64 Research Strategy ........ ..... ..................... oo ........... oo ............. oo................... 67 IV. A YEAR IN REVIEW .......... .. ................ ......... .............................................. 71 Working Within the Office ................... ..... . . ............................ . ............. 75 Positives .. ... .. .. . ... . ... . ... .. .. . .. . .. . . .. .. . .. . .. . ... .. ... . . . .. . ... 75 Negatives ... ... ... .. .. .... .. . .. .... ...... . ... . .. .... .... ... .. ... ... .. . .. ... ... .. .. 76 Categorizing the Students ........... 00........... ... .......... .... ... ..... ....... ............ 79 Two Major McNair Program Components ........................ oo .. .. .. .. oo.... .. .. ... 84 The Atlanta Trip .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. . .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. . .. .. . .. .. .. .. .. . .. 84 The Summer Institute .. 00 .................. 00 00........................ .. ....... 90 Faculty Role Model Mentors .. ..... . .. ... . .. . .... .. . .. . . .. .... ... .. ... .. ... .. 93 Faculty Research Mentors ........ 00 ........................ oo .. oo.......... .. .... .. 94 Counseling Students 00.. .. .. ............. ............................... ....... ........ ...... ... 96 Relationships .. ............. ............. ...... ......................... ........ ................ 97 Family Issues .......... ... 000.... ... .. .... .. .. ... .. .. .. . .. .. ... . ...... ... ... .... .. .. .. 98 Financial Debt .................................. ..... ..... .......... 00 .. ... ...... 00. 100 Depression/Motivation . .... .... .... ........ .. ................................. 102 The Year s End 00 ....... .... . .... ............... ............................ ................... 103 Hind-sight ..... ............................................................ 00 ... .... ....... 104 V STUDENT PROFILES ................. ................................................. 00 ...... . ...... 107 Sandra Greene (McNair Scholar) ...................... ...... ............................ ... 110 Kara Stipe (McNair Scholar) .............. .................. ........................ ............... 114 Charles Jorden (McNair Scholar .. ........ .. .. oo .. oo .... .. .... oo .. oo .............. oo .. 00 ... 117 John Dunlap (Jenkins Scholar) .... 00 .............. 00 .. 00 .. ........ 00 .. ................... 123 Joy Stevens (Jenkins Scholar) ......... .................. ................. ........ ................ 126 Joanna Richardson (Jenkins Scholar) ........................................................... 130 Two Special Cases ...... .................. ......... ....... ........ .... ........................... 133 Gary Stevens . .. .. .. .. .. .. . . .. . .. . . .. .. . .. . .. . .. . .. .. .. . .. . .. . .. .. . .. .. .. . .. . .. .. 134 Maria Rodrigues ................ ............... .... ..... .... .... .... ..... ..... ..... ..... .... ..... 138 Summary ....................... ....................... ........................... ........ 141 VII. SUGGESTIONS AND CONCLUSIONS ........ 00 ..................................... 144 Vis a Vis The Literature .................. oo ...... ............................................. 144 Professors and Peers . .. . .. . .. .. . . .. . .. .. .. . .. . .. . . . .. .. . .. .. . . . . . . .. 144 Stereotype s .... . .................... ......................................................... 147 Motivation ........... . .............................................................. oo .. o 149 Networking .. ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo o .... o .. oo .... o .. o ooooo .............. oooo oooooo ... 151 Program Comparisons .. o .... .. ooooooOOooooOooooOOoo o .. o o .o ..... o ............ o .. oooo o oooo ooo I 54 The McNair Program .. o ...... 000 ................ 0 ........................ 000 .............. 0 154 II
The J enkin s Program ................ ................................... ................... 1 56 Juxtapo s ition .............. ..................................................................... 158 Sugg e stions ................... .... .......... .................................. .......................... 159 T h e J e n ki n s Program ....... ...... .................. ........... ......... ..... .............. 1 6 1 The McNai r Program .......................................... ........ ................... 165 Changing Fac es .......... ............................ .. ......................................... 167 I n C l osing ............ .................... ...... ....... ................. ........... .. ......... ...... .. 170 REFERENCES CITED ... .......... ....... ....... ................ ...... ...... ...... ........ ............. 173 APP E NDIC E S 179 Appendix A McNair F l yer .......................................... ............. ..... ......... 180 Appendix B Sequence C h art .... ............. ........... ............ .. ......... ...... 182 Ill
WORKING WITH THE MCNAIR/JENKINS SCHOLAR by ELGIN L. KLUGH An Abstract Of a thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts Department of Anthropology University of South Florida August 1999 Major Profe ssor: Susan Greenbaum, Ph.D IV
This research is the result of a nine month internship experience working as the Graduate Program Assistant with the McNair and Jenkins Scholar Programs These programs, both dedicated to providing constructive support and guidance for lower income and underrpresented students in higher education, primarily serve very talented and high achieving minority students As the Graduate Program Assistant it was my job to work directly with the students in a counseling/advising relationship and to help carry out and implement program features and goals ln this thesis I have accumulated information to provide : 1) information about the types of students involved in the programs for the use of future Graduate Assistants who take the position ; 2) an exploration of some of the details in the lives of minority student achieve rs at Majority White Universities ; 3) an explanation of the need for and importance of such programs; and 4) constructive comments and suggestions aimed at improving how the programs operate and serve the students involved When working with students the necess ity of understanding the context of their education and challenges and frustrations that they face must not be under-estimated. Abstract Approval: --=--=----..,...__----==-=--------------Major Professor : Susan Greenbaum, Ph D Professor, Department of Anthropology Date Approved : ___ __.____,L......__.'---4------v
I. INTRODUCTION This thesis is an accumulation of knowledge about minorities in Higher Education gathered through research and an internship working as the Graduate Program Assistant for the McNair and Jenkins Scholar Programs at the University of South Florida. I have written with the intention of providing : 1) information about the types of s tudents involved in the programs for the use of future Graduate Assistants who take the position that I 2) an exploration of some of the details in the lives of minority s tudents at majority white 3) an explanation of the need for and importance of such programs as McNair and and 4) constructive comments and suggestions aimed at improving how the McNair and Jenkins Programs operate and serve the students involved. As an employee of these programs I became closely acquainted with the internal functioning of these specific organizations and also with the students whom these programs serve. The minorities that I refer to when using the term in this thesis are African Americans and Hispanics. These groups particularly African American have been the tar g ets of racist thinking and social and political oppression in the United States As a result, these groups experience high rates of poverty, lower life expectancies high rates of unemployment and a harmful underrepre se ntation in American higher education
2 A cause and result of negative stigma and stereotypes attached to these groups has been their oppressed, and subsequently lower economic status in American society. These stigma and stereotypes can be traced back to justifications created for slavery and conquest. In academic thinking, they can be traced to the eighteenth century writings of Carolus Linnaeus Count de Buffon, and Johann Friedrich Blumenbachall of whom made out classifications, or rankings that divided human beings into separate races or species with whites being the most advanced and blacks being the most backward and undeveloped (Marks 1995 : 50-5) This kind of thinking became more and more deeply embedded in social thought with writings of individuals like Count Arthur de Gobineau ( 1854 ), who theorized that civilization rose and fell in proportion to the purity of Aryan blood contained in it" (Marks 1995 : 64-5) It then found a great spark in C harle s Darwin s (1859) O n th e O rigin of Spec ie s by Means of Na tural Se le c ti o n o r th e Preservation ofF avoured Races in the S truggl e for Life (Marks 1995 :291 ) which wa s used by individuals such as Francis Galton ( 1869) who applied his theories to culture and social organization in a new kind of social Darwinism (Marks 1995 : 78) A re s ult of these writings was increased racism which in many cases reaffirmed and manifested itself in decisions about immigration policies social interaction people's rights and freedom of movement within society ( Marks 1995 : 87). This racism reached a pinnacle in the Eugenics Movement a white supremacist movement for Aryan racial ethnic, and psychological cleansing, championed by Americans such as Charl es Davenport and Germans sucp as pt"Wln pugen fischer, and Fritz Lenz Adolf Hitler
.., .) studied the writings of these individuals and acted upon them in way that is now seen as one of the darker points in human history (Marks 1995 : 88) Slavery and the African American and Jewish Holocausts are the extreme sides of racism that most can agree upon as dreadfully wrong. But has the basic tenet formed in the minds of early social theorists simply disappeared that humans s uffer innate differences in aptitude due to color-whereas whites are the most logical and intellectual and blacks are the most crude, animalis tic and intellectually dense group? Or has it simply found a home in today's confusing, postmodem-like, jumbled-up atmosphere of debates on issues like Affirmative Action, where it can be indirectly put forth and inadvertently supported by millions who think themselves free of racist thinking. Recently, I saw a car with severa l liberally minded bumper stickers. One was the typical "Pro-Choice another said Ban Nuclear Testing", and another was an advertisement for hemp products. The fourth sticker on the car said Prefer No Race ." Offhand, it sounds like a laudable s lo gan, but in the light of the current debate around the country in regards to racial preferences ", it takes on a more insidious tone And suddenly this lib eral, Volkswagen driving individual represents a whole social movement constructed by conservative individuals and think-tanks, to put an end to struggled for policies that seek to provide opportunity in order to redistribute wealth and privilege in society The McNair and Jenkins Programs at USF are programs that seek to ensure minority access and opportunity in Higher Education T he Ronald E. McNair PostBaccalaureate Achievement Program (the McNair Program) is ... designed to prepare
4 thirty low-income, first-generation students and others from groups traditionally underrepresented in higher education to enroll in doctoral programs subsequent to completing their undergraduate education at the University of South Florida" (Holmes n .d.: 1 ) The Jenkins Program is set up to monitor a four-year full scholarship plus stipend given to four incoming USF students each year, and is sponsored by the George Jenkins Foundation (George Jenkins being the founder ofPublix supermarkets) These programs both monitor, advise, and support their students in their university matriculation in order to ensure opportunity and access, and to counter adverse effects of racist thinking and practices, feelings of alienation, and the lack of supportive ties and role models that many minorities face in the environment of majority white universities. In this thesis I explore the historical and present contexts of minorities in Higher Education, research on factors affecting minority student achievement and I offer specific s tudent case studies in hopes of showing how they relate to, and are affected by, popular thought writing and policy debates Through working with both the Jenkins and McNair Programs over the course of nine months, I was able to participate in both the planning and implementation of program activities I was also able to get to know each s tudent personally, and their specific trials triumphs, and situations From this vantage point I was able to gain insight into the minority experience at USF, and to relate this to literature on the minority experience in Higher Education nation-wide
5 Personal Justifications As an African American student in higher education, much of what I am exploring relates directly to me. I can look back over the history of education in America and see how my family reacted to, and was affected by, every stage of its evolution to what the situation is today I look at my parents who in one generation were able to leave the farms of South Carolina and enter into suburban Maryland middle-class life and see the direct benefits of educational opportunities that arose in the fifties and sixtie s for the first time for much of Black America Thus, I have a vital interest in ongoing debates, such as those presently taking place over affirmative action, equal opportunity programs, and trends in minority education My parents both grew up in the "Jim Crow" era, working on their familys farms in South Carolina. Though I was raised in a very different environment the y taught m e how education has been vital to the black struggle for equality in America T hey made s ure that I understood the context from which they came, and how privileges and opportunities that I have are a direct result of what g enerations before me have had to overcome. Thus, I do not have the kind of ahi s torical view of history that lead s some people to proclaim that racism is over. Instead I see that many of the attitudes, symbols, and stereotypes that existed in the racial nadir of this country s his tory s till manife s t themselves today. Stereotypical images such as "mammy", "sambo" and uncle tom ", still find proliferation throughout the world in new media forms These images are perpetuated especially in Hollywood, in movies like "The Fifth Element", and Booty Call." Though not as blatantly racist as earlier film s such as Birth of A Nation and
6 "Gone With The Wind", they help to reaffirm and perpetuate negative stereotypes that offend and damage the self-concept of many African Americans it is interesting to note that "Gone With The Wind" is still so popular that it was recently released again in movie theaters. As a student of anthropology I understand that these images reflect and reproduce, distorted views that people have of each other, and inhibit the creation of a society in which people are free to reach their own potential absent of pre-programmed notions as to their strengths and weaknesses. These notions have an effect on the lifestyles and occupations that people choose thus affecting the structure of society. One of the most important arenas for instituting change within a society is education. Speaking about the importance of education, Chester Finn of Vanderbelt University said: Education isn 'tjust a service we obtain for our own daughters and sons and grandchildren It is a public good after defense perhaps our most important form of common provision and, in a sense, itself a defense against the ills that plague us at home. It has incalculable influence on the quality of social relationships the vitality of our culture, the strength of our economy, the comfort we feel in our communities, and the wisdom of our government decisions. (quoted in Bennett 1994 : 98). As a minority student in Higher Education, I particularly see the value of Chester Finn's statement in regards to improving our country s racial climate. Increase in the number of minorities in Higher Education has the benefit of restructuring the ethnic make-up of our nations leading institutions of business and government, but minorities in Higher Education tend to experience particular obstacles and set-backs which hinder advancement for many I remember being surprised as an
7 undergraduate at the high number students who made it to college, but never made it to graduation Since then attrition rates have been an area of concern for me. Minorities have to run the gauntlet including obstacles such as of poverty, second-class schooling an oppressive background of blatant opposition to their academic achievement, racism, and having families unfamiliar with Higher Education, just to get to the point of participating in Higher Education. Whatever the reason, some people in any group will change their minds about education. But given the context of their presence in Higher Education and the positive potential within an increased number of minorities in Higher Education, I want to work to make sure that individuals are not getting lost in the shuffle. Some have looked at high drop-out rates for black college students as evidence that affinnative action gets students into academic situations they can not deal with-thi s view was put forward by Stephan and Abigail Themstrom and has come to be known as the "Themstrom Fallacy (Cross, et al. 1998 : 91). In actuality, sixty-nine percent of black students who drop out of school do so for financial reasons. It has been found that the highest drop out rates are at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU's) while Black students at the nations most prestigious colleges and universitie s graduate at almost the exact rate as white students. Large second and third tier universities that often accept as many as ninety percent of their applicants lay between with Black s tudent s averaging a drop out rate of fifteen percent more than white sutdents (Cross, et al. 1998 : 992-4 ) Thus the lowest graduation rates are at schools where affinnative action is not a factor and the highest are at the schools that use affinnative action most heavily But the
8 question remains as to why drop-out rates for blacks are so much higher at large second and third tier universities This could be explained economically in that a larger proportion of black students have to drop-out for financial reasons. But this explanation does not cover the range of reasons why some minority students drop out, and others are not successful at majority white institutions. There are other factors that affect minority achievement at majority white universitiesas will be elaborated on in this thesis Anthropological Justifications When looking at education I feel that the anthropological perspective seems most appropriate Educational institutions are places where culture is transmitted through the day to day lesson plans of professors, and the interactions between individuals and groups on campus Jacob and Jordan (1993 : 17) describe culture transmission as occurring in the forms of .. enculturation ," when one is raised in a culture and .. acculturation," when one not native to a culture comes in contact with it for a period of time. One could argue that higher education is where higher levels of .. enculturation and acculturation" take place . Jacob and Jordan (1993 : 22-23) write : Educational anthropology examines education from the viewpoint of culture, with culture being a complex and multifaceted concept. Within a cultural frame of reference educational anthropologists tend to conduct in depth case studies that preserve the detail and complexity of naturally occurring settings such as classrooms Using methods such as participant observation and in-depth interviewing, educational anthropologists document cultural meanings and behavior structural and contextual influences on meanings and behavior and the various processes involved in education
9 This is the kind of framework that I felt was necessary to employ in working with African Americans and Hispanics in higher education. I set out to gain a thorough understanding of what it means to be an African American or a Hispanic in this educational setting. Since I am an African American, I felt somewhat equipped from the start in this aspect though I noted that I needed to be careful not to be over presumptuous Through participant observation and interviewing, I feel that I gained an understanding of the contexts and needs of minorities, especially African Americans, in higher education. I also feel that I gained an understanding of the students in the McNair and Jenkins programs, how they understand and view themselves, what are their problems and strengths, where they need help what kind of help they need and how they can be better served. From these anthropological methods I have been able to gather information in order to offer explanation criticism and s uggestions for various aspects of the McNair and Jenkins Programs Overview Chapter two, the review of the literature is written to give the reader an overall understanding of the context, current debates and factors affecting the retention and achievement of minorities in Higher Education This chapter is meant to be used as a reference point for information presented in the thesis In chapter three I introduce the reader to my internship setting. This is where the structure and missions of the McNair and Jenkins Programs are explained, and their context within the university given Thi s
10 chapter ends with an explanation of my basic methodology In Chapter four I describe my experiences and thoughts during my nine months working with the McNair and Jenkins Scholar Programs. And in chapter five, McNair and Jenkins Scholars are individually profiled in order to enlighten the reader about specific individuals and their situations, and how they are connected to and affected by, the larger discussion. In the last chapter, chapter six, I discuss various aspects of minority achievement written about in the literature and relate them to my findings and specific examples I offer suggestions as to how the McNair and Jenkins Programs can better serve their students I also discuss the fact that current debates about Affirmative Action are a challenge to the existence of programs like these, and I explain the necessity of these program s and why it is important for them to sustain current attacks on their overall mi ss ion which is to increase minority representation and achievement in higher education This thesis is meant to serve both as a reference for those interested in minorities in Higher Education, and a tool for individual s interested specifically in structuring programs aimed at providing constructive support for minorities in Higher E ducation hav.e written somewhat introspectively so that the reader can see how my personal thinkin g may have bearing on how I see things. This empowers the reader to think more critically about what is written It is my hope that this thesis can inspire progressive thought and action to improve the status of minorities in U .S. Higher Education
11 ll. REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE History of African Americans in Higher Education The first African Americans to graduate from college in the United States received their primary educational training at the New York African Free School which was established in 1787 by the New York Society to Prevent the Manumission of Slaves Notable members of the society at that time were Alexander Hamilton author of the "Federalist Papers," and John Jay, the first Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court After graduating from the African Free School Edward Jones became the first African American to graduate from college in the United States by completing studies at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst in 1826 Others to follow included individual s such as John Russworm editor of the Freedman s Journal"the nation's first African American newspaper and Martin Delaney who later graduated from Harvard Medical School (Morgan 1995 : 43-44 ). Though college preparation in the 1800's proved fruitful for a few the condition of African Americans in American society at that time limited the number of individuals able to receive college instruction Also, teachers were finding that graduates of the African Free School ... had no more success at getting placed in a respectable occupations than did Black children who had not attended the school" (Morgan 1995 : 46) Thus, besides a handful of individuals who through their own peculiar circumstance s
12 were able to transcend societal restraints, African American achievement in higher education remained sparse until the end of the slavery period With the help of organizations such as the Freedmans' Bureau and the American Missionary Association, several Black Golleges were established in the period following slavery. This was a period in which educational institutions as a whole, both white and black were being aided by an increase of philanthropy due primarily to the rise of "Robber-Barons" such as Rutherford B. Hayes and John D. Rockefeller. Newly rich Americans contributed money that went to the creation of two hundred and sixty colleges and univer s ities from 1860 to 1900including Vanderbilt, the University of Chicago, Johns Hopkins, and Stanford (Franklin and Moss 1994:265) From 1854 to 1950 predominantly black colleges increased in number from one to more than one hundred And by 1 933, thirty-eight thousand African Americans were e nrolled in a college or uni ve r sity. Ninety-seven percent of those were enrolled in Black colleges in the South (Fra nklin and Moss 1994:408). As the number of African Americans receiving college degrees increased so did the number of African Americans wanting to further their scholarly pursuits in areas outside of tho se encompassed by the smaller black colleges and universities. In 1 900, the sta te of South Carolina, which was fifty-five percent Black, had $627, 574 to divide a mon g its five state schools. The sc hool for African Americans, South Carolina State College, received les s than two percent of this money for its operations (Mays 1987:43) It is clear that the Black institutions were limited in their power to gather educational re so urce s equal to tho se of the white institutions which received mu c h more mone y
13 There were a few schools in the North that accepted the limited number of African Americans who were academically prepared and financially able to attend However rejection from many Northern schools was a factor for many African Americans as witnessed in this letter written in 1916, in response to Dr Benjamin E. Mays President emeritus of Morehouse College, when he applied to the Holdernes s School as a young man, "I wish I could help you in your laudable desire to get an education, but if I should admit a boy of your race to Holderness School I should lo se seve ral s tudents So I am obliged to decline to receive you" ( Mays 1987:51 ). At other places such as the University of Chicago, Blacks were admitted but were snubbed in public by professors and still faced the "Jim Crow" segregation in life around campus (Mays 1987 :65) Well-written autobiographies by Dr. Benjamin E. May s ( 1987 ), r et. Gen. Benjamin 0 Davis ( 1991 ), and others, provide detailed infonnation for what life wa s like for African Americans on Northern university and college campuses at that time. These experiences, though uncomfortable, proved to be beneficial. Dr. Benjamin Mays writes, "Through competitive experience, I had finally dismis se d from my mind for all time the myth of the inherent inferiority of all Negroes and the inherent s uperiority of all whites ... (Mays 1987 : 60). Though more extreme in s ituation these early matriculants suffered the sa me basic obstacles of racist thinking and practices feelings of alienation, and the lack of supportive role models At West Point General Davis was the only African American in hi s class and had to matriculate for four years without anyone talking to him outside of a n official capacity (Davis 1992 : 27). Dr. May s was probably the best on his debat e t eam
14 in college, but had to suffer the humiliation of other college teams dropping out of contests because they would not debate a black person (Mays 1987:59) Neither of these individuals had black faculty to relate to, but fortunately they were both inspired by adversity and motivated to succeed The necessity of African Americans to attend majority white institutions to further their graduate studies on an equal footing with their white counterparts became a major issue upon which the Supreme Court ruled no less than nine times from 1896 to 1964 Three key court decisions during this time were, Plessy v Fergu s on ( 1896) Missouri ex rel. Gaines v Canada (1938), and Florida ex rel. Hawkins v Board of Control (I 956) (Stefkovich I 994:4 I 8) The Supreme Court's decision in the Plessy v Ferguson (1896 ) case established the doctrine of "separate but equal" (Stefkovich 1994:408). Education was just one of the many facets of life that was affected by these codes of conduct, otherwise known as Jim Crow "Jim Crow" worked to exclude African Americans from almost every avenue of advancement in American life Writing of the Jim Crow" era, Dr. Benjamin Mays stated : There wasn't much going for the Negro in the world in which I was born The shades of darkness were falling fast upon and around him. The tides of the post-Reconstruction years were being turned deliberately and viciously against him. The ballot was being taken away. Segregation was being enacted by law. Lynching was widespread and vigorously defended Injustice in the courts was taken for granted whenever a Negro was involved with a white man. Discrimination and inequality in education were accepted as morally right. Books and articles were being pub l ished sermons preached, and anti-Negro speeches made, all saying in substance : The Negro is a different breed. He is inferior to the white man At any cost he must be kept down The North and South had reached an
agreement about the Negro's role in the South and in the nation. It was to be a subordinate role ... (Mays, 1987 : 22) 15 This world about which Dr Mays speaks is not an abstract reality of a long ago time to which people living today cannot relate. It has slowly been ending in the last forty five years, but many of its vestiges and legacies are st ill felt either directly by individuals who lived in that era, or indirectly by those tryin g to make gains from the disadvantaged position in which "Jim Crow" left black families and black America as a whole The Missouri ex rei. Gaines v Canada decision was the firs t to show vulnerability of the se parate-but-equal doctrine by ruling for integration in higher education if "separate but equal" education could not be offered by the state (Stefkovich 1994:418) The state of Mi sso uri had offered to pay for Gaines to go to law school out of the s tate s ince there was not a law sc hool for African Americans in the s tate The court ruled tha t the s tate must provide within its borders facilities for legal education s ub stan tiall y e qual to those which the state there offered for per so n s of the white race .. .'' (S tefkovich 1994 : 409) This case was followed with si milar rulings in other cases that all laid the foundation for the hi sto ric Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas ( 1954) case w hich outlawed s chool segrega tion The Florida ex rei. Hawkin s v. Board of Co ntrol ( 1956 ) decision i s notable becau s e it was th e first case to apply the Brown decision to higher e ducation (Stefkovich 1994:418) This se t the stage for widespread inte gra tion in higher educatio n as see n today. This earlier history of African Americans in hi g her education prior to integration i s important to note because it s hows the pattern s of resistance and adversity faced by
16 African American students, and their persistence in achieving entrance into all facets of higher education. It also provides an explanation for the modem situation of underrepresentation by showing how the lack of opportunity plagued students over the years. The large number of African Americans involved in higher education seen in the last twenty -fi ve years is a new phenomenon for Black America and for America in general. The context from which this phenomena has arisen is important to note in order to understand its immediate and future repercussions and the reactions to them !vfore Recent History As stated earlier, in 1933 there were thirty-eight thousand African Americans enrolled in higher education. By 1965 that number had increased to six hundred thousand (Wilson 1994 : 196) This dramatic increa se was due to GI bills passed after WWTI and the Korean and Vietnam Wars (of which my own father and several uncles were recipient s). The passage of the GI bills ... enabled hundreds of thousands of veterans including thousand s of African American and Hispanic veterans, many the first in their families, to attend college independent of scholarship or previous educational achievement" (Wi l son 1994 : 195) This allowed large numbers of individuals to improve their economic standing, and set the stage for future generations to achieve higher l eve l s of educational training This increase also caused a rise in the pool of minoritie s prepared to work in higher education. This increase of minorities working in higher education has repercussions such as : l) an increase in mentor-like relationships betwe e n African American s tudents and faculty ; and 2) African American voices being heard
17 from within the university administration instead of from an alienated, outsider position with little pull to change policy or opinions. A further increase in the number of African Americans enrolled in higher education occurred after 1965 causing the number of those enrolled to double from six hundred thousand to 1 2 million by 1980 This increase was due primaril y to the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act which ... built on the previous beginnings of Lyndon B. Johnson's Great Society programs such as the Office of Economic Opportunity. All the programs that are now familiar to us on campuses flowed from those efforts : the TRIO programsUpward Bound, Special Services, Talent Search Executive Order 11246 establishing Affirmative Action, and so forth" (Wi l so n 1994 : 196) [The McNair Program is a TRIO program]. Though not as fast as before 1980 the ofAfrican Americans in higher education has been increasing steadily Statistics reported in the Summer 1997 issue of the Journal of Blacks in Higher Education, illustrate this increase : 1) The percentage of 18 to 24 year old blacks who were enrolled in college in 1975 was 20. 7%, and in 1997 it was 27.3%. 2) The percentage of blacks over the age of25 who had completed four years of college or more in 1975 was 6.4% and it 1995 it was 13. 2%. 3) The number of black full-time faculty members in higher education in 1983 was 19,571, and in 1993 it was 25,658 (Cro ss et al. 1997 : 77) From these numbers we can see that African Americans are achieving a higher degree of representation in higher education In the last ten years there has been a significant increase in the number of African Americans earning Associate's Bachelor's Master's, Professional, and Doctoral degrees (Cross, et al. 1997 : 80) But not all statistics are positive Though there is an increasing pool of African Americans prepared for, and
18 employed in, faculty positions the percentage of full-time black faculty members who were tenured in 1995 (42. 9%) decreased showing almost an eleven percent drop from 1985 (53. 8%) while the percentage of white tenured faculty in 1995 was 60. 7% (Cross et al. 1997 : 77) Hispanics in U.S. Higher Education The term Hispanic actually represents a broad range of diverse people with different circumstances and sometimes few similarities except for l anguage The term generally refers to anyone from any of the countries in Latin America and in Central America, and Cuba and Spain. Those classified as Hispanics often do not only have Span ish origins, but also have varying degrees of Native American and African origin T hus, there are large difference s among Hispanic s according to class, color condition s of immigration and treatment in the U.S. Given this space for difference, de los Santo s and Rigual ( 1994 : 175-7) write that "When the Hispanic population is st udied and dis cussed, ... s ubgroup differences often are not repre s ented., Still, overall s tati s tic s des cribing His panic involvement in American hig her education are compe llin g and show need for constructive intervention His panic involvement in higher education was also increased through the G.I. Bill, the Civil Rights Act of 1 964 and affirmative actio n programs (Wi l so n 1994 : 195-6) But the r ea l increase in the number of Hispanic st udents involved in hig her education has occurred s ince the 1970s as Hispanics were immigrating to the U S in the millions Before the 1970s there is not much reported about the involvement of Hispanic s in
19 United States higher education As of 1970 the United States Hispanic population was a little over nine million. Now it is almost thirty million (de los Santos and Rigual 1994:174-5) De los Santos and Rigual (1994 : 173) illustrate the growth ofHispanic involvement in higher education by stating these facts: 1) Nine hundred fifty-four thousand Hispanics enrolled in higher education in 1992 (an increase of 129 percent since 1978) (O'Brien,l993). 2) Over 49 ,000 bachelors degrees were awarded to Hispanics in 1991 (a growth of 81 percent since 1977) ( National Science Board, 1993 ). 3) There has been a 146 percent increase in the number of doctoral degrees in science and engineering awarded to Hispanics from 1977 to 1991 (National Science Board, 1993) 4) There has been a 58 percent increase in the number of Hispanic college faculty members from 1981 to 1991 (O'Brien, 1993). Overall the numbers look good when compared to the past, but when put into context with other aspects of society, the necessity for further improvement is apparent. Wilson (1994) reports : 1) There are more Native Americans Hispanics and African Americans below the povertY line today than there were 10 years ago. 2) Hispanic unemployment is about 50 percent higher than the rate for White and African American unemployment is two and one half times as high as the rate for Whites 3) The gap in life expectancy between African Americans and Whites has grown worse for African Americans since 1984 4) Infant mortality for African Americans has grown worse in the past ten years (Wilson 1994 : 203-204). Increa s ing the involvement of minorities in higher education does not automatically solve these kinds of problems However, it does set into motion long term and deeply penetrating s tructural changes in the way things are valued in society Correlates of higher levels of educational attainment tend to be increased income and better health Increased involvement of African Americans and Hispanics in higher education saves
more individuals from becoming negative statistics, and places more concerned individuals in positions from which they can make positive changes 20 Minorities benefit greatly from their increased involvement in higher education and higher education is aided by their presence The continuing struggle for increased representation is fought by many who understand the importance of maintaining a diversified student body in higher education. The Importance of Diversity in the Mission of Higher Education In his book, The Good Society, Robert Bellah speaks of the university becoming a "community of interpreters." This community not one blindly dedicated to disseminating particular e mpiricisms, acknowledges that it is vital for institutions of higher education to install a se nse of order in its st udents concerning our "uniquely modern form of culture and society (Bellah 1991 : 173). Bellah goes on to write," It should be obvious that learning is never the result of the efforts of isolated, competitive individuals alone, and that th e evident weakness in American sc hools has much to do with the weakening of their community context (Bellah 1991 : 172) ." To Bellah, the ideal for the university is to be a community of interpreters or inquirer s who exist to ge ther in a "learning community This community emphasizes the cooperative and interactive nature of learning and makes the development of individual skills including skills for quality citizenship, the responsibility of the community as a whole (Bellah 1 991: 172) To Bellah ( 1991 ) the sickness of American individualism ha s replaced the mission of preparation for responsible citizenship that was embedded in college mis s ions
21 and their mainstream practices. In speaking about the mission of the university, John Hannah, then pre s ident of Michigan State University, said in 1944 "The first and never forgotten objective must be that every human product of our educational system must be given that training that will enable him to be fully willing to assume his responsibilities in a great democracy" (Boyte and Kari 1996 : 3 ) The problem in higher education as expounded by Christopher Lucas in his book American Higher Education, lies within how we, the American public have transformed the very structure and mission of the university In his view, the change in the educational s tructure in response to the demands of the marketplace has led to the "killing of the spirit" of higher education in America (Lucas 1994 : 277). Lucas sums his feelings about the dulling of the finer points of the university in this quote: Corrupted by populism professionalism and assembly-line scholarship univ e r s itie s had allegedly given themselve s over to turning s tudents to s pecialized professional careers as quickly as possible Having abandoned their integrity to marketplace flax and flaw, such institutions have lost the will to insist upon an intellectual coherence or unity in their vast offerings (Lucas 1994 : 268) Lucas explains that we have caused universitie s to adapt to fulfilling the utilitarian individualistic needs for technical competency and not the fundamental civic needs of people (Lucas 1994:288) According to Lucas older style colleges afforded time and s pace for intellectual transactions between professors and students and took serious the challenge to shape and inform character, and to engage questions of normative judgement and standards (L uca s 1994 : 288) Great sc hools were attended not so much for the knowledge, but for the habits and new intellectual posture and critical thinking skills that they instilled in their
22 students (Lucas 1994 : 299). Of course, a return to educational methods of the nineteenth century would be hard given all the technological differences and demands between then and now. But they are worth examining in searching for a way to integrate the spirit of community that existed then, into modem educational institutions. Chester Finn's statement (partially quoted in the introduction but quoted in full here) exposes the importance of an educational system for our society: All Americans ... would benefit from an education system that produced informed citizens. Education isn't just a service we obtain for our own daughters and sons and grandchildren It is a public good, after defense perhaps our most important form of common provision and, in a sense, itself a defense against the ills that plague us at home It has incalculable influence on the quality of social relationships, the vitality of our culture, the strength of our economy, the comfort we feel in our communities, and the wisdom of our government decisions. The better our education system, the better our public and private lives become (Bennett 1994 : 98) From this discussion of various insights on the mission of higher education one can see that those with a constitutive view in regards to higher education see its purpo s e more as the creation and refinement of individuals ready for responsible infonned citizenship On the other hand, hard instrumentalists would view the unjversity simply as a channel to prepare people for the marketplace A simple look at the past provides argument for the necessity of a diverse cadre of thinkers in academia. Lee D. Baker ( 1998 : 4) writes Entry into the fields of law and science before World War II was difficult and almost exclusively limited to male members of America s elite. Those who obtained degrees that gave them authority to challenge the prevailing scientific and legal arguments on race were mostly African American and White (often Jewish) men; Native American, Japanese American, Latino and Chinese American men, as well as women face almo s t insunnountable barriers to these fields
23 In this time when white men virtually ruled academia, the academy was swarming with new theories and explanations as to the inferiority of other peoples especially African Americans This fury of one-sided, sparsely challenged theory laid the foundation for and led to, the eugenics movement, which climaxed in the Jewish Holocaust. I have not heard yet heard of an African American or any other minority with a Ph.D who has taken it upon themselves to research the validity of their own humanity Perhaps if there had been more diversity in the academy before WWII, the development of these kinds of damaging and outlandish theories would have been quickly discredited and not allowed to prosper and spread into popular rhetoric with such damaging effects Bellah's (1991) community of interpreters" is not only a statement against individualism. Upon further thought, it is also a statement against monolithic interpretation A homogenous set of individuals with the same investments in privilege based upon their physical and cultural likeness, does not constitute this community Instead, it has proven to be a breeding ground for maladies such as fascism, clas s ism s exism and racism Racism is one of the ills that plagues American society, and it is an ill that proper education can defend us against. Affirmative action is a spectrum of tools that was created to ensure the educational s ystem s ability to do this. If higher education is to be a place for members of society to be molded into tomorrow's leaders, steps should be taken to ensure diversity in higher education so that: 1) the class-based hierarchy of society is not plagued by a damaging segregation of color and 2) students making up the community of interpreters" can have the ability to learn and s hare with a diverse
24 population of individuals so that various viewpoints are heard The debates in our sc hools and court rooms on affirmative action are the present-day battlegrounds of the continuing fight to achieve higher minority representation in higher education The Problem" of Affirmative Action When convening a meeting of carefully selected scholars who were chosen to serve on the White House Review of Affirmative Action, President Clinton said, after reading various materials available on the subject, "most of these people don't know what the hell they're talking about (Edley 1996: 16) Unfortunately this is often the case where the s ubject of affirmative action is being discussed It is such a hot topic and so widely debated that the mere mention of affirmative action stirs emotion on both sides of the i ss ue Ideological biases and plain racism that underpin many of the arguments about affirmative action tend to stir more emotional landslides of rhetoric and sarcasm than actual informed debate The breadth of the topic is another reason why many are unable to grasp the subject of affirmative action and instead opt for easy emotional platitudes Affirmati ve action is debated in areas as diverse as education, public administration, and private industry But all ofthese are different arenas with different twists on the affirmative action debate Perhaps the best definition thus far for the broad concept of affirmative action is that given by Harvard law professor Christopher Edley who writes, Affirmative Action is any effort taken to expand the opportunity for women or racial, ethnic and national origin minorities by using membership in those groups that have been subject to
25 discrimination as a consideration [in decision making or allocation of resources]" (Ed ley 1996 : 16-17) Edley goes on to write that affirmative action is "not a single tool but a family of tools intended to create opportunity for its beneficiaries" (Edley 1996 : 17) In their writing about affirmative action, Lukes and Campodonico write, "Affirmative action is based on the idea that certain individuals have been historically disabled and that at least for the short term, the achievements of those individuals s hould be considered of higher merit regardless of the market's reluctance to ratify that judgment" (Lukes and Campodonico 1996 : 223-4 ). These two definitions both point to the fact that at the heart of affirmative action strict merit is set aside to include factors that indicate the backgrounds and struggles of particular indi v iduals Within this lies a moral question This question is "do the end s jus tify the m eans?" (Ed f ey 1996 : 15). Affirmative action is a means to a chieve the de s ired end of a more equalized society It is a mean s of reconciliation with a pa s t s meared with racial contempt. It recognizes that history of contempt, sees it as wron g and s e e k s to correct and nullify its effects through the distribution of diverse human bein g s throughout all echelons of society. Affirmative action takes into acc01mt that the subjugation and disenfranchisement of blacks throughout American history ha s creat e d a current s ituation where whites have a mean net worth all a ss ets minus debts of appro x imately seventy-three thousand dollars more than black s (Edley 1996 : 45) It i s recognized that affirmative action does have its moral cost. Some individual s, who would have gained access otherwise-usually white men will not in order for affirmative action to work. Tho s e unwilling to pay this co s t have long argu e d :
(1) that it unfairly discriminates against innocent whites because of their race; (2) that it compromises many good meritocratic standards; (3) that it benefits many groups and individuals that are not sufficiently disadvantaged; (4) that it stigmatizes its purported beneficiaries; and (5) that using race to distribute benefits deepens racial divisions and entrenches racial ways of thinking, instead of moving us toward a more colorblind and united society (Edley 1996 : 77) Those willing to pay the cost argue that affinnative action is: ( 1) a corrective for the continuing effects of past discrimination ; (2) a prophylactic against future acts of discrimination ; and (3) a way to promote diversity provide role models ... develop competitive advantages in a demographically changing labor market. .. Colorblindness it is said, either won't achieve the appropriate degree of minority inclusion or will take too long to achieve it (Edley 1996 : 77) 26 These points are the basic parameters of the affirmative action debate and why it is so important. It does not help the clarity of the debate that in making their argument, both sides employ the same language of ensuring equal opportunity and access Given the complexity of the topic, an understanding of affinnative action cannot be left to popular rhetoric Development of Affirmative Action The institution of slavery was the primary reason for the presence of so many African Americans in this country. Most agree that slavery was unjust and cruel and should be condemned. But slavery ended over one hundred years ago. In that time this country's population has swelled with many new immigrants who are not de s cendants of slave holders and do not feel that they should have to put any of their rights aside to make exceptions for hi s torically disadvantaged groups particularly African Americans If slavery were the only issue and if a true equality had ex isted since the end of slavery, they would have a point, but then this whole debate would not even be an issue.
27 After slavery, blacks were making relatively fast gains in all walks of lifepolitics, education, business But these gains were quickly taken away through the "Great Compromise" between Presidents Hayes and Tilden They were rolled back even further with the Civil Rights Cases of 1883 that nullified earlier gains of Civil Rights Acts and Laws of 1866, 1870 1871, and 1875all of which sought to eradicate discrimination against African Americans (Loevy 1997 : 3-4). In an attempt to win back some rights for African Americans Homer Adolph Plessy unsuccessfully contested segregation on railroad sleeping cars This resulted in the famous Supreme Court decision known as Plessy vs Ferguson 1896 which kept segregation legal, and went on to institute "separate but equal," otherwise know as "Jim Crow ." The passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act made racial discrimination in employment illegal. With President Lyndon Johnson's urging, and executive order 11246 (Wilson 1994 : 196), agencies and institutions receiving government funding began to take affirmative action in order to hire and educate more women and minorities ( Loevy I 997 : 346). In 1969 President Richard Nixon incorporated goal and timetable guidelines for companies to follow in order to encourage more compliance with affirmative action And during President Ford's term, affirmative action was extended to people with di s abilities and to Vietnam veterans. President Carter created the Office of Federal Contract Programs in order to ensure compliance with affirmative action But throughout the Reagan and Bush years enthusiasm and compliance with affirmative action decreased (Thomas 1990 :21 )
28 In higher education, measures were also being taken to ensure the increased entry of women and minorities In some cases quotas were being used to ensure that minorities would gain entry, and some of this entry was at the expense of white male candidates who would have otherwise gained access. This setting laid the ground for one of the most famous anti-affirmative action cases : Regents of the University of California v Bakke For two consecutive years Allan Bakke, a white male applicant, did not get accepted to the University of California Medical School at Davis. He brought a suit against the school claiming that the sixteen out of one hundred slots in each class saved for minorities prevented him access to the school. In 1978 the Supreme court ruled against U.C. Davis saying that their affirmative action plan was illegal because it looked only at race and no other factor Thus, quotas were declared illegal but the use of race as a factor among others, was still permissible (Loevy 1997:347-8) The result of the Bakke decision has been the accepted mode of affirmative action since it was decided The context for the creation of affirmative action was a long time in the making Just as every other measure to ensure Civil Rights, affirmative action was also a struggle to create, and is increasingly a struggle to maintain Impact of Removing Affirmative Action From Higher Education In their article, Lukes and Campodonico ask the question of whether education is even the right target for those set against affirmative action In their argument they quote from a 1995 speech given by President Clinton who said, Most economists that study it agree that affirmative action has been an important part of closing gaps in
29 economic opportunity in our society, thereby strengthening the entire economy ... Companies are stronger and their profits larger because of the diversity and excellence of their work forces achieved through intelligent and fair affirmative action programs" (Lukes and Campodonico 1996:224). This argument is provoking but one can easily see where business and industry being more focused on short-term returns, are often against programs like affirmative action which are considered costly and controversial. However, education, in its true constitutive form, is not in quite the same ballpark as business and industry which seek the highe st immediate efficiency without regard to the context from which it arises Lukes and Campodonico write, "B ut the distance of the military and of education from the market allows some flexibility in defining merit. The existence of goals other than efficiency in the se secto r s allows them more latitude to provide allowances for conversion" (L uk es and Ca mpodonico 1996 : 224). They go on to write They can more effectively defend Pelagian merit, making room for students whose test scores might be a bit lower, but whose personal backgrounds demon s trate that it took more sacrifi ce s and fortitude to achieve tho se scores"(Lukes and Campodonico 1996 :2 25). But if race is not to be a factor that can legally be considered, test scores will become ever more important in the selection process although the tests themselves are shro uded \vith debates about their biases to certain groups Theodore Cross and Robert Bruce Slater write that at the twenty-five top undergraduate, graduate and professional schools black enrollment will drop as much as eighty percent if standardized tests become the determining factor for admission (Cross and Slater 1997 :8). As of 1997 the mean SAT sco re for blacks was 195 points below the
30 mean score for whites This means that a very small percentage of blacks are scoring in the highest percentiles that are necessary for enrollment in the country's leading schools (Cross and Slater 1997:8) Blacks, who only make up ten percent of the over one million students taking the SAT, make up 1.7% of the verbal scores over 700 and only 1% of the math scores over 700. These 1 and 1. 7 percentages are out of the 62,517 students nationwide with scores above 700 who are competing for approximately 50,000 places for first-year students at the nation's highest-ranked universities There are literally almost 100 non-black students for every one black student with these high scores. This would take the percentage of blacks who are admitted into the 50,000 first-year slots at the twenty-five highest-ranked universities, which are expected to produce our future leaders, from the mere six percent that it is now, to two percent or less (Cross and Slater 1997 : 10-11) Though the impact would be most severe at the nation's leading law and medical schools, one can see that all institutions of higher learning would be similarly affected Blacks would simply be crowded out of the university and relegated once again to the lower class of America-in larger proportions. There would be no consideration of the e ducational background from which most African Americans have to overcome in order to access higher education Disparities between inner city schools and those in middle clas s suburbs are often appalling and this is a factor which should not be ignored when judging the merits of their achievements against those from other backgrounds The recent decision in the case of Hopwood, et al. v The State ofTexas and passage of the so-called California Civil Rights Initiative, proposition 209 which banned
31 the use of race as a factor in admission procedures, are already having disastrous effects on black enrollment at schools in those states. At the University of California-Berkeley Law school, out of an incoming class of 792, there are only fourteen blacks At UCLA's law school the number of black students in the incoming class dropped eighty percent from that of last year (Roach 1997: 17) And at the University of Texas, there are three blacks in the first year class as opposed to sixty-five last year. Both California and Texas have seen not only decline in black student enrollment and acceptance, they have also seen declines in applications from black students (Cross, et al. 1997:71 ). This is partially due to students perceptions of the hostile environment to which they are applying. Opponents of Affirmative Action in Education To tackle segregation in education, Charles Houston and Thurgood Marshall along with a host of lawyers and support from the NAACP, chose cases very carefully that they thought they could win. They chose the most flagrantly unjust scenarios and the individuals they thought would woo the most sy mpathy as clients Their first victories were in cases of law and medical schools. Then they set up an array of these cases to try -each one building upon the other. Thi s strategy led to the eventual Brown v. Board case which is now so famously known. Unfortunately opponents of affirmative action s eem to be using the same s trategy. A major antagonist in the plot to destroy affirmative action is the Center for Individual Rights based in Washington D.C. It was they who were behind the Hopwood v. State of Texas case and it is they who are behind several other cases around the country that are challenging affirmative action in higher education They also pick and
32 choose their cases very carefully and choose lead plaintiffs who will gather the most support usually white women (Diaz 1997 : 15). The Center for Individual Rights gets its funding from wealthy con s ervative foundations Its founders, Dr. Michael Greve-a German citizen (Diaz 1997 : 18)and Michael McDonald see their organization as focusing on free speech, sexual harassment, and civil rights (Diaz 1997 : 17). B ut apparently their vision of Civil Rights is their hottest iss ue at the moment. They al s o rely upon the "willingness of high priced lawyer s at some ofthe nation's most elite law firms to provide fre e legal assistance (Diaz 1997 : 19). Currently the Center for Individual Rights has at lea s t eight lawsuits concernin g affirmative action, and five of these concern affirmative action in higher education (CIR 1 9 97 : 1-5) Their most ardent financial support comes from the Smith Richardson Olin Cartha g e a nd Bradley Foundations Other Foundation s that g ive generou sl y to the Ce nter for Individual Ri ghts are the Randolph Gilder Donner Kirby Dunn s and Scaife Family Foundations (Diaz 1997 : 20) Most if not all of these, are linked with very conservative American political views. Other o rgani= ati o ns and individual s Other organizations allied to the Center for Individual Rights anti-race prefe rence view include ( 1) the American Enterprise Ins titute known for out s poken c ritic s of affirmative action s uch as C harles Murray co-author of The B e ll Curve, and Dinesh D'souza, author of The End o f Ra c i s m (AEI 1997:5) ; (2) the Center for Equal O pportunity whose president Linda Chavez i s an out s poken opponent of a f firmative
..,.., .).) action, and other affiliated conservatives such as Harvard Law Professor Randall Kennedy and Daniel J. Boorstin, Library of Congress Emeritus ; (3) the American Conservative Union ; (4) the Federalist Society, (5) and the Heritage Foundation-to name a few (E-mail addresses given in references cited). Other opponents of racial preferences, who happen to be black, are noted political writers such as Thomas Sowell and Shelby Steele-whose conservative views, mixed with their color, have only served to make them even more noteworthy by certain sectors of society (ie Organizations listed above). Many of these critics of affirmative action such as Allan Bloom, Dinesh D' Souza, Arthur Schlesinger, and Richard Bernstein feel that today's system of higher education has become "too tolerant of the views and interests of African Americans and other people of color" (Feagin Vera, and Imani 1996 : 2). These authors would have one believe that racism is not an important barrier in higher education Instead, they point to problems within the black community to explain lack of black advancement in education and ignore or down-play widespread reports of racism on university and college campuses (Feagin, Vera, and Imani 1996 : 4-5). These opponents of the consideration of race for admission to higher education use the language of individual rights and equal opportunity which is very close to that employed by those advocating for affirmative action The Home Page of the Center for Equal Opportunity states: America remains deeply divided by race. Despite sweeping gains over the last 40 year the end of public school segregation broadened opportunities in the workplace and voting booth, the measurable decline of racism -the rift between blacks and whites in many ways has widened
rather than closed ... As the only think tank devoted exclusively to the promotion of colorblind equal opportunity and rac ial harmony, the Center for Equal Opportunity is uniquely positioned to counter preferences, immigration and assimilation, and multicultural education (CEO 1998:1 ) 34 This type of language sounds akin to something Dr. Martin Luther King would say But sharp analyses of what is meant, and its ramifications, are necessary The language employed by those against racial prefer e nces has more than likely confused those who would be supportive if they knew all of the facts and immediate and long term ramifications Using thi s type of language also makes it more difficult for individuals who want to proclaim sup port for affirmative action, but have fear of being labeled as being against equal rights. Possible Co mpr o mises Alternatives to race-based affirmative action in college admissions have always been on the table but are now being considered more than ever. Two of these are classbased" affirmative action and a broadening of the term diver sity In a recent article in the Journa l of Policy Analysis and Management, Maria Cancian ( 1998) undertake s a study of rac e-base d versus class-based affirmative action programs. A common conception is that both of these forms of affirmative action will achieve the same desired end of more racial diversity in higher education. Her conclusions however contradict this assumption. Many are more willing to support the "more politically palatable" idea of class-based versus race-based preference However, jus t as the popular belief that an overwhelming majority of food stamp recip ients are black is wrong the large number of recipients under a class-based polic y would not be of an e thnic minority (Cancian 1998 : 104 ).
35 In his article in the Journal "Change," Samuel Myers talks about the harm that the broadening of the race-based affirmative action to include more kinds of diversity can do to the original goals of affirmative action. He writes, "Diversity now includes everything from sexual orientation to disability status" (Myers, 1997:27). This is getting away from the original goal of affirmative action which is responding to a legacy of racism that yielded a divided America: the color line between blacks and whites was that divide (Myers 1997:27) One prominent economics department that Myers writes of represents itself as one of the most diverse economics departments in the nation though it has not graduated a single African American Ph D since 1958. Instead it has an impressive lis t of Asian, Hispanic, African, and Middle Eastern graduates (Myers 1997 : 27) Thus, classba s ed policies and diversity are two examples of" politically palatable" terms that sound good, but actually nullify the goals of those who lobbied for and created affirmative action Another alternative argued by black conservatives, such as Shelby Steele ( 1990), calls for the rejection of affirmative action and implementation of serious effort s aimed at improving the educational performance of minorities in earlier stages of education Steele ( 1990 : 124) writes, But I think the unkindest cut is to bestow on children like my own an undeserved advantage while neglecting the development of those disadvantaged children on the East Side of my city who likely will never be in a position to benefit from a preference. Give my children fairness, give disadvantaged children a better shot at development better elementary and secondary schools, job training, safer neighborhoods better financial assistance for college, and so on.
36 The improvement of all stages of education for disadvantaged groups is important, and early education should be more heavily prioritized. But doing that does not mean that what is being done now should be thrown out. Steele (1990) seems to dismiss the fact that the political climate of cutting social funding will make it hard to achieve the kind of progress about which he is writing And that these improvements can not be held off as a promise, but must be in full swing before the affirmative action that so many fought so hard for, is let go Finally, affirmative action is presently in the process of creating a cadre of individuals who will be able to go into disadvantaged communities and help to institute the kinds of changes that Steele (1990) argues are needed African Americans with degrees will arguably feel a much stronger sense of concern, duty and connection to poor, inner city neighborhoods and schools than their white counterparts Factors Affecting Retention, and Achievement B efore College There are many obstacles for minority students to overcome as far as problem s in e lementary and secondary schooling is concerned, to get to the point of participation in higher education James Loewen ( 1995) sums up life and educational differences between the rich and the poor : Rich babies come out healthier than poor babies The infants go home to very different situations. Poor babies are more likely to have high levels of poisonous lead in their environments and their bodies Rich babies get more time and verbal interaction with their parents and higher quality day care when not with their parents When they enter kindergarten, and
through the twelve years that follow, rich children benefit from suburban schools that spend two to three times as much money per student as schools in inner cities or impoverished rural areas Poor children are taught in classes that are often 50 percent larger than the classes of affluent children. Differences such as these help account for the higher school-dropout rate among poor children (Loewen 1995: 198). 37 This statement is rather summary but it hits the point that poor, inner city children do not have the same chances as middle-class suburban children. But it is not to be assumed that all minorities in higher education come from a poor, inner city environment. Therefore there are other factors besides economic status which provide obstacles to academic achievement for minority students. Some minority students are misunderstood and mis-diagnosed by teachers as having "educational handicaps" (Ogbu 1993 :90). And some others get caught up in their own perceived barriers to their educational advancement which is many times no fault of their own, but an unquestioned acceptance of societal stereotypes and ideology. Other students fall into the gap of feeling that assimilation to the dominant society and culture is a prerequisite to educational achievement, and instead resist by not prioritizing school (Fordham 1996: 11, Erickson 1987). The sentiment here is that minorities take an oppositional stance towards education. This is true in some cases but must be understood as a reaction, whether consciously or not, to a society that historically set up its educational system in opposition to minorities Those who have proven themselves to the point of being admitted in higher education certainly deserve respect for who they are as students, and the context of their education.
38 Racism on Campus Feagin, Vera and Imani (1996) define "white-on-black" racism as "the socially organized set of principles that deny African Americans the dignity, opportunities, spaces, time, positions, and rewards this nation offers to white Americans." They go on to write, "What we call racism encompasses subtle and overt discriminatory practices, their institutional contexts, and the attitudes and ideologies that shape or rationalize them" (Feagin, Vera and Imani 1996 : 1 0 ). Institutions of higher learning have been desegregated for over thirty years, but the climate of predominantly white institutions is still not welcoming to African American students (Feagin, Vera and Imani 1996: 160). This is due to racism that still permeates our society and our system of higher education Allen ( 1991) writes, Historically, educational institutions and educators have been among the most active and effective instruments for the oppression ofblack people ." He goes on to explain that this history has caused Blacks to "adopt a self-consciously conflictual stance" vis-a-vis the U.S educational system (Allen 1991: 12) Allen (1991) pulls a relevant quote form Carter G Woodson's Miseducation of the. Negro to support his point: The same educational process which inspires the oppressor with the thought that he is everything and has accomplished everything worthwhile, depresses and crushes at the same time the spark of genius in the Negro by making him feel that his race does not amount to much and never will measure up to the standards of other people (Allen 1991: 12). Allen (1991) explains that education, viewed as a potential route to upward mobility," is an arena where society's racial tensions have been and are being played out (Allen 1991:12-13)
39 Since the time of Woodson s writing, circa 1933, racial discrimination in higher education has not disappeared It is not legally sanctioned but it is still entrenched in the curriculum, and in the psyche of a large number of individuals Feagin, Vera, and Imani ( 1996) write: The examples of discrimination on campus today include racist joking, the recurring use of raci s t epithets racist skits and floats by white fraternities, the neglect or rejection of black students goals and interests the mistreatment of black students by white professors and racial harassment by white police officers. Most damaging is the taking for granted by most white administrators faculty, staff, and students that the campus is a white place in which blacks are admitted at best, as guests (Fe agin, Vera, and Imani 1996 : 12) There is still an "ethnocentric dominance of theory and practice that exists in higher education" (Anderson 1989 : 32) Anderson ( 1989:32) explains that "Departmental curriculum and retention programs in fact the basic models of learning and achievement, derive from a very narrow white male perspective ". Anderson goes on to write "When students of color enroll at predominantly white college s and universities, they are expected to adapt to the milieu of that environment. In fact their capacity to adapt may significantly underscore their ability to achieve academically" (Anderson, 1989:32). What Anderson (1989) writes ties into Feagin, Vera, and Imani s finding from a stu dy at a Midwestern college which found that black students who were successful in sec ur i ng degrees in a reasonable time tended to be the most assimilated to white middle-class culture" ( Feagin, Vera and Imani 1996 : 150) Feagin Vera and Imani ( 1 9 96) explain that other minority students find that they have to wear a white mask
40 to be successful. But they warn that the dangers from wearing this "white mask" can run the gamut from frustration to suicide (Feagin Vera and Imani 1996:150) C ultural C apital Pierre Bourdieu writes, ... our educational institutions are structured to favour tho s e who already possess cultural capital in the form of the habitus of th e dominant cultural faction (Harker 1990:87). He goes on to explain : The culture of the elite is so near to that of the school that children from lower middle class .. can only a cquire with great effort something which is given to the children of the cultivated clas ses style, taste, wit in short thos e attitudes and aptitude s which seem natural in members of the cultivated classes and naturally e x pected of them precisel y because ( in the ethnological sense) they are the culture of that class ( Harker 1990 : 87). T his s tatement can also be applied to race where as the culture of the elite is compared to white Americans and "lower middle classes as minorities In Bourdieu's view, becaus e it is the "culture of the dominant group . which is embodied in the s chools" members of that group feel that an authoritative stance in the education a l fac ility i s their natural right (Hark e r 1990 : 87) In e x plaining his point further Bourdieu wr ite s that this type of educational s y stem : ... tran s forms social classificat i ons into academ i c cl a ssification s, with every appearance of neutrality and establishes hierarchies which are not experienced as purely t e chnical, and therefore partial and one-sided, but as total hierarchies grounded in nature so that social value comes to be id e ntified with the personal' value, scholastic dignities with human dignity. The 'culture' which an educational qualification is presumed to guarantee is one of the basic components in the dominant definition of the accomplished man, so that privation is perceived as an intrinsic handicap diminishing a person's identity and human dignity, condemning him to silence in all official situation, when he has to 'appear in public present himself before others, with his body, his manners and his language (Harker 1990 : 88).
41 Given the dissonance between the perceived acculturation necessary for academic success, and cultural differences of minorities, many individuals from non-dominant groups feel the need, and are often pressured, to make an effort to assimilate, and take on the necessary cultural capital in order to experience success (Harker, 1990: 88). This is particularly troubling for African Americans who because of their historic distance from majority white educational institutions, experience a certain amount of dequalification in the minds of others white students and academic authority figures simply by their appearanceno matter how many degrees are attained, or how language and mannerisms are altered. This type of conditioning leads white students, and some minority students, of higher education to question the merits of minorities without any reason other than that they appear out of place in what is perceived as a white environment. Also greatly affected is the comfort level minority students may have to simply exist in what is perceived by many as not being their space From university presidents, department heads, professors and students to campus activities landmarks monuments, and dormitory names (and in the case of the University of Mississippi-flags and mascots) this idea of being out of place is reinforced for the minority student. At times this feeling of being out of place may be an issue of class more than race, and it can be very hard to distinguish between the two Also, it is often difficult to know if offensive attitudes are predicated upon racial ideology or simply a matter of incongruent personalities. But, all too often, there is no question.
42 Among studies cited by Ross ( 1998) is "Comparative and Predictive Analysis of Black and White College Achievement and Experiences," by Nettles Theony and Gosman ( 1986). This study found that "students need to feel comfortable in environment, both academically and socially; they need to perceive the college as nondiscriminatory; and they need to feel academically integrated" (Ross 1998 : 9). These may be necessities for minority students to perform their best, but quoting from Allen ( 1992 : 39), Ross writes that instead of being comfortable, black students express feelings of "alienation, sensed hostility racial discrimination, and lack of integration" (Ross 1998:1 0). Allen ( 1992:39) goes on to write that black students, "like most human beings develop best in environments where they feel valued, protected, accepted, and socially connected. Feagin, Vera, and Imani (1996) report that black students in white colleges repeatedly describe their environments as "white, hostile, alien, and the like" (Feagin, Vera, and Imani 1996: 16 ) Mentoring In her work entitled Success Factors of Young African-American Males at a Historically Black College, Marilyn J. Ross quotes Thoreau in writing, People will be what they see" (Ross 1998 : 7). Ross also takes quotes from Taylor (1989) who \vrote an article entitled "Black Youth, Role Models, and the Social Construction of Identity.'' Taylor found that adolescents basically shop" around for individuals to emulate (Taylor 1989 : 158). Just as the adolescent stage is a critical time for individual identity formation, college is also The university experience is where individuals ideally are supposed to wake up, find themselves, and become critical thinkers.
43 Ross points to Steel ( 1991) "Mentoring : An Effective Tool for Retention of Minorities" who found "a positive relationship between the numbers of black faculty at predominantly white institutions and recruitment, admissions, and graduation rates of black students (Ross 1998 : 7) She then cites Weber's ( 1992 :22) interview with Jacqueline Flemming who said, When students can plug into someone who encourages them this interaction can be an important part of the college experience and a source of inspiration ... Mentoring has also been associated with higher grade point averages" (Ross 1998 : 8) These two examples support mentoring as an effective strategy to increase the academic achievements of minority students. Willie Grady and Hope (1991) also write ofthe value ofmentoring for minority s tudents though they agree mentoring for minorities is in need of much study. They point to Levinson (1978) who wrote that a mentor s function is to sponsor, guide and provide counsel and support to their proteges (Willie, Grady and Hope 1991 :67) Willie, Grady and Hope agree that mentoring is essential to help African American scholars through periods of doubt and indecision." They also write that beyond e ncouragement, mentors: 1) provide a link of trust between individuals and institutions"; and 2) help in insisting that rules regulations, and procedures are applied fairly and that the full participation of proteges in complex institutional systems is not impeded in any way" (Willie, Grady and Hope 1991 : 67-68) Willie Grady and Hope ( 1991) write that a cornerstone of the mentor-protege is trust and understanding, and that this is more likely to occur for African American students with African American mentors But they also explain that mentors do not
44 necessarily have to be of the same race, with the example of John Hope Franklin who s e white mentor encouraged him to g o to Harvard (Willie Grady and Hope 1991 : 7 2 ) With the shortage of African American faculty race should not be an exclu s ive factor in choosing mentor relationships Besides faculty-student mentoring, Ross ( 1998) recommends that student s g et involved in peer mentoring This can be college juniors and sen i ors upper cla ss colle g e fre s hman or college students mentoring younger students in the community ( Ro s s 1998 : 68) This type of mentoring will hopefully tie students into s upportive a nd academically encouraging networks The Minorily Stud e nt Achi e v e r In an interview conducted by Jerry Weber in 199 2, Jacquelin e author of Bla c k s i n College, stated : For Black students however th e development proce ss i s t oo ofte n overshadowed by the is s ue of race Race becomes a complicating factor that takes precedence over nonnal development. So i t is as thou g h t he attention and strains of racial issue s con s ume a much larger portion s of their energy, and it leads me to conclude that African American stud e nt s don t have the luxury of concentrating only on nonnal developmental iss ues (Weber 1 992 : 22) Thi s view is supported through r es earch done b y Steward, et al. ( 1990 ) which s h ows tha t for the ge neral population man y rese archers hav e pointed out that s tud ent s u c c ess po s itively correlated with the de gr ee of integration into the academic and soci a l sys t e m of th e university (Steward et al. 1990 : 515 ) But in the case of A f rican Am eric an s tudent s, those who are succe s sful at PWis tend to be loners" ... the se s tud e nt s see m e d to b e se l e ctive in choosing thos e individua l s from whom th ey actu ally w ante d any
inclusion or affection" (Steward, et al. 1990 : 514 ) Fleming goes on to explain : Two observational studies one by Rubovitz and Maehr ( 1977) and another by Trujillo ( 1986), found that majority teachers paid less attention to black students by giving them less praise and more criticism or by ignoring them. The brighter the black student, the more that student was ignored Yet these teachers insisted that they did not treat black students differently (Weber 1992:21 ) Given the lack of encouragement and apparent neglect from many teachers, and a barrier of not being totally integrated into the "academic and social system of the 45 university", it would seem that achievement among minority students would be elusive Steward, et al. ( 1990) asked African American students how they were able to cope in the university system and keep themselves motivated. Findings showed that "students said they deliberately and constantly reminded themselves that they were there only to receive a degree and make the necessary professional contact s to assist in future career endeavors" (S teward et al. 1990 : 514) With millions of minority students in higher education, there are se veral ways that individual students cope but students should be aware of some factors that may influence their matriculation One such factor that students should be aware of is a recent re se arch finding by Claude Steele's, wh i ch he has developed into his Stereotype Vulnerability" theory : Highly talented black students are confronted by racial stereotypes that cause them to fear that despite their previous academic achievements, they will do badly, and this fear undermines their performance Such vulnerabilities are sometimes reinforced in stressful situations particularly in examinations in which individuals are reminded of their group affiliation (Bowen and Bok, et al. 1998 : 81}
46 The evidence of this theory is exhibited in laboratory tests which show that when black students are given aptitude tests but assured that the test results will not be used to measure their ability, their performance no longer falls below that of whites (Bowen and Bok et al. 1998 : 81) This research helps account for the tendency of minority students to perform lower on standardized tests given that other factors, such as grading, are equal. Econ o mi c Status and C ivic Involvement From 1960 to 1990, blacks almost doubled their share of the nation's physicians and almost tripled their share of attorneys and engineers From 1965 to 1995 blacks representation in Congress increased from four to 41 members, and the total number of black elected officials rose from a scant 280 in 1965 to 7,984 in 1993 The proportion ofblacks earning more than $50 ,000 a year rose from 5 8 percent in 1967 to 13 percent in 1992 (Bowen and Bok, et al. 1998 : 10-11 ) The quote above is take from data collected in the Bowen-Bok study of affirmative action in higher education published in the recent book, The Shap e of The Riv e r This data shows how increased participation has improved the state of the African American community in America. But the situation in America is still such that: 1) the median Black family income is 59 percent of the median white family income"; 2) "the median net _worth of Black families is one tenth of the median net worth of white families"; and 3 ) middle class white families have 113 times the financial assets as middle-class black families" (Cross et al. 1998 : 96) A finding of the Bowen-Bok study is that the earning of advanced degrees is highly correlated with civic involvement and leadership. Data further revealed that African Americans with advanced degrees were much more likely than their white
47 classmates to have taken on leadership positions in virtually every type of endeavor" (Bowen and Bok, et al. 1998 : 167-8) This data is even more interesting when juxtaposed with data showing that successful African American students in higher education tend to be loners while in school. It would seem that while not participating fully in campus life ofPWI's, many Black students acknowledge a responsibility to their community and what their education can mean for its development. Given the critical condition of the civic structure and family life of Black America, a population African Americans who have the ability to take on civic leadership, and have shown responsivene s s to do so is important to develop. Programs for Minority Achievem e nt After researching and comparing various programs for minority achievement Bowen and Bok et al. ( 1998) found that: Successful programs typically combine all or most of several features [ 1] They encourage participants to work in groups, where students can help one another and provide mutual support  They offer appropriate advising and counseling  They often assign students to succe s sful minority professionals, who act as mentors [ 4] They create an aura of high expectations, with empha?is. on meeting intellectual challen g es rather than receiving remediation to achieve a minimum standard  They provide Summer internships to broaden student experience  They offer enough financial aid to remove the risk of students having to work excessively to support themselves or even drop out for lack of funds (7] Some programs involve parents and keep them continuously infonned s o that they can lend psychological support and encouragement to their children (Bowen and Bok, et al. 1998 : 87). Some of the programs compared are the 21st Century Program at the University of Michigan The Mellon Minority Undergraduate Fellowship Program the Minority Engineering Program at the University of Colorado at Boulder and the M e yerhoff
48 Program at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. These programs boast higher than average university graduation rates for their minority students One of the most impressive of the Programs is the Mellon Minority Undergraduate Fellowship Program (M:MUF) which is located in ten prestigious schools. This Program, similar in goals to the McNair Program, is "designed to encourage able minority students (generally chosen during the Sophomore year) to consider Studying for a Doctorate." And, just like the McNair Program, it is "structured to provide consistent faculty advice and support, as well as practical experience in writing and doing research" (Bowen and Bok, et al. 1998 : 86-7) What makes the MMUF so impressive is that while its students in the 1989 cohort had an average SAT score of 1168 versus an average SAT of 1304 in the total 1989 cohort u sed in the Bowen-Bok study, M:MUF students had a 100% graduation rate (Bowen and Bok, et al. 1998 : 86-7). Students who participated in the program credited the academic support functions of the program, and its efforts to make them feel at home within their in st itution (Bowen and Bok, et al. 1998 : 87) Summary In this review of literature I have attempted to collect a wide variety of relevant material in order to provide a context of minoritie s, particularly African American s, in U.S Higher Education. Specifics of matriculation such as s tudent perception s and difficulties, need to be understood as well as the political social and economic contexts Students in the Jenkins and McNair Programs at USF do not exist in a vacuum They are affected in varying degrees, by the national debates on Affirmative Action and the attitudes this creates on campus. They share s imilar anxieties and frustrations not onl y
49 with each other, but with minority students on campuses all across America In a sense they represent a microcosm of a much larger spectrum And each microcosm in this spectrum is different, but can not be correctly understood totally outside of the spectrum as an isolated entity The spectrum here is minorities in U.S. Higher Education The microcosm is minorities matriculating at USF and the exact pinpointed cases for stud y are the McNair and Jenkins Scholar Programs In the next chapter I explore the structure of the McNair and Jenkins Programs at USF and how these programs are organized to counter obstacles that minority students tend to fa c e The literature reviewed in this chapter has revealed that minority students tend to have larger obstacles in terms of pre-college preparation due to financial status, a non-inclusive curriculum and un-involved faculty It has been shown that these problems of financial status a non-inclusive curriculum, and un-involved faculty are also factors at the level of higher education, and that minority students tend to undergo isolation and a lack of positive mentoring at predominantly white universities The literature has also revealed that racism both in the form of harassment and subtle practices also can serve to be a negative factor in student motivation. The McNair and Jenkins Programs are structured in a way that takes these, and other factors into account and provides a nurturing, affirming base for the s tudents in the s e programs
50 Ill. INTERNSHIP SE I I lNG The University of South Florida This internship was conducted on the main campus of the University of South Florida (USF), located in Tampa, Florida. Other campuses in Sarasota, St. Petersburg, and Lakeland, Florida allow USF to serve most of the educational needs of at least three million people living in commuting distance to one ore more of the campus. In its web page, USF boasts, "our 160 000 graduates, most of whom remain close provide the West Florida region with a well-educated solidly prepared workforce that plays a critical role in the area's economic development and well-being" (IRP 1998:history). With over thirty-four thousand students, over twenty three thousand of whom are undergraduate students, USF is the thirteenth largest university in the United States (IRP 1998:enrollment). According to the latest U.S. News and World Report on America s Best Colleges, USF is considered a fourth tier research university With an acceptance rate of sixty percent and a Freshman retention rate of seventy-six percent, USF shows a strong commitment to its students (U. S. News 1998 : 40) Minority student enrollment at the University of South Florida is 26.3 % This is more than a 100% increase since 1983 but just 3% over the national average ( IRP 1997:2). Of the 23.6% minority students at USF, African Americans make up I 0 2 % of USF s undergraduate student population. This compares to 3.6 % in 1983. The lat es t
51 data reported in the USF Institutional Research and Planning Analytical Report 9709 1 shows that in 1995 the percentage of African Americans in U .S. four year colleges was 9.8% In 1995 USF had 7 .7% African American students (IRP 1997 : 5-6) These figures show that USF has been generally lagging slightly behind the national averages in regard to representation of African American students on campus. But one can also see that USF has been working over the last fifteen years to close the gap between representation within its student population and the national average USF has also shown an interest in recruiting minority faculty At the Tampa campus, as of Fall 1997 there were seventy-six African American, and fifty-one Hispanic out of 1 352 full-time instructional faculty And out 455 full-time instructional faculty with the rank of Professor only seven (1.5%) are African American. (IRP 1998 : fac ulty). Thes e number show that there is a need not only to recruit minority faculty but to mentor their progress through the ranks One reason this is important is so that minority students have role models and mentors It is also important to change the image of the university as being a white dominated atmosphere in all levels of academic authority Increasin g !vfino rity E nr o llm e nt The increase in the African American student population at USF coincides with the implementation of programs to help in the recruitment retention and achie v ement of African American students. Programs like these found at USF are Student Support Services (SSS) the Personal Excellence Program (PEP), Project Thrust Black Scholar s, the Minority Engineering Program (MEP) and Upward Bound
52 Student Support Services is a federally funded program (one of the TRIO programsUpward Bound, SSS, and McNair) that recruits and provides student support for underrepresented, low-income and first-generation college students. The program has been at USF for approximately nineteen years and is responsible for some of the increase in representation of African American students on USF's campus The students are monitored for their first two years of college in order to help them in the adjustment to college from high school. Over the last three years, the program has maintained a retention rate above 80% (Holmes 1994 :9). This is a remarkable achievement given that many of the students in the program would not otherwise have been expected to be able to compete on the college level due to below average high school grades and SAT scores The Personal Excellence Program and Project Thrust are state funded support programs for African American students. Both are for students who are not participants in SSS The Personal Excellence Program is solely for Freshmen and has maintained an average retention rate of 80% since its inception Project Thrust is for African American students who have declared a major. This program gives support to students by providing tutorial services The Black Scholars Program is a program under the auspices of Project Thrust. "The Black Scholars Program monitors the academic performance of students from their freshman year until their graduation" and gives a monetary award each semester to students who maintain qualifications (Holmes 1994 : I 0-11 ). Other programs are the Minority Engineering Program (MEP) and Upward Bound MeP monitors minority students in Engineering from their freshman to their senior year. About a third of them are African Americans Upward Bound is another
53 federally funded program and has been at USF for twenty-nine years "Upward Bound provides a quality pool of academically strong graduating high school seniors who usually enter USF's SSS program ... Upward Bound students who participate in USF's SSS program usually represent the majority of the higher achieving students" (Holmes 1994 : 11) The three federally funded programs, the McNair Program Student Support Services, and Upward Bound, are know as the TRIO programs They are designed so that one serves as a feeder for the next. Students who do well in Upward Bound as high school seniors are good candidates to be SSS participants in their first two years of college And students who do well in SSS are good candidates to be participants in the McNair Program which serves students in their Junior and Senior year of college The TRIO programs are monitored and administered nationally by the National Council of Educational Opportunity Associations (NCEOA) then by regional Associations such as the Southeastern Association of Educational Opportunity Program Personnel (SAEOPP) and then by states. The Florida Association of Educational Opportunity Program Personnel (F AEOPP) is one of these state organizations (Brewer 1994:4-5). The McNair Program The McNair Program at USF is in its fifth year of operation The McNair Program is ... designed to prepare 30 low-income, first-generation students and others from groups traditionally underrepresented in higher education to enroll in doctoral
54 programs subsequent to completing their undergraduate education at the University of South Florida (Holmes 1994:1) Though Blacks are underrepresented in undergraduate programs, the situation is more severe in graduate programs According to the USF 1996-97 Fact Book in t he Fall of 1996 at USF, out of 6,239 total graduate students there were 310 African Americans making up five percent of the graduate student population (Kellner usfweb usf.edu/usfirp:student profile) The McNair Program is committed to trying to improve the statistics of minority representation in graduate school in hopes to eventually increase the pool of qualified minorities for full-time instructional faculty (Holmes 1994 : 37) Thus, in selecting students for the program, the greatest consideration is given to students who have demonstrated a strong, personal commitment to academic achievement through their GP A's, extra-curricular involvement and application essays (students who express a desire to work towards a Ph D in their application essays are generally more favored) Students with GPA s above 3 0 are considered, though most students accepted generally have GPA's well above a 3 .0out of the fourteen students who were accepted while I worked with the program, three had 4 0's, and seven had GPA's between 3 5 and a 4.0 These kinds ofGPA's are typical for students in the program. Though these students may have proven their ability in earning a good college GPA, the McNair program recogni z es and tries to remedy several problems that minority students tend to have in successfully graduating from undergraduate school and
55 getting to the point of participating in doctoral programs. The population which McNair serves are generally do not have the advantages of: 1) Finances to successfully matriculate towards baccalaureate degrees and minimize loans; 2) Assistance to obtain financial assistance, such as fellowships, grants and assistanceships in graduate school; 3) Academic support and mentoring to ensure completion of bachelor degrees and higher GPAs to qualify for graduate school; 4) Significant research and scholarly activities at the undergraduate level ; 5) Test-taking skills and training for standardized examinations (GRE or GMA T) to increase their chances of being accepted into doctoral programs; 6) Faculty role model mentors needed to motivate disadvantaged and underrepresented students to pursue careers that require doctoral degrees ; 7) Sufficient and relevant information about the preparation and application process for graduate and doctoral programs; 8) Exposure to cultural and educational activities needed to encourage disadvantaged and underrepresented students to participate in the graduate-level institutional environment; 9) Self-confidence, self-esteem, and social skills needed to improve the chances of graduating from a doctoral program; 1 0) Individualized and personal support needed to increase the chances of each student meeting his/her academic, personal and career goals to pursue a doctoral degree (Holmes n d.:14) In order to provide support for students in their first year in the program (their Junior year) the students are : 1) assigned to Faculty Role Model Mentors ; 2) are provided with information seminars and workshops ; and 3) are monitored as to their academic performance Students are also given access to designated computers in the office and tutoring coordinated and paid for by the McNair Program During the Summer between their Junior and Senior years, students participate in a Summer Research Institute In this institute they are assigned a Faculty Research Mentor and given GRE preparation workshops And in their Senior years students continue working with their Faculty Research Mentor, present their research at a research symposium and are aided in the
56 application process for graduate school (Holmes 1994:40) Benefits of the McNair program to its students include : 1) "research stipends of$2400 annually for two years 2) "travel to national conferences and participation in graduate school visits" 3) participation in one or more mentoring relationships with USF faculty", 4) "participation in an academic year research internship under the direction of a professor with expertise in their field of study" 5) "participation in a six week Summer Research Institute in which they complete seven hours of course work related to research and technical writing", 6) "experience of writing a research proposal", 7) graduate school preparation and assistance with the graduate school application process", 8) GRE and/or MCAT test preparation workshops", and 9) cultural and social growth activities (Appendix A) From the benefits listed in the previous paragraph, one can easily see why students are attracted to the McNair program These benefits are practical and direct but there are several other less tangible benefits of involvement in the program In a wide and d i verse campus setting these students are given the chance to build relationship with other minority achieving students, many with similar backgrounds in different majors And, having a McNair staff of only four individuals with a counselor for e ach class of students, support is available on a daily basis in the form of one on one consultations The students also find a valuable friend in the director of the McNair Program who has influence on a university-wide level that can be helpful in times of crisis or unjust treatment.
57 One of the more favorable parts of the McNair Program is the mentoring relationship that students are able to develop with faculty members Upon entering the program students are assigned role model mentors, usually Professors in their field of study who share their ethnicity. Requirements for this relationship are simply for students to meet with the Professor at least four times during the semester two formal and two informal occasions The formal occasions can be a s ymposium and the informal can be gong out to lunch This allows students to get to know professors in a wa y that they seldom do in a relaxed atmosphere free from formal constraints The Faculty Research Mentor has a somewhat different relationship with the students This mentor guides the students through the development of a research proposal and in carrying out the actual research project. The student works under this mentor in a one on one relationship that concentrates attention on the student's personal and academic development. Students tend to enjoy and benefit from both of these mentoring relationships Because of the size of USF, many students do not get to know faculty personally Through these relationships students can build relations with professors who can be vital resources in their career development, and/or at least be able to give them a good recommendation for Graduate School. The McNair Scholars Program at USF is one of three in Florida and ninetysix across the nation The quality of the program differs from one institution to another But the program at USF has been singled out as one of the best in the nation Much of this i s due to the commitment of the Director, and to support from the USF admini s tration The
58 USF McNair program boasts of placing "approximately seventy percent of program participants in graduate school throughout the United States. Many of them were accepted directly into Ph.D programs from the undergraduate level" (Appendix B) The Jenkins Program There is a lot less literature available about the Jenkins Scholar Program The Jenkins Scholar Program is a four year scholarship financed by the George Jenkins Foundation (George Jenkins being the founder ofPublix Supermarkets) in Lakeland, Florida The responsibility for the day to day operations of the Scholar Program belongs to the Jenkins USF Program Coordinator, Dr. Joanna Hall who also happens to be the Director of the USF McNair Program. The Jenkins Program chooses four underprivileged high school graduates each year to receive a full scholarship plus stipend to attend USF for four years Because such a small number of students are selected, the students who are selected tend to have performed exceptionally well in high school. Priority is given to students who have overcome extreme hardships, and who have good GPA s Thus though these students may be from very disadvantaged backgrounds it is not uncommon for them to have had a weighted high school GPA above a 4.0 (weighted because extra points towards the GPA are given in honors and advance placement classes in many school districts) The majority of the students chosen thus far (the program is in its fourth year of operation thus far at USF) tend to be Black and Hispanic The s tudents onl y requirements are to attend USF full-time, keep at least a 3. 0 GPA, and for the first two
59 years they are asked to not work and are required to live on campus though with special permission this can be flexible for extenuating circumstances. Because four are accepted each year for no more than four years, there are never more than sixteen students in the program at one time In fact this year is only the second year that the program will have students in each class hence there is very little information on graduation or retention The main directives for the Jenkins Program come from the coordinator at the George Jenkins Foundation who is responsible for the program, Mrs Selena Johnston Besides requiring mid-term and end-term reports on the students, her connection with the program and the students is minimal. The students do, however have two trips a year in which they are taken to tour the Publix facilities in Lakeland, and another in which they attend an Orlando "Magic" basketball game. These excursions are where the students get to meet, and be met by, the persons responsible for funding their university matriculation Other than these activities, the students have full use of the McNair / Jenkins office facilities and are monitored by the Graduate Program A ss istant s imilar to the way in which McNair students are monitored Office Structure The McNair Program had been at USF since 1992 when it first received Federal funding from the National Education Association Dr. Hall the Director of the Program had been at USF for a number of y ears as Director of Student Support Services and Project Thrust when she secured grant money for the McNair Program For the fir s t two years, Dr Hall served as Director for the McNair Program while also Directing SSS and
60 Project Thrust. This was possible because of the similarity of the programs and because at first, McNair only admitted students every other year, and started out with fewer students Soon it became evident that for the programs to operate at their potential, they wou ld need to be administered separately in order that each program and the students of the programs, could receive more individual attention. Thus, in 1994 Dr Hall became solely in charge of the McNair Program and hired a Program Assistant and two graduate Assistants This is when Sharon an d Faye first came on board Faye was hired as the Program Assistant, and Sharon was originally hired as the Graduate Assistant who would be in charge of the Senior year students The other Graduate Assistant, Richard, was hired to coordinate activities for the Junior year students in the program When first made an independent program, the McNair Program was located in a small office in the Faculty Office Building (F AO). In the middle of that school year McNair was able to move from FAO to th e Student Services Building (SVC) where si milar programs were located and where the program had more privac y and space At this time, the Jenkins Scholars Program and the USF Parents Association were also put under the direction of Dr. Hall. Then in the Fall of 1996 the program was moved again to its current location adjacent once again to SSS and Project Thrust-but still an independent program Within the university system, the McNair and Jenkins Program s at USF are structurally located within the Division of Student Affairs under Academic Support and Achievement. Physically, the office is now located on the second floor of the Student
61 Services Building in the central part of Tampa's campus-between the Administration Building and the Student Center (the Marshall Center) Other offices close to the McNair and Jenkins Programs are Academic Advising, the Counseling Center, the Registrars Office, the Student Disabilities Office, the Project Thrust Tutorial Center, Students Support Services, the Personal Excellence Program and Project Thrust. SSS PEP, and Project Thrust share the same unit of the building with the McNair and Jenkins Programs. This is convenient because of the similar aims of the programs, and because many of the students are in more than one of these programs. When one walks through the door, the McNair and Jenkins Office is first, and the other programs are further down the hall. Because of this there is always a flow of traffic through the office, and first time visitors invariably ask if they may proceed back-which is polite but unnecessary and has, at times, prompted the Program Assistant to put up makeshift sign with arrows pointing students towards the programs further down the hall. Office Responsibilities Since I completed my internship the office has gone through restructuring in the form of two new positions, and a total of four new employees due to the departure of the Program Assistant and myself. This will be expounded on later in this thesis. For now I will explain office responsibilities as they were at the time of my internship The office consisted of three full-time and one part-time, employees. They were the Program Director, the Program Assistant, the Program coordinator and the Graduate Program Assistant. Basic responsibilities for these positions have not changed
62 Program Director As Program Director, Dr. Hall has primary financial responsibility over the McNair and Jenkins programs and is responsible for making executive decisions. In regards to the McNair Program, the Program Director is expected to participate in state, regional, and national conferences and to serve on various committees And, by virtue of being a Program Director at the University of South Florida, she is also expected to serve on various committees within the university structure. One of the most pivotal being the Academic Regulations Committee (ARC). This committee reviews student petitions for exceptions to be made to university academic policy Above external and internal university committees, supervising staff, writing grants and reports, making various presentations, and coordinating the Parents' Association, the Program Director must also supervise the monitoring of the individual Jenkins and McNair scholars. This number can vary year to year but generally means being responsible for as many as sixty students. Many of these students look to the Program Director for guidance, support, and for help When crisis arises whether academic or personal, the Program Director is notified and is expected to take the time necessary to meet with that student and work out solutions. Because Dr Hall has been at USF for a number of years and knows a lot of key individuals within the university system, she is able to do a lot for the students who need help getting through bureaucratic red-tape
63 Program Coo rdinator The Program Coordinator, Sharon, is responsible for the day to day operation of all McNair Scholar activities. Her responsibilities include : 1) aiding all students individually in the graduate school application 2) facilitating mentoring 3) putting together the Spring and Summer Research 4) coordinating national conference trips for the 5) editing the USF McNair Scholars 6) assisting the Program Director in Grant writing, and in writing annual and continuation 7) coordinating the McNair Summer 8) following up on all graduated McNair Scholars until they graduate from doctoral 9) monitoring the academic progress of the Senior year and 1 0) advising students academically and counseling students socially. This is a full time job that often requires over-time. The Program Coordinator has no official responsibility in regards to the Jenkins Program and the Parents Association. Program Assistant The Program Assistant is the assistant to the Program Director. This job is a secretarial type po sition. The primary responsibilities of the Program Assistant include: 1) paying bills and monitoring financial 2) monitoring time sheets for student 3) typing various office 4) monitoring faculty accounts; 5) monitoring student 4) reserving space and ordering food for 5) the lay-outs of office programs invitations, and the USF McNair Journal ; 6) facilitating activities for the Parents's Association ; 7) monitoring the student check-out oflap-top
64 and 8) ordering office supplies This job is also full time and requires a good deal of over-time Student A ides The job of student aides within the office basically center around answering the phone running errands, and paperwork such as filing, copying, collating, and stuffing envelopes These students are undergraduates work study personnel. In slower times they can usually get away with doing their homework on the job, but the office is usually busy enough to keep them busy too. My Position as Graduate Program Assistant My position with the McNair program was as the "Graduate Program Assistant (Dr. Hall's graduate assistant). My job was to assist in the coordination of everything that the program does for the students in their Junior year. One of the most important aspects of my position, and the one in which I spent the most time throughout the year, was the personal contact that I had with the students Over the year, I got to know each student individually. Students were constantly in and out of the office. A lot of this was due to the fact that the room next to my office was the computer lab, which had two computers for only McNair and Jenkins students to use. Another key aspect of my position with the students was that of coordinating the academic workshops and seminars These venues were to be beneficial to them in their university matriculation. It was largely my responsibility to decide what would be
65 provided. In some cases I was just following similar patterns from previous years, and in all cases approval had to be given by Dr. Hall. Other responsibilities this past year, for the McNair Program, included: 1) planning a trip to Atlanta for the students to visit graduate schools there and talk to professors in the departments to which they wanted to apply ; 2) making sure the students met with their Faculty Role Model Mentors and maintained at least a 3.0 GPA (usually not a problem for these students) ; 3) locating tutors for those who asked for them ; 4) meeting with students when they felt that they needed to talk about something ; 5) making reports for Dr. Hall about the students' performance; 6) doing occasional library research; 7) attending formal activities; and 8) and keeping Dr. Hall informed about everything going on with the students My responsibilities were roughly the same with the Jenkins Program. The difference was that the Jenkins Program lacked structure while the McNair Program had a definite time-table for required activities. Besides the beginning of the year luncheon and the annual trips to see the "Orlando Magic" play basketball, and visit the Jenkin s family Country Club there were no routinely scheduled events for the Jenkins Program. These three events were the only times that these students got together during the year. The main duties I had with the Jenkins students were producing mid-term and end-term reports on their academic performance that would first go to Dr. Hall, and then to Mrs. Johnston. Students who were on probationary status having less than a 3 0 GPA had to meet with me once every two weeks to do bi-weekly reports and attend necessary tutorial sessions. Other than making reports and following up on the students progress
66 my interaction with the Jenkins' students was primarily one on one with the students who needed the most attention due to personal and academic problems. The Jenkins and McNair programs, though both targeted at underrpresented and lower income populations, are very different. McNair picks from a population of students who have already proven their ability to succeed at the university level. Jenkins picks the best of more extremely underpriviledged populations from High School. This means that these students not only must be given some support and direction in their transition from High School to the university, but they also tend to bring more emotional baggage along with them that sometimes gets in the way of their academic progress. In the literature it is shown that minority students closely associated with white, middle class cultural backgrounds tend to be more successful at the university level (Feagin Vera and Imani 1996: 150). If this is true, the fact that these students tend not to be from these backgrounds warrants some kind of intervening support in the way of counseling to make sure that subtle, cultural differences are not the cause of discomfort and eventual failure. The counseling and advising nature of my position was also important in light of the facts that successful minority students tend to be inadvertently ignored and criticized more by professors (Weber 1992:21 ), and tend to lack full social integration into the academy-which is a correlate of success for the general population (Steward, et al. 1990:515) The counseling is also important in light of the fact that many of these students are the first in their families to go to college, and do not have outside networks of support to inform them when making important developmental decisions. These
67 students have the ability, but sometimes a little encouragement and exposure can make all the difference in terms comfort and motivation Research Strategy As an employee of the program, I have acted as a participant observer. Bernard ( 1995) writes, Participant observation, or ethnographic fieldwork is the foundation of cultural anthropology It involves getting close to people and making them feel comfortable enough with your presence so that yo u can observe and record information about their lives (Bernard 1995 : 136). As an insider, I constantly watched and took note of what went on as it pertained to me, everything about how the office was run and how relations between other individuals worked. I was also a participant observer in the broader context of the university by being an African American student at USF To record important interactions or situations that arose, I kept a journal. A major aspect of my research involved interviewing Jacob and Jordan (1993) write, Anthropological interviews can vary from casual, unplanned discussions to open ended formal interviews, to long-term, in-depth discussions with selected indi vid ual s called key informants" (Jacob and Jordan 1993:21 ). The majority of my interviews were casual, unplanned discussions Students are constantly in the McNair / Jenkins office and interacted with them daily Bernard ( 1995 ) writes "Unstructured interviewing is the most widely used method of data collection in cultural anthropology We interview people informally during the course of an ordinary day of participant observation ... (Be rnard 195:208)
68 Using this criteria I did hundreds of unstructured interviews talking with almost all of the students involved in the programs. A large part of the reason for my position was to serve as someone with whom the students felt they could talk. One of the most important aspects of my position, was the personal contact that I had with the students The key was to know each student individually and to be able to talk with them in order to find out what situations they may have been dealing with. I was not only listening to the students to try to understand them I was building good relations with them so that they knew that had a friend on campus looking out for them I did not want them to feel they had do deal with serious problems by themselves. As I built relations with students I took time out to ask specific questions as to how they felt about the programs and other relevant information. In writing my thesis I have used caution, in terms of pseudonyms and discretion as to how much to say to protect the identity and trust of the students I have also done semi-structured, taped interviews of students This has been done with their full knowledge of why they are being interviewed, and their agreement to participate in my study I've chosen a semi-structured format because it gives me more of a chance to use probes to get more information about each individual student. The semi-structured interviews were done with the individuals whom I profile in this thesis (except for the two special cases). In all, six persons were interviewed in this fashion three were interviewed twice due to time constraints and further questions upon reading transcriptions The individuals interviewed in this method were chosen out of convenience individuals whom I got to know well over the year. Thus they consisted of four females
69 and two males. I chose one male from the Jenkins Program and one from the McNair Program Both of these were classified as j uniors. I also chose two females from each program. These consisted of a sophomore two juniors, and a senior. They are all black as African Americans are my primary focus for this research though three are originally from the Caribbean I also used a s tudent focus group discussion to generate information on how the s tud e nts perceive themselves at USF in terms of being minority, students, scholars and program participants. These students consisted of the group of McNair Scholars who participated in the 1998 Summer Institute Since I planned seminars for the Summer Institute, I was able to make my focus group a required seminar, and therefore have guaranteed attendance and participation As I stated in my introduction as a result of my experience my goals are to be able to provide : 1) information about the types of students involved in the programs for the use of future Graduate Assistants who take the position ; 2) an exploration of detail s in the lives of minority students at majority white univer s itie s; 3) an explanation of the need for, and importance of, such programs in the face of widespread changes du e to anti-affirmative action legislation; and 4) constructive comments and suggestions a imed at improving how the programs operate and serve the students involved Through my experience as a participant observer and through int erv i ew ing r have gleaned information on the types of students involved in the McNair and Jenkin s programs. Though I have worked with two programs this \vtll not be a comparative study. Instead what I construct are profiles of students in each program. This i s done b y
70 detailing the lives of at least three students in each program who typify various characteristics or extremes that one can expect to encounter when working with these students. This information is then tied into a larger discussion on minority Higher Education in the U.S., and the need for programs such as these to continue. As I proceeded through my internship I was a part of the implement of various components of the McNair and Jenkins programs, and I was be able to get direct information back from students as to their opinions. As time passed, I was able to see more of the value of what the students were being asked, or required, to participate in. In the next chapter I detail my experiences over the course of my internship. I take the reader on a review what the atmosphere was like as far as working in the office an overview of the types of students in the programs, a description of key program events and my involvement in them, and a discussion of the kinds of issues that arose most often when counseling students. I then discuss my internship in hind-sight and briefly discuss a few personal regrets
71 IV. A YEAR IN REVIEW One never really knows who is on the line when the telephone rings And every once in a while a caii comes in that may change one's life. This was my experience one afternoon when I was looking for a possible internship sight last Fall. The phone rang and it was Sharon She was callin g to see if I'd be interested in coming in for an interview for a job working with the McNair and Jenkins Scholar Programs If I was to get it the job would start immediately Though it was three months from when I planned to start my internship I saw immediate connections to my interests in educational anthropology and minorities in higher education, so I agreed to come in and check it out. In my interview with Dr Hall the Director of the McNair and Jenkins Programs she described the job to me as a kind of student support/counseling position I was told I was to serve as her Graduate Assistant. As her Graduate Assistant I would be monitoring the academic progress needs and social situations of either sixteen Jenkins or fourteen McNair Scholars And I would be responsible for r e port i ng directl y to Dr. Hall about their situations. I was told that it would be a position in which I would get to work closely with the students and would in some ways act as an informal mentor for them I was very interested and when the position was offered I accepted it. Once I got the position Dr. Hall and I decided I would work for fifteen hours a we e k until the end of the Fall 97 semester and then around thirty hours a week in the
72 Spring, since my class load would be much lighter then This was also because the Spring was when my internship was to officially occur In the first days I learned what time I had to leave my house to get to the office on time, got my keys and a name plate for the wall outside my door, started getting to know Dr Hall, Sharon, Faye and the student assistants, and I started meeting students I came into the office with school already underway. It was already late September and this meant that I had a little catching up to do. The fact that the McNair program was in the middle of preparing for a site visit from the National Education Association did not help Dr. Hall, Sharon and Faye were all very busy with the preparation and did not have much time to "s chool" me on things. On top of this, I also learned that I was going to be the only Graduate Assistant (G.A.), and was going to work with both the McNair and Jenkins students instead of there being one G .A. for each program Within the first week, Dr. Hall met with me to advise me a little on dealing with the students, and what I had to do immediately I remember her telling me that I would be amazed at the turmoil existent in some o f the students lives She made it a point to stress that the Jenkins students would present my biggest challenge. She said they might drive me crazy," and I remember wondering how much trouble could a group of s mart college students be She advised me to not be naive or surprised with the issues that s tudents may have Though I may have belittled them in my mind then her words would ring true several times by the end of my internship
73 The selection process was underway for the group of fourteen students who would become McNairs that Fall. Applications were being turned in and they had to be sorted and distributed among the Advisory Board members who would each rate the applications individually, and then come together and decide as a group which students would be selected This was a somewhat tedious job involving a lot of phone calls and paper-work. But my main worry was doing it right because I wasn t really sure what to do. In the end, things worked out fine. The Advisory Board met and the fourteen s tudents were selected and we immediately started planning their welcoming reception. Below, I have created a time-line which shows the key events and issues around which my year evolved: 1997 late September mid-October late October November 6 late November December 1998 January February 18 March March 8-10 March 25 March 26-27 Time-line I started working with the programs Advisory Board selection of new McNair Scholars ; find and assign Role Model Mentors for new scholars Jenkins Fall mid-term report New McNair Scholar reception LaToya's (student aide) mother died and she dropped out of school end semester report for Jenkins and McNair; start planning Atlanta graduate school visit ; start planning Spring seminars New McNair orientation; set up individual meeting for each student with Dr. Hall; Tim (student aide) starts working in the office graduate student panel (seminar) Jenkins mid-term report Atlanta graduate school visit Spring Research Symposium Social Darwinism conference (Claude Steelepsychologist and Christopher Edley -Law Professor are speakers)
April3 April 18 April22 Late April May May2 May 11-J une 19 May 12 May 15 May 19 May26 May28 June June 2 June 19 July 5 July 10 Gary's Damien drops the semester Gary's funeral Annual Senior awards and Recognition Program and Reception; Juan (student aide) last day-he transfers to FIU Jenkins and McNair Spring report; find which Jenkins scholars are going to Summer school; arrangements for Summer Institute Send letters to start recruiting new students USF Graduation Summer Institute Summer Institute orientation Tap Dogs" at the Performing Arts Center (Summer Institute seminar) Powerpoint seminar Ropes course seminar s tress reduction seminar Find faculty judges for the symposium workshop on graduate schools Summer Research Symposium; mine and Faye's last day Maria s suicide Maria's funeral 74 I was responsible for coordinating the seminars listed. I've also l i sted s ome of the larger ta s ks I did such as planning for the graduate school visit or making end of semester reports My only involvement in the Social Darwinism conference besides presenting a paper was to encourage the students to go. And other events serve as marker s for p i votal points in the year. Other than these things my year consisted of day to day office work, such as staff meetings typing and doing occasional research for Dr. Hall and counseling/advising students
75 Working Within the Office Within the area of the office occupied by McNair, there is a reception area, five smaller offices and a meeting room that is used by different programs that has to be reserved for use by McNair or Jenkins Dr. Hall, Faye, Sharon, and myself each had our own office and the fifth was where two computers were set aside for student use In this room there was also a copier which students could use if they got one of us to put in the code. In my office there were three desks one for a computer, one usually occupied by a student aid, and the one which I used as my main desk. Beside this desk was a big green chair that had to remain propped against the wall because the back would not stay up otherwise. Although broken it was cushioned and comfortable to sit in. This was good because this was where students came in and sat when they needed to meet with me. Positives Over the year I not only got to know the students, but I also came into contact with v arious individuals within the university structure. Formal McNair events often the Provost and Vice-Provost of the university along with various faculty and counselors from different programs One of the reasons I had for doing an on-campus internship was to get acquainted with the university structure. Whether the big-wigs of the university remember me or not, I now know who they are and where they fit in the bureaucratic structure Also, the proximity of the McNair and Jenkins programs to other
76 similar programs afforded me the opportunity to build relationships with those program counselors The benefits of working with the McNair and Jenkins programs were great, and I'm sure that as time passes, more benefits of having worked with the programs will surface But perhaps the most important aspect was the chance to gain an insight as to what students go through. The students I was working with were from different backgrounds than my own I would not have guessed the extent or depth of some of the issues that some of them have to deal with-while still doing exceptional work If given the chance to work with students again I will not be so naive N e gative s Overall, the experience was great, but in hindsight there are always circumstances that could have been more ideal. The atmosphere of the office was not always at its prime, and this may have decreased the potential help that students could have been afforded from time to time. Much of this was because of the busy nature of the office and some had to do with the office itself I can personally attest to the fact that the physical characteristics of the office impeded my productivity. The constant flow of traffic in the hall the lack of windows and air circulation, and the dim lighting were a few of my daily complaints I tried to remedy this by bringing in a fan and putting up extra lighting But circulating s tale air is just one step up from still stale air Probably the biggest ob s tacle had to do with people O v erall, relations were good But because the office was so small they should have been better Fay e the
77 Program Assistant, proved especially to be a problem She had a very abrasive attitude and was not easy to work with. On the one hand she kept candy on her desk and was very helpful as far as navigating the university computer system On the other hand she could be surprisingly rude and pushy at times Students and many in other offices knew this and many simply operated on a policy of avoidance. Soon, I also undertook an avoidance policy, but this was not helpful as virtually everything I did or planned needed to go through her. This excerpt from my April 14th journal provides insight on this topic: I just had a minor revelation concerning Faye. Dr. Hall is off in a meeting and I took a message for her There is a little clip on the reception desk for messages but it seems like every time I put something in there, Faye gives a speech about how so many people stop and look through the messages left there So instead, I put the message on Dr. Hall's phone. As I walk by Faye watches, and when I come out of the office she says "Elgin, she's not going to find anything on her desk ... She then tells me about the messages being what the clip is for. So I rebutted nicely With a remark on how she has told me that people always look through those. But there is no winning." She just says that looking through the clip during the day is what Dr. Hall is trained to do The thing is, she has voluntarily or involuntarily, positioned herself as the hub of the office. She wants everything to go through her and the fact that I didn't tell her about the message, and instead walked quietly by her as she looked expectant warranted some kind of pronouncement on the right way to do whatever it was I was doing The catch 22 is that ifi had stopped and informed her, she'd have had some other smart comment. There's no way around it that I've figured yet and I don't feel like exhausting myself trying. I could look at it like a game but it is just an annoyance. At least it is funny. This kind of thing was a daily occurrence and it did not do much for moral. Instead, the smallest things became issues I engaged Sharon on this topic while interviewing her. Here is an excerpt from that interview :
Me: The office seems so much lighter now due to the absence of one person in particular. Sharon : Yeah, it makes a big difference. We do work real closely with students and we do like to have a family atmosphere so that students will feel comfortable coming here. It's important that staff get along and be able to offer that kind of atmosphere. And also because we do so much here and it can be stressful. It's important not to take that out on other people Me: Was last year like other years or did I kind of just walk into something that was growing, and happened to climax while I was here ? Sharon : Yeah, you did. When we first started out it was me Richard and Faye, but we had a very small amount of students and we only had McNair. Then it came up that we got Parents' association and Jenkins. And we kept adding more McNairs because not everyone would graduate .... The Program had a lot of added responsibility and not a lot of additional recognition. Then when you came we went to every year and that was stressful in itself. The year you came we should have had two grad assistants so you were lumped with the work of two people. 78 As surmised from this interview excerpt, the situation got increasingly worse over the year and ended with Faye departing the office for a new job-actually a promotion within the University system. As it turned out, the day she left was also my last day This was a job that she applied for and went to on her own free will. I must say that I credit Dr. Hall for diplomatically dealing with one so disagreeable. The one negative in regards to Dr Hall is how busy she is. She is an excellent Director and individual and I would have liked to have had more direct supervision from her not micro-management but a guiding presence. I capture my feelings about this in a March 17th excerpt from my journal : It is hard to get a chance to just sit down with Dr. Hall and talk about these things. Part of it is me and my lack of assertiveness that I am discovering more and more. And part of it is her She is very busy. When she is in the office she has meeting after meeting and is so often on the phone. She does a lot of outside consulting on top of the work and travel related to this job she has I think she is the type who likes to bury herself in her work and she is doing just that.. She is out this whole week
so I'll have no prospects of talking with her until Monday and then she'll be engulfed in all the make-up work from being a week behind Due to the nature of her job, Dr. Hall is required to travel a lot and to be actively 79 involved in TRIO communities at the state, regional and national levels These involve various committees and conferences that take her away from the office. And when on campus, she also has obligations to various university committees. Her input as a successful. African American, female program director is crucial. Categorizing the Students Though I was officially responsible for the fourteen Junior year McNair students and the sixteen Jenkins students, because of the small and intimate nature of the office all students involved in. the program couid feei free to taik with whomever they felt comfortabie. This meant that I was aiso abie to deveiop good reiations with severai of the Senior year McNair students, and that some students usuaiiy femaie, feit more comfortabie taiking with someone other than me usuaiiy Sharon Working with the students I found that there seemed to be basicall y five categories within which they can aii be groupeu. These are the inflateu egos", ''panic prone", needy and the non-traditiona1s ' Perhaps some students couid arguabiy fit into more than one category, but these exhibit the basic range. These are not just categories that r have arbitrariiy made They are the resuit of a dis c ussion with Sharon, who is in her fifth year working with the students The first category, the "superstars are generali y the top s tudents of the program Tney are easy to work with and are conscientious about doing everything that they are
80 supposed to, and doing it on time In her interview Sharon stated, "These types of students make you feel good because you can see ... the success of what you've tried to help them to achieve, and you can see the result very quickly." This is because these students do exceptionally well in the research components of the program, usually have the best presentations for the program to showcase, and get into top graduate programs Sharon pointed out that these students do tend to have stronger family support, but income does not seem to be a factor As I reflect on my interviews, this does appear to be an accurate description An example of this kind of student is Ossica -a Hispanic female who majored in Nursing Besides a beautiful, stable personality, Ossica consistently perfonned well in school and in every component of the McNair program She was not one of the last minute students who would be in the office computer lab the night before they were to present at the research symposia. And if she was she was more than likely there helping other students. Ossica s presentation could always be counted on as being excellent and she was chosen to present her research on a competitive basis with the other students in California She was also one of the students chosen to present research at a special USF Faculty luncheon in which the McNair program was being showcased Ossica has since graduated and is now attending an excellent graduate program in Nursing. This type of student would probably now be in graduate school with or without the help of the McNair Program But she would not have had the research experience exposure, and help with the application process that worked to make her much more competitive and knowledgeable about graduate school and graduate level research.
81 The next type of student that we identified is the "inflated egos These students are related to the "Superstars" in that they also tend to be excellent students The difference is in their conception of themselves and how they treat other students When discussing these students, Sharon stated: Generally the inflated egos tend to be males. Now they are in a group of students who are very much like them but for some reason they seem to think that they are much, much smarter and much more articulate and much more bound for success than any of the other scholars. And objectively, they are not the ones with the highest GPA or test scores They just feel that they are These student tend to be a little harder to work with A you can t tell me anything I don t know" attitude does not make for a good listener. And a bad listener is usually not one who follows instructions well. To my knowledge at least two students fitting within this category had trouble working with their research mentors This trouble was to the point of Dr. Hall having to intervene As Sharon pointed out, most of these s tudents tend to be males The two st udents mentioned above also are males, but both of their mentors were females The idea that it may be chauvinism more than arrogance has been introduced, and it is probably a little of both in reference to these two individuals Another cause for arrogance within these students may be conditioning from their disciplines Many of these students tend to be in the harder sciences such as chemistry and engineering Many in academia feel that these disciplines warrant much more scholarship than subjects like English and anthropology. Students often adopt these notion s and act accordingly Overall, these students tend to do well but cause a few headaches along the way
82 The third category of students are the panic prone." Sharon described these students with this statement: "I guess it's mostly they have a certain plan mapped out for themselves with no margin for error. And because they are so tight with everything, if they don t do as well as they want on one test, they panic ." For these students any set back is an emergency. An example of this type of student is a Jenkins Scholar named Joanna Last year Joanna was a sophomore She is an English major and has always done well in school except for math classes If she had done poorly on a test, she would come in and ask for a tutor. That was fine but she would go on to surprise me with the length of planning she has made for her future, and her anxiety over how one incident could change everything All of a sudden, because of one C on one test in one class she was scared that she would not get into an honor society, the McNair Program, or graduate school. Quite frankly, it did not seem too healthy. For these students particularly, I recommended university stress reduction seminars In no way do I mean to diminish their worries, but these individual situations were usually not enough to severely impact their academic standing. The next category of students are those who may be considered needy ." These students tend to come from the most disadvantaged/dysfunctional backgrounds, and tend to have real counseling issues They are the ones who require the most time and attention, and who employees of the program end up worrying about most. Their academic performance is usually not the issue. Instead, they tend to need help making personal decis i ons Some problems that I encountered when working with students in
. this category were alcoholic/abusive fathers dealing with homosexuality abusive boyfriends, promiscuity and depression. 83 Though the students are scholars, it cannot be assumed that they do not have problematic issues in their social lives Speaking on this topic, Sharon stated, An example is having an alcoholic father who kicks you out of the house and you have a fight with h i m and have to spend part of the semester in jail. Another could be suicidal ideation-that was just a couple weeks ago I took a student to the doctor for treatment for depression Though both of these students happened to be McNair scholars, we agre e d that roughly five to eight out of thirty McNairs usually fit this profile In contrast, over half of the Jenkins scholars tend to fit this profile A lot of this is because the Jenkins Program is earmarked for students from the most extreme underprivileged backgrounds coming straight from high school while McNair puts more emphasis on high performing, underrepresented Juniors and Seniors The last category of students, the non-traditionals", are an easily identified s mall minority of the McNair Program These students are older and tend to be more deci s ive Most of the time they are trying to balance family life with student life Bec a use they tend to be more mature they do not require as much supervision as other students Instead, they tend to know e xactly what they want and how to go about accomplishing their goals the quickest way possible Most of these students transfer in from community colleges Last year out of approximately forty-five students four could be classified as non-traditional.
84 Major McNair Program Components The Atlanta Trip The biggest challenge, outside of counseling students, that I had during my internship was coordinating the McNair Scholars' Graduate School visit to Atlanta, GA. Below in my March 15, 1998 journal entry, the trip and my involvement in it are explained thoroughly Though quite lengthy I have provided this information to give insight on what goes on in program activities and to give an example of the kind of work that I did with the program in my position as Graduate Program Assistant. Commentary on the Atlanta Tr:i.Jl March 8-10, 1998 The biggest event of the semester that I had to plan jus t occurred We took the students on a graduate school visit to Atlanta, GA. I d been planning the trip since the week before Christmas vacation and it is now the past. It seemed like it was so far away once. Now it's time to write thank you notes and a final report to leave a trail for next year. I think it was a success. What I had to do wa s basically find a bus, a hot el, see which of the McNair's wanted to go, make a profile for each of them find out what graduate departments at what s chools the y wanted to visit, g et on the phone with the graduate advisor from that department and arrange a t i m e on Monday March 9th for the student to meet with them, send the student's information up a head of time and map out the sc hedule for getting all of the students to and from their appointments on that day am glad to say that everyone made their appointments. We ori g inally had twenty-eight students but only twentys ix showed up Sunday Morning to catch the bus I had to go pick up Erin Rose at the last minute The majority of the students, except for the Georgia Tech c rowd and a couple others, were visiting more than one s chool. In this I will include the itinerary from the trip just as a refe rence I also had to s chedule what we would be doing Sunday ni g ht Monday ni g ht and Tuesday morning As I said, the plannin g sta rted the week before Winter vacation Then all I did was call a few bus companies to compare prices and call th e hotel that the group stayed at the last time they went to Atlanta ( there was no information left to go on from the previous trip) The bu s company that they used last time wa s First Class and that is what we ended up with this time too At first they quoted me a price of $ 1900 and other
companies were considerably less For some reason when I called again about a month later the price they quoted was $1650 so we took it. Perhaps we should have gone with another company since they said that the bus broke down on them last time, but they (Dr. Hall and Faye) enjoyed the particular bus driver that they had so much that they wanted to get him back (unfortunately we did not have him but we did have a really good individual named George-I don't remember his last name) The hotel they had stayed in last time was Holiday Inn and the gave me a price of $65 a night. They also wanted the contract signed in the middle of January for the March trip I see now that they want the contract signed as soon as possible just to hold the group accountable The hotel that we actually went with didn t get a signed contract until two weeks before the trip (it is important to keep Jaye abreast of all contracts and pricing because she gets the purchase order numbers to pay for everything and m1.,1st have the info In time to do it) 85 After vacation I got more into planing the trip. Further conversation with Dr. Hall revealed that the Holiday Inn was not in a convenient location so I got on the phone with hotels in downtown Atlanta I ended up playing the Fairfield Inn against the Days Inn and got the Days Inn down to $48 a night. They had a more convenient location too (by the subway Station). Then I had to call every Scholar and ask them if they wanted to go on the trip, and what schools and departments they wanted to see It sounds easy enough but everyone had to wait and see and ask repeatedly when the trip was again Perhaps I should have sent out a mailing ahead of calling to give them time to think about it. The last straggler didn't come on board until two week s before the trip (after the deadline but it was nothing that couldn't be worked out) But then she was one of the two that didn t show up that morning and I didn't have her number (the only number I didn't have) to call her becau s e she was a last minute add-on Once I had decisions from students I could get on the phone with the departments I went through the Internet first but soon found that the easiest way to get the phone numbers was to go over to the library get the Atlanta white pages, and copy the listings under each school. I didn t bother calling the Graduate admissions offices-just the departments directly The Graduate Advisor was who I wanted and it was generally easy to get in touch with them all. There were episodes of telephone tag but that is to be expected On the whole, everyone was responsive and congenial. We only had to write off one departmentGA State s Educational Leadership. GA State was kind of difficult for scheduling They were not as responsive and I spent a lot of time getting transferred from phone to phone there Clark Atlanta was alright but did not take care of the students as well as I'd hoped. For the future I'd recommend dropping both of these schools from the visit for these and a couple other
reasons to be mentioned later I didn't particularly like the calling process It took two months to get every department pinned down on a time and person to meet with Part of this was because of me and part was because the students could be slow in getting back. Once all the departments were pinned down on a time, I had to send each contact a fonn letter from Dr. Hall and a schedule for the student/s they were to see use the big labels. No one had to make significant changes so that was smooth Then the week before I called all of the contacts just to be sure they were expecting us. In that call I got specifics on what office the student's were to go to. I also had each school fax a map of the campus so that I could provide this in each student's packet. The student's packet consisted of an itinerary of the trip and schedules and maps for each school they were going to see The trip started off with a couple of hitches. As I said, a couple of students didn't show up. We gave them over an hour after the designated time, mostly just because we were slow getting out. Then when we got on the bus The bus driver infonned us that the VCR didn t work and that the bathroom did not work We had about nine blockbuster videos for the trip and there was no way I would have scheduled a bus without a VCR Dr. Hall is working out that situation with the Bus Company (First Class) and making sure that we get a discount on the price Even though there was no movie the ride went fast enough We stopped at a rest area once and then at a Wendy s and were there by 5 :30p. m It was a 47 passenger bus so we had space to walk around and go talk to everybody and that made the trip more enjoyable 86 Monday night went ok We had been before warned (after we sent the contract) that the hotel was a dive. We were pleasantly surprised when we got there. The place was in an excellent location, had a Wendy s in it that served breakfast, and was not a dive at all. We had a great view of GA Tech and Midtown Atlanta out of our Windows and were right around the comer from the Peachtree Center the subway station there the All-star Cafe, Hard Rock Cafe and Planet Hollywood That night The students were all hungry and we decided to all go out to the underground together as a crowd I thought people would all kind of be doing their own thing but we all stuck together and I was the one who was supposed to be leading the way We went to the subway station and got our tokens alright (with minimal confusion) and made it one stop south to the Underground. (We did not want to walk because it was windy and cold) Once inside just about everything was closed except for the restaurants. They were all disappointed at that. Perhaps Planet Hollywood would have been better but at least they got to see the Underground. But if I had to do it over I would tell them about the three restaurants around the comer and let them go at it. They seemed to really want me to have it all planned out as far as knowing what would be open and telling them where
to go I wasn t really expecting to have to so I got a lesson in assertiveness and decision making that I wasn't expecting We all finally settled in Mick's (to the dismay of the waiters who saw our large party) We pretty much closed the place down since it closed at 9 : 00 and we didn t even get our food until then Finally we got back to the Days Inn Everything went fine and I feel that everyone enjoyed themselves The next day Monday, was what the whole trip revolved around The students were to be in the lobby, dressed professionally at 7 :00a. m To my surprise they were all there by 7 :15 and ready to go We were out by 7 : 30 and had all gotten to get a quick breakfast at the Wendy's. Our box lunches arrived on time too. (I had arranged for them to be delivered prior to the trip because there wasn't going to be space in the day to take everyone to lunch -Wall Street Deli -$6 .75 a box). We made our GA Tech and AUC drop-offs on time Then an oversight revealed itself. For each school we had a group leader for the students slated to go there Dr. Hall was the group leader for GA Tech, Faye for GA State, Sally Halter for Emory, and me for the AUC The oversight was that I was getting off of the bus before the Emory and GA State drop-offs but I was the only one who knew the directions I guess I thought that the driver m i ght be familiar with Atlanta but we had not sent him an itinerary before hand I used to live there and I guess I took knowing the streets for granted. Anyway what I did was to write down the directions for the driver and show him where he was going on the map before getting off of the bus I learned later what happened almost no sooner that when I got off. Evidently the problem started with the driver missing the entrance to the highway. He got on it alright but then traffic was so backed up that he got o ff ahead of the exit to avoid the back-up The problem was that his map was a touristy kind and only had major streets They were lost for over an hour and got to Emory late. The law students missed the 10:00. tour but that was about all of the damage done They still got to see the School. And the lady from Biochemistry who was waiting for Jennifer evidently waited patiently. They got there just a little after ten and had no problem getting to GA State from there so the GA State crowd was not affected though they would be later. Since we were over an hour early I took the students in my group around the AUC. We couldn't do too much though because it was so cold I pointed the CAU (Clark Atlanta University) group to their appointment and went withe the MSM (Morehouse School of Medicine) on theirs since the person they were meeting with was my friend Mar cus Sims I stayed around and went on the whole tour with them. Marcus really did a good job for the students Friends as inside contacts are the best route Luckily the first pick up of the afternoon was at the AUC s o I would be on the bus for the rest of the afternoon 87
The bus was there to pick us up from the AUC and we got on our way We got to Emory easily (the right way) and the driver pulled up to where he had dropped everyone off in the morning, but no one was there yet. As it turned out, they were about 45 minutes late I don't know what happened I couldn't leave them because the were the whole crew to be dropped off next. The students from the AUC who were getting dropped at Emory went on and were on time for their appointments Finally all of the Emory crew showed up and we were on our way toGA State We could have gotten their right on time but downtown traffic was a trip, and the driver could not remember how to get back to where he d dropped the students off that morning. I knew that Faye, Sandra and Maria were someplace waiting but we had to drop the students off (each about l 0 minutes late now) and get toGA Tech because they would be waiting too I was hoping that they would take the Marta back to the hotel. Sally had gotten on the bus so I thought maybe Faye might not feel the need to stick around on her campus either We went ahead and picked up the group at GA Tech like clock work They were all walking up as we pulled up. Then we got gas and went back to the hotel for about thirty minutes Then we went back to Emory to pick the afternoon group up who was thirty minutes late That out us behind for the GA State pick up We got to the GA pick up thirty minutes late and there they all were, including Faye Sandra and Maria, shivering in the cold waiting for us to pick them up. They were a little salty to say the least-but no one was hurt and everyone had made their appointments With all of that over we went back to the hotel and got ready to go up to Lennox Mall to go shopping As far as the appointments went The groups at Emory and GA Tech had the best time A few of the departments at those schools really went out of their way to make sure the student's got to s ee the school and meet faculty and students there This did not happen at either CAU or GA State GA State was hard to deal with over the phone, hard to deal with as far as logistics on the trip, and a little apathetic about our students bing there so I definitely would not worry about sending students there again would give CAU another chance becau s e it did not pre s ent so many problems, but only if the student/s really want to go there and if the department seems receptive 88 I thought people would be a little tired and slow to get to the bus to go out that evening Instead, I was the one that the bus had to wait an extra minute for because I fell asleep Everyone was ready to go and hungry I led the driver straight up Peachtree Street so the students could see as much of the city as possible Then we got to Lennox at about 7 : 15 and he dropped us off in the parking lot and we let everyone know that pick up was at 10:00. When we got in the mall we found that it closed at 9 :00. I thought that it might stay open to 9 : 30 or l 0 : 00 but it did not. That
was ok though, I knew there were restaurants around that we could go to and chill for an hour. Lennox was nice I think everyone enjoyed it. Then, at nine we all got together and went across the street to Bennigan's I don't think they were to thrilled to see such a large group either but at least we didn't have to worry about them closing Besides most of us simply wanted drinks since we had eaten at the food court in the mall. Then right at 10: 00 the bus was there and we all set off back to the Day s Inn That night most of the students stayed up late since we told them that they didn t have to be checked out and in the lobby until I 0 : 00 am 89 Again, they were all there pretty much on time the next morning and we again got a quick breakfast in the Wendy's Check out was smooth We had the students' ability to call out of the hotel or to order movies withdrawn unless they paid a deposit themselves and no one did So we simply loaded the bus and got on and I directed the driver to the King Center. We did not have a planned tour at the King Center but they had enough there to not worry about planning a tour I think we spent about 30 minutes there and then we got on the bus and went over to the AUC. We spent a little bit of time walking around Morehouse (it was cold again) and then got back on the bus There were a few stragglers but we got off a little before I : 00 like we had planned On the way back we stopped at a Hardy's and then at a rest stop We were back at USF's campus by 8 : 30 pm and everyone got their car or met their ride, and made it home safely ( students had parked their cars in front of the Parking Services building Where the bus picked us up We each had to fill out a form and tum it in so they knew our cars were supposed to be there) There s probably more that could be added to this, and ma y be more will be but these are the details as I.saw them. The McNair group is a good group to travel with. They are all smart and have pretty stable personalities They are responsible adults and at the same time still college students with college student issues Being a leader in group travel in gene ral is a challenge. The more organization the better but things can change and initiative mu s t be taken. While on this trip I was surprised that this was the first time in Atlanta for many of the students And for others it was the first time really getting a chance to look at another university I know that for at least for one student, it was his first time spending the night in a hotel. And for other students this was the first time they had ever ridden on a s ubway One might assume, as I did, that high performing students at a large
90 university have a lot of external exposure, whether minorities or not. But because USF draws most of its students body from the local area, and because these students tend to come from lower income families, their exposure is often not that vast. This is why exposure in the form of trips like this one is crucial to their academic growth and ability to see themselves in other settings. I am glad that I was able to be a part of this exposure for this handful of students Overall this trip was very useful and students often referred to it as one of the highlights ftheir year They got to meet with departmental Professors see other campuses, and envision themselves in a different academic setting. Several students left Atlanta wanting to go back there for Graduate School. The Summer Institute Though I had originally not planned to stay on after the Spring '98 semester I am glad that I did continue my internship until the end of the McNair Summer Institute This is the crux of the program when students are the most deeply entrenched in what the program is about. The Summer Institute is designed to give the students six weeks of graduate level work and research While students are participating in it, the Summer Institute is one of the most complained about activities But when finished, students applaud the program. This is because it is intentionally rigorous Usually there is some competition to get into the Summer Institute. With only fourteen students this past year and three students not being able to participate for extraneous reasons, everyone else was able to participate The Institute consists of a class in research methods and another class in research technical writing These courses are each two hours and meet three times a week-Monday, Wednesday, and Friday
91 Students are also provided with a GRE preparation course which meets Tuesday and Thursdays from six to nine p m Beyond these classes, students are also expected to attend various seminars (which were my responsibility to arrange) that are designed to enrich their academic experience And another important part of the Summer Institute experience is developing a research proposal under the direction of Faculty Research Mentors The students are paired with Professors in their fields with whom they have to develop a proposal on research that they plan to conduct the upcoming year. Students participating in the institute are provided with on-campus housing and given stipends that total $1200 Attendance at Summer Institute classes and events are enforced through a strict penalty system that charges students money for not showing up. An example is a mandatory $25 for missing a GRE class. This past year the Summer Institute seminars that I arranged included : 1) an outing to see the Broadway show "Tap Dogs" at the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center, 2) a seminar on using Powerpoint and presenting research, 3) a Myers-Briggs test, 4) A ropes" course, 5) a talk on stress and test anxiety, and 6) a talk on preparing for graduate school. All of these seminars were well attended and enjoyed especially the show, and the ropes course The ropes course is basically an activity that sponsors teamwork Students are grouped together and given various challenging activities that requ ire them to work together to accomplish a set goal. The Myers-Briggs test is a personality test which gives its takers a description of their strengths and weaknesses. I was skeptical of it but it proved to be interestingly correct though it may be a little "one size fits all such as horoscopes tend to be.
92 Because of the small number of students this year in the Summer Institute participants were able to really bond with each other-whereas in larger groups, cliques tend to form and smaller groups of students often do not get to know others in the larger group Some students in previous years complained about competitiveness in the Institute. One older student had this to say: When I came in it was a very competitive year. There were 33 of us and only about 23 of us could make it to the Summer Program The idea that we had to compete against each other put me on a defense And everyone kind of developed their own little cliques I think a lot of negative experience had only been through the Summer Program It was very competitive and everybody wanted to go to California At first I didn't really care but I felt myself caring more and more as the Swnmer went on. Though some do not like the compe titi on, the experience of this type of competition is intended as a motivating aspect that makes students strive to do better work. Students this past year still had competition as to who went on what trips It is important that students experience competition as preparation for graduate school -but still experience the power of working together absent of spite, malice, or fear of racial tension For minority students in predominantly white institutions it can be a refreshing experience to be judged against a group of students without concerns about extraneous reasons for scoring-such as inadvertent race-inspired consideration. The culminationofthe Summer Institute is the Summer Research Symposium. This is where students in the Summer Institute present their research using the Powerpoint program, in front of an audience of invited guests, faculty and other students There are three faculty judges who rate the presentations and from these ratings s tudents are chosen who will present at national conferences over the Summer and in the
93 upcoming academic year Though many scramble to learn Powerpoint at the last minute and stay in the office the night before until early in the morning, finishing and practicing their presentations, they are usually very impressive In fact, after viewing the presentations this past year, one of the university Vice Presidents requested that three students present their research at a Faculty Luncheon Faculty R o l e Model Mentors One of the most important aspects of the McNair Program is the faculty mentoring. Students go through two stages of mentoringthe first being the Faculty Role Model Mentor Upon acceptance to the McNair Program each student is assigned a Faculty Role Model Mentor The only requirement between them and their mentor is that they meet at least four times during the semester. Two of these occasions are to be social and two academically oriented. For this mentor relationship, a Ph .D. of like ethnic affiliation, gender, and discipline is sought. But with a low number of minority professors, it is often a challenge to find a perfect match This past year we were fortunate to have a small number of students, but still there were a few students placed with mentors outside of their discipline In these cases other similarities were sought-as in one case where an African American Professor with five children was matched with a non-traditional African American mother of four though one was in Nursing and the other in African a Studies Students appreciated these relationships When asked about her favorite aspects of the McNair Program, one student stated:
I would definitely say the mentoring getting to know and getting to work one on one with a faculty member that you wouldn't otherwise know Not only in a professional academic setting, but also in a more casual, relaxed setting where they can like, take you too Lunch the conversation i s a lot more relaxed You get to know a lot more about that faculty member. More about their opinions than you would know In just a business type of setting. 94 These mentoring relationships went well and students and Professors met without having to be rem i nded of the commitment to do so. When call i ng to ask Professors if they would like to mentor, I got very few rejections. In fact, I was a little surprised at how favorably some Professors tended to respond. Those who could not mentor had genuine time constraints Looking back at my own college years I was able to develop relationships with professors due to the small size of the college These relationships still inspire me I probably would not have chosen Anthropology if I had not had a professor willing to take time to talk with me and take me to a conference I also had no problem knowing who could recommend me for Graduate School. Students at large schools like USF have a more difficult time getting to know closely This type of mentoring opens options in their minds as to what is attainable, and puts them in contact with inspiring people like themselves who have done what they are setting out to do-people who have overcome the expected academic limits and uninspiring precariousness of being a minority in higher education .. F a c uity Research Mentors The Faculty Research Mentor Relationships are more in depth than the Role Model relationships. Faculty Research Mentors are required to be Faculty in the s tudent s
95 area of study These mentors work with the students during the Summer Institute to supervise them in developing a research proposal. Then in the upcoming academic year, students intern under this mentor for ten hours a actually carrying out research from the proposal they developed Since this was what the second year McNair cl.i(t my cii.rect. involvement with this stage of the mentoring ended with the Summer Institute. But by virtue of being in the office, I was able to observe what Faculty Research Mentor relations were like for some students This mentor relationship is a lot more official than what the students experience in their first year They actually have requirements for work that must be approved by their mentors before they can collect their stipends Because of the more official, work-oriented aspect of this mentor relationship, this is where the complexity of egos come into play. Some students find that they do not like working with their mentor For those who find this out in the Summer Institute, there is the option of switching mentors for the upcoming year There are students each year who opt to do this Reasons range from in research interests and conflicting schedules to not getting along and actual disputes. Usually, this relationship is hardest for the type of student I've described as having the "inflated ego." These relationships are meant to give the students a taste of graduate research and to improve their research skills and experience Though one cannot be certain unless actually told, many students, upon being accepted into Graduate School, commented that they felt the research that they did with McNair was key to their acceptance
96 Counseling Students The majority my time throughout the yea r was spent in one-on-one conversation with students Sometimes appointments would be made, but most of the time students just stop ped by when they happened to be around, or needed something As s tated earlier in this chapter, Jenkins scholars usually have more serious counseling issues than McNair scholars. That was particularly true this past year. Out of the six students with whom I the most time counseling, only one was a McNair student. The rest were Jenkins. This particular McNair scholar is a good student, but mainly needed someone to talk to about relationship issues and major academic decisions On the other hand, the five Jenkins scholars who needed a lot of attention had more serious problems such as depression, failing courses, serious financial debt family problems and personal development issues. I had no previous training in coun s eling Before graduate school I worked for a year in a High School library outside of Washington, DC. There I got to know students but not on a se rious level. Two things that I do have in common with McNair and Jenkins students are that I am not far from their age, and I am also a minority But I am a l so married and a little removed from the undergraduate experience These things gave me the ability to relate and the separation that I needed to be able to speak as an objective authority and give experienced advice One of my biggest fears was that I was not being helpful to the students At times I referred more serious problems to the USF Counseling Center, but I could not make
97 students go there I could only suggest it. I tried to keep Dr. Hall informed and there were times when she requested a meeting with some of the students to counsel them herself. I voice this conce!ll in this next journal excerpt from 2119/ 98 : The ones who are doing great are great but they don't ever come around The only ones I see are basically the ones in trouble. Tianna is a gem I wish I could re-vamp her life At least she comes around and listens Sometimes I think someone else would be better in this job. I'm sure someone would be in various aspects But I think I am also good in various a s pects and attentive to things others wouldn t be Out of the six students that I counseled the most four are female and two are male The two males are African Americans who were in their Junior and Senior years The females were made up of one Hispanic one white (though emphasis is placed on selecting underrpresented students, some white students are selected), and two African Americans with two being Freshman and the other two in their Sophomore and Junior y ears Talking to them I tried to be resourceful and think back to things that had helped me in my own personal development. I recommended books and shared experiences but most of all, I listened and tried not to appear judgmental or condemning R e lati o n s hip s One of the hottest topics for consultation was romantic relationships Perhaps because of my proximity to their ages, and apparent success with dating given m y achieved status of being happily married, I was looked at as a favorable person to talk to Looking back on my own college years I remember how relationships can affect one s motivation and mood Several students just wanted to talk to me about my experi e nces in order to quietly evaluate them against their own And s everal students directly engaged me in conversation about their particular issues
98 Issues ranged from simple I like her/him, what should I do" to marriage proposals and marital problems A couple students both black females, kept me updated on just about every aspect of their relationships The extent to which some students, these two in particular, draw self-esteem from their success in romantic relationships is a little frightening. Especially since one of these young ladies seemed to be prone to abusive relationships. This student, a Jenkins Scholar could be brought to tears and her whole day could be ruined as a result of simply seeing certain individuals on campus In two cases she had individuals "trespassed from campus by the University Police banned from coming on campus as they were not students and had threatened or been abusive to her. One of these was her ex-husband whom she met, married and left because of physical abuse in her first month at USF In attempting to help lift her self-esteem and selfc oncept I tried to be creative besides referring her to Dr Hall who could do better than I in that area. Here is an example : 2 / 24 / 98 I gave her the Maya Angelou tape I'd been listening to called Wouldn t take nothin' for my journey now." I think it is a good tape for her right now. She just broke up with old dude and she needs to positively develop within herself. I like the fact that she listens to the books on tape that f suggest. She has now gone through Possessing the Secret of Joy, Celestine Prophecy, and this one now I hope it is all a help Another student a McNair Scholar, often had marital issues Not a physical or nasty kind of verbally abusive relationship her problems tended to stem from her husband's lack of support of her educational aspirations Being a non-traditional student she had a family to deal with Her husband, apparently resentful of her decision to s pend
99 money on education instead of bring money into the household, often said or did subtle things simply to make things harder for her. Luckily, he was inadvertently inspiring her to be successful in spite of himself. But at times the day to day ribbing did take it's toll and she did need some support and simple encouragement from friends in the office Most relationship problems were nothing out of the ordinary But these relationships or lack of them, must be seriously considered when trying to access factors affecting a student's motivation and mood Family Issues A few students frequently had family problems that they needed to talk with someone about. Because USF is basically a commuter school, many of the students come from around Tampa area and may still live at home or still be very involved with the goings on there. As one might imagine, a higher percentage of the problems were existent in the lives of Jenkins Scholars who were specifically chosen by the degree of their hard s hips But several McNair Scholars also had very serious situations. Older non-traditional students and second year McNair students did not always come to me with their problems, but Dr. Hall would meet with me and fill me in on important issues in order that I might avoid tasting my foot, and understand the depth of some of the situations. In these meetings I learned things like : I) one of non-traditional McNair student's sons was on trial for murder and being faced with the death and 2) two other McNair scholars had alcoholic father's-one of whom was abusive and when that scholar fought back, he pressed charges and had her spend a month in jail in the middle of the semester-she still did well academically in spite of that and the fact
100 that she also had a son to take care of. Just looking at these students, one would not surmise these kinds of issues to be factors in their lives Their faces, and their ability to do good work, showed no signs of trouble. Other students were not so successful balancing family pressures and academic achievement. These students were almost always Jenkins Scholars McNair Scholars are chosen based on their proven ability while Jenkins Scholars come straight from high school and go through all the phases of adjustment to the university. One student was pressured by the need to take care of her younger sibling, while another had a hard time being away from her son who was with her mother. At times these issues were serious, and at other times they were used as a crutch and an excuse for not doing well. I tried to be encouraging, but most of the time I referred these issues to Dr. Hall. Financial Debt Financial debt was a bigger issue than I expected College is typically the time of the first credit card and for some students this can be dangerous Generally students found themselves in debt because of family responsibility or because of unfrugal spending The problem of credit card debt hit Jenkins Scholars especially. As Freshman, many were unable to resist the lore of credit card offers that can be stumbled upon at campus activities where applications can be filled out in exchange for a free t-shirt New Jenkins Scholars walk on campus with everything paid for, plus a stipend, and feel no reason to fear applying for credit cards that they can easily get. Unfortunately younger students tend to be naive when it comes to using credit cards and in a couple cases scholars have found themselves thousands of dollars in debt.
101 Having been from underprivileged backgrounds, some students feel the need to purchase rather expensive clothing in order to dismiss negative assumptions from other students as to their inferiority due to their lower economic status. For the first time many of these students are able to buy what they want after a lifetime of going without. They may also be covering up feelings of inadequacy due to comparing themselves with students on campus from wealthier backgrounds The close proximity of the mall does not help. It could be said that they are gathering the necessary symbols of prosperity in order to gain entrance into more affluent social networks and take advantage of that social capital for self-advancement, but in most cases it is just a case of over-spending on frivolous items. Other students run into crises where their only bail-out is to go into debt. In some cases students are sending some of their financial aid money home to help support their family If a car breaks down or an uninsured accident occurs, they have no reservoir of support This problem with financial debt was an issue that arose in conversation No student actually came to me to talk about it. But once I found out one student's situation, I started asking others and found similar scenarios I saw that a few students were living beyond their means and paying for it in unnecessary stress and frustration, and literally in high interest rates Seeing this I started talking with individual students about the importance of paying credit cards in full every month and keeping only one or two cards at a time. With a couple students I broke out a calculator and showed them exactly what they were spending opposed to what they might have otherwise I'm happy to say that at
102 least two students took some serious initiative in solving their credit card debt and later told me that their situations had improved D epress ion / Motivation Several students McNair and Jenkins, suffered from occasional bouts with depression and difficulty in motivating themselves McNair Scholars were usually able to cope but in the case of at least two Jenkins Scholars, depression and lack of motivation proved scholastically damaging Sometimes these problems stemmed from relationship issues and/or family situations At other times it was sparked by a bad grade or incident. It is frustrating to not be able to pinpoint whether your own inadequacy, racial contempt or objective disagreement and d i s-like is at the root of bad grades, bad interaction with Professors and/or bad relations with other students I tried to be there and help s tudent work through particular issues If something was not easily reconciled, or did not seem just, I informed Dr. Hall of the situation and she took care of it from there. I know of no serious racially-based incidents happening with the students while I was working with them. But at times racial attitudes within the university were expressed-as in the case of the Black Emphasis Month Committee being allocated less than half of what the University Lecture Series paid for Patrick Buchanan to speak, for all of their activities and speakers within the month In order to motivate students I tried to give them a greater feel for the context of their education and their responsibility to their communities I wrote little histories of African Americans and Hispanics in United States Higher Education and passed these
103 out to them I also tried to give them a better understanding of themselves by attempting to give them a broader understanding of the world around them and their particular perspective of it, and present place in it. In my office I had a poster of a picture of the world taken from outer space. This is what I used as my backdrop for my discussion on perspective Most of these students have not traveled widely or experienced even an introduction to anthropology class In my Fall 1997 Jenkins Report I wrote : I want the students to get used to the fact that they are going to hear from me I do not want students to feel that they are out on their own I also will try to make sure that they do not feel too much pressure from m y demands and requests to the point that they react negatively to what we are trying to do I want to emanate an attitude of persistence and genuine concern for the students so that they will understand that there is a dependable genuine interest in their academic progress There were two African American male Jenkins Scholars in particular that I was interested in motivating Both were in their last two years and had done well when they first got to the university, but fizzled out somehow into consistently failing grades In the next chapter I profile one of these students and his situation The Year's end Though I openly told everyone that I was only working with the programs for the length of my internship, many students and other staff from different programs were surprised to hear that I was actually going to stop working as of June 19th Reactions were varied To some it did not matter To others it was a disappointment. And a
104 couple students asked me to stay. Enough seemed disappointed and asked me to stay to at least make me feel that I had done a few things right. The McNair Scholars from the Summer Institute presented me with two $25 gift certificates to Outback Steakhouse. They didn't have to do that and I greatly appreciate that they did. Hindsight In hindsight, my regrets are mainly with my lack of constructive involvement in the Jenkins Program The Jenkins Program is not a program with structured activities like McNair. In fact, besides receiving money and having use of office facilities and the support of the office staff, the Jenkins Scholars involvement in structured programs as a group consists of a beginning of the year welcoming reception, a tour of Publix headquarters and dinner at the Jenkins family's country club, and a trip to see the Orlando "Magic" basketball team play a home game I had no involvement in any of these beyond making sure students knew the dates and times. At the beginning of the year I saw this lack of programming as a flaw and set its correction as one of my goals, but I soon found myself too busy with other responsibilities to really be able to do anything about it. Therefore, just as other years the Jenkins scholars only saw each other at these three events and in passing, unless they had become friends This is a waste of a valuable resource for them-the resource of each other They simply cannot be thrown into the university and left to flounder about without serious guidance The Freshmen need help in their adjustment from High School and the upper classmen need guidance in making plans for after graduation. And most of the students need some serious counseling. I regret not having the time to give to them
105 Another regret is the frustration of not having been able to prevent the failure of some students. This past year four Jenkins Scholars lost their scholarships and two more ended the year on last-chance" probation I spent a lot of time talking with these students (except for one of the four whom I tried to get in touch with but never met she si mply dropped out of school for some reason and failed all of her Fall semester classe s and never contacted or came by the Jenkins office) The students who lost their sc holarships were already on probation when I started working with the programs, and the two who ended the year being on probation were freshmen who had simply done poorly We tried tutoring and bi-weekly meeting s, but something was missing. On more than a few occasions I was lied to by the students about how they were doing in their classes. They would t e ll me at the mid-tern that everything was fine and then fail the course. Once I saw this pattern I informed Dr Hall and she made tutoring mandatory for these s tudent s, but th ere was no real leverage for enforcement. O ur office was not res ponsible for cutting the checks. Instead, on several occasions students would make tutoring appointments and not show up for them In hindsig ht I can truly say that thi s program and the s tudent s in it need some serio us attention. It is ironic that a program doing as poorly as Jenkins and a nother doing as well as McNair are run by the same office and by the same people. Later in this thesis I will make suggestions about how the Jenkins Program can be improved In the following chapter I write about eight students who exhibit varying aspects of what one encounters when working with minoritie s in higher education at majority white in s titutions These profiles show real life examples of students who deal with the
106 issues addressed in the literature on a daily basis This is done so that the reader will hopefully gain an empathetic connection to the reality that individuals deal with and not maintain an abstract, distanced view to these issues and how they affect individuals. These profiles exhibit some of the frustrations that students feel when dealing with factors such as financial difficulties, non-inclusive curriculums, un-involved faculty, isolation, lack of positive mentoring and racism both before and during college. These profiles are also meant to show positive impacts that programs like McNair and Jenkins, can have Programs that aggressively work to counter the obstacles that minority students face by providing access to vital networks of protective and social s upport positive role models, and financial advice and help for their students, can have an immeasurable value to the student's overall social adjustment and academic achievement.
V. STUDENT PROFILES "Black Immorality in NDL I" Here some lucky ones made it through But most true thoughts were misdirected and belated Of course, the insecure ones aren't you? Who were they how could they why should they why would they? Tum these heads around Lead us the wrong way. With such methods most sublime, make us their slaves Keeping us down Not teaching u s ourselves, is their successful way to make us see defeat, before we ve started Sometimes I wonder about us who made it through. 107 I wrote this song/poem in the Fall of my year at Morehouse College r was happy to be there and anxious to learn what the school had to teach me At the same time I was resentful to the basic noninclusive, "canon" oriented educational structure that exists in this country I was resentful for not having been educated about the world and its many people And more specifically I was resentful of a curriculum which : I) pretends that the black experience has only been marginal in this country ; 2) purports that Africa is a no-man's safari; 3) acts as though that the African diaspora does not exist or is much smaller and less unimportant than it actually is; 4) belittles the importance and contributions of African history, and assigns many highlights of that history to other more acceptable civilizations ; 5) deliberately hides much of African history ; 6) and glorifies Europe and what has become to be known as Western Civilization at the expense of truth and righteousness.
108 NDL I was a Montgomery County, IviD High School English requirement. I do not remember what the NDL stood for, though the L more than likely stands for literature But that is not important. The importance is in the line "sometimes I wonder about us who made it through." Minorities in higher education are those who made it through They've made it through what I've called the basic, noninclusive, "cannon" oriented educational structure that exists in this country But through to what. Many may accuse higher education of just being a more advanced level of the same Though that may be true in some instances, higher education is also a haven for truth where a vast array of subjects are studied in greater depth. For the first time many students are challenged to think critically about issues such as race social class, and world economic systems. In my opinion, I was very fortunate My undergraduate experience was at a Historically Black College where I was not frustrated by daily racial subtleties I did not have to wonder to what extent my race affected my grades, relationships with professors, social adjustment or even my right to matriculate. What I did question, as seen in this poem was the after effects of mis-educat i on In my thinking, to be under-developed is more dangerous than to be undeveloped Mis-education is under-development. And to be underdeveloped is to be kept from one's true potential and enlightenment. Students are under-developed to varying degrees depending on their schools and family and cultural backgrounds. For some it may spawn an incredulous thirst for the truth. For others it may inspire motivation based on false assumptions and unworthy goals such as simple monetary gain at the expense of others. And for others it may kad
109 to personal problems such as depressionor manifest in deficient relationships and/or character There is no way of formalizing what will be the result for what individual. No one is immune but not all are affected the same In this chapter I have written about eight students who exhibit varying aspects of what one encounters when working with minorities in higher education at majority white inst i tution s. These profiles show real life examples of s tudent s who deal with the iss ues addressed in the literature on a daily basi s These profiles exhib i t some of the fru s tr a tions that students feel when dealing with factors such as financial difficultie s, non-inclusive curriculums un-involv e d faculty, i s olation lack of positive mentoring and racism both before and during college These profiles also give testimony to the benefits of programs, like McNair and Jenkins that aggressively work to counter these difficulties and to provide access to vital networks of protective and social support posit ive role models and financial advice and help for the i r students These are fictitious names but the y are the stories of real students I did not decide to profile these particular s tudents based on their having unusual circumstances or overly exemplary records Instead I chose students with whom I had become closely acquainted over the year. One thing that I learned while working for the program is to nev e r underestimate the ordeals of any student. Still I was surprised to hear what s ome of these students had to say especially since I counted myself as knowing them well. Because my process for selecting students was informal I do not ha v e equal representation of students who I ve categorized as being either superstars", inflat e d egos", panic-prone", needy", or non traditional. Scenarios of students who
ll 0 exemplify these characteristics are given in the preceding chapter Typologies are nice for setting a framework for discussion, but as these profiles show, people are more complex than typologies and often fit into more than one category. Most of these students are superstars" and/or "needy They all are the kind of people that are easy to befriend Sandra Greene (McNair Scholar) Sandra was one of the students who I got to know the most. She was one of the fourteen McNair scholars admitted in the Fall of 1997 She fits characteristics of two categories worked out in the previous chapter She is needy" to the extent that she seems to have latched onto the office for a source of day to day support, inspiration and consultation She spent a lot of time conversing on her process of choosing a major and setting a course for graduate study. We also spent just as much or more time talking about her personal relationships with men. She is a "s uperstar" in that she can always be counted on to do well academically, to be present at events, and to be on time or at least have a good reason why not. Because Sandra stays so closely connected with the office, she keeps abreast of what is happening and can be counted on to inform other students For a time after the Summer Institute, Sandra even worked in the McNair/Jenkins office as a student aide. Sandra also carries herself well and for that reason, was chosen to serve as mistress of ceremonies for the Spring 1998 McNair Awards Ceremony From these facts one might classify her as a "needy superstar."
I I I Sandra grew up with her mother in West Palm Beach Florida Both of her parents are West Indian but she was born in New York. Her parents separated from an abusive marriage when she was a child. Sandra has not had communication with her father in about ten years. Communication with her one sibling her older brotherhas also been minimum. Though he stayed with her and her mom sporadically for the past nine years he has been incarcerated for his part in an armed robberyhe was just released earlier this year and is now in DC with her father. Sandra spent her Elementary School years in what she describes as the "ghetto", living in a one bedroom apartment with her mother. Then, around the time she started Junior High they moved two a nicer neighborhood though still "rough", and were able to find a bigger apartment. In this neighborhood were the children with whom Sandra spent her adolescent years. Of them she says few finished High School. Instead many became teenage parents were a rrested, or may have been shot. She does not know of anyone from there who has been able to advance as far academically as she has. When asked what made the difference in her life she credited her mom who would never let her hang out", and would always take her to the library, or bring home books for her to read. Due to her mother s persistence and her own academic capabilities Sandra was able to attend a small, culturally diverse, magnet High School. Throughout High School Sandra worked in the mall and gave her pay checks to her mom. She did not perform up to her academic potential because of time spent working, and maybe more because she was easily swayed by what others thought of her So instead of going to college right after high school, Sandra, who had graduated High School with a 2.8 GPA started
112 working She always knew she wanted to go to college but could not afford to attend and was not scholarship material. In the year after high school Sandra worked in the mall and also did some small work as a runway model. Her mother had been a model in New York and Sandra was interested, but never wanted to model for a career Instead, her life took a different route when she came to USF to vis it a friend of hers. Her friend put her in touch with an admissions counselor and he helped to get her into USF through the Student Support Services program. In her first year at USF Sandra earned one B. All the rest of her grades were A's She did so well that she was honored as being the Student Support Service's Student of the Year", and chosen as the USF Foundation's Most Outstanding Female Freshman ." Sandra was happy to be in school and quickly got involved in as much as she could In her fir s t year she j oined the Caribbean Cultural Exchange, the Black Student Union became a Campus Compact and Adopt-A-School Volunteer became president of the Africana Studies Club, and was voted Miss Black and Gold" by the USF chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc from which she went on to win first place in State and Southern Regional Miss Black and Gold competitions When asked about her motivations, Sandra commented that she always looks ahead to the future and envisions where she wants to be, and what it takes to g e t there She admitted that she does get down at times in her day to day campus life : A lot of the black students started leaving My roommate transferred It was just crazy It was really hard for me and I started feeling like I was the spokesperson for my whole race I still have classes where I'm the only Black person in there and everyone looks at me as the spokesperson
Even sometimes in the library I'm the only black person in the elevator or I'm the only black person on the floor studying It just feels weird to me Sometime it can be very discouraging but sometimes it can be very encouraging likeI'm going to do this 1 13 In fact the lack of black students and black professors is part of why Sandra chose to major in Africana Studie s But this choice has not been easy Considered a soft discipline with few a v enues for career development, Sandra had to constantl y repel condemnation by others about her choice of major Upon entering the McNair Program she was going to be a Speech Pathology major. But through connections with her Role Model Mentor an Africana Studies professor Sandra learned more about what she can do with her major and has decided to go as far as a Ph .D. in Africana Studie s Sandra has had to work her whole time in college and has even taken it upon herself to send money home She passed up an opportunity to model with the Ebon y Fashion Fair fashion show that travels across the nation in order to s tay in school. she chose to join the Golden Ke y and Phi Eta Sigma National Honor Societies and to pursue the McNair Program. From what she'd heard from friends alread y in the program, she knew it going to be hard work but also knew that McNair s tudents do receive stipends and help in applying to graduate school. Just starting her second year as a McNair Scholar Sandra is happy with th e McNair Program and describe s it as a little family within the university Currently in the process of applying to graduate school, Sandra plans to enter into a M.A. or Ph D program in the Fall of 1999
114 Kara Stipe (McNair Scholar) Kara is a definite super-star ." She is also a student who has kept close connections with the officenot so much for support as for stable friendships and networking Kara has always known exactly what she wants to do -go to law school. As a result of her McNair research experience she also wants to get a master's degree in Health Administration Kara also worked in the McNair office this past Summer before leavin g for her joint law and master's degree program Kara was born in the Bahamas and raised in Aruba until the age of ten Because her parents were on vacation in the Bahamas from their native Aruba, Kara has citizenship in both countriesbut not yet in the U.S. When she was ten, Kara's family moved to Miami due to a job opportunity of her father s and for her older siblings to have more choices for college Kara basically had a happy childhood in a supportive family setting Though one might not find her situation usual. The youngest girl in her family, Kara is the sixth child out of seven All of these siblings were raised in the same house but three are not her mother's biological children. In fact they are children that her father had with two other women and that her mother took in as her own because her father wanted to raise all of his children in his house This family arrangement worked until after the death of her father while Kara was i n high school. A diabetic Kara s father went into insulin shock and fell into a coma before being treated He awoke once, as if to say goodbye and then fell into a coma again and died This happened right before Kara s sixteenth birthday Kara credit s her
115 father as having held the family together and points to the time after his death as when the household became "messed up." The family became less cohesive and money problems started to arise. Her family had never been wealthy and partly depended on the use of a rotating credit association, which they call a partnership, to get their house. Kara s family stressed scholastic achievement for all of their children and as a result, Kara is an excellent student. For High School Kara went to an International Business magnet school to which she had to ride two hours on the bus each way In spite of her family s low income, her father s death, and her distance from her High School, Kara performed very well in High School and was voted Student Council President and "Most Likely to Succeed." Though having a successful High School career, Kara got off to a very bumpy start as far as her college education. Kara first enrolled in the University of Miami. She had received a scholarship there but found out that it was only partial. Because she nor her family had three thousand dollars, she had to sit out the Fall semester Disappointed and embarrassed over this set-back, Kara joined the Navy out of desperation after receiving a flier in the mail about money for college. But not really anxious to leave she told the Navy that she wanted to experience a full semester of college first and had her departure date pushed back to June At the same time Kara was making her military plans, her family had told a friend of her situation That friend gave Kara the number of an admissions counselor (the same individual who is consistently revealed to have played a major role in many of the
ll6 McNair Scholars' decisions to attend USF] whom she called and set up an appointment. As a result Kara was able to attend USF that Spring semester. Things seemed to be going fine for Kara. She was in school on scholarships and loans and living with friend from Miami But the excitement of being in school soon faded due to the rise of a couple unexpected situations. Kara was not savvy about USF procedures and thought that professors took the responsibility for dropping students from their classes As a result she did not drop classes she thought she had, and earned a 1 99 GPA her first semester. On top of this, Her roommate moved out without paying rent and left her holding the lease to an apartment she could not afford Fortunately, Kara was able to use her military departure papers as a way out of her lease, and her lack of U.S citizenship as a way out of her commitment to join the Navy Detennined to succeed academically, Kara went straight into Summer school taking a full load of classes and rece ive d a 4 0 GPA. And until her very last semester at U SF Kara received nothing lower than a 3 5 GPA. For the rest of her time at USF Kara was also very much involved in campus activities Some of her awards and involvements besides the McNair Program are participating with the President's Gold Council, serving as an officer of the Order of Omega Honor Society, working with the Institute on Black Life serving as an officer of her sorority, working with the National Urban League serving as an officer of the Pan Hellenic Council, being a member of the Golden Key National Honor Society, t he Caribbean Cultural Exchange, and the Black Student Union Kara also found time to volunteer at the Joshua House Paint Your Heart Out Tampa Bay Habitat for Humanity,
117 and the Adopt-A-School program As a result of all of these achievements Kara was honored at the USF Spring 1998 commencement with the one of the highest awards given by USF to a graduating Senior, out of four thousand graduating Seniors that tenn One can see that Kara was definitely involved in a lot and showed a great ability to balance social commitment s and academic achievements But her collegiate years have not been without some stress A double major of Africana Studies and English were not problems for Kara Instead issues arose outside of school. Her brother who had gone to medic a l school and was in his res idency was diagnosed with cancer. His s ickness became more serious in her last semester in which Kara made several trips to see him Also in that last semester, within the period of one week, Kara found out that a friend and fellow McNair Scholar, had committed suicide and that another friend with whom she had worked with in a volunteer program, had an unexpected blood clot which caused her to slip into a coma and die within a couple days. Fortunately, the McNair staff were able to be there for her during thi s period There is a lot more that could be said about Kara Her story is a testimony of detennination strength and will. She is inspiring to those who know her and a good friend Now, in her first semester of law school Kara is working to make her dreams a reality Charles Jorden (McNair Scholar) Charles is a non-traditional" studentthough he is still young and able to fit in easily with the rest of the students Actually, he and I are the same age-25. Once we
118 realized this it was easier for us to get to know each other and to establish a friendly rapport which I hope will last indefinitely Born in Belize Charles did not come to the United States until he was six years old Both of his parents are Belizean. But they were teenage parents-Charles being the second child, born one year after the first to an eighteen year old mother. With two young children to support his mother left them with family and moved to Brooklyn, New York to liv e with her mother and find work. E v entually Charles s mother found work and love In New York she met and married a Jamaican man who was able to help her bring her two sons over from Belize Already having three children himself they now had a family of five children with an additional birth of a baby girl a few years later-the classic yours mine and ours." With his step-father working for Domino Sugar Company and his mother working in various cooking jobs, his parents were able to afford a house, though it was still in the same neig hborhood as projects (neither parent has a college degree) Charles descr i bed it as still being in the hood." From his adjustment to the U.S ., Charles most vivid memory is of being yelled at by his second grade teach about how to pronounce the number three. As is common with a Caribbean accent Charles's three sounded more like he was saying tree But he s oon got over that through fear of this particular teacher Charles went to public schools in Brooklyn He did well in elementary school and by the time he was ready for junior high, his mother wanted a change for him The neighborhood was getting progressively wor s e and the neighboring schools were
119 reflective of that fact. Having experienced problems with guns and fighting and drugs while her older children were at that junior hig h Charles's mother s uccessfully petitioned to have him attend school out of the district. So for Junior High and High School, Charles attended two of the better public schools in Brooklyn that happened to be in majority white areas Charles felt comfortable at these schools, played a lot of spo rts and did well. For High School he was admitted into an honors law program (a kind of magnet program), and he eventually graduated High School with a 3.3 GPA. A far as his home life, Charles credits his mother for having kept him motivated He regards his step-father's influence in his life as having been rather negative Charles describes his step-father as having been rather abusive toward s the childrenverbally an d a little physically. The word Charles u ses i s bully ." Charles remembers one incident from his teenage years that changed his r e lation ship with his step-dad: I was 15 and I was up in my room doing somet hing. I was the only one home except for my mom and my s tep-dad Everybody else just happened to be gone doing whatever at the time. All of a sudden I heard my mom scream, and that shocked me because I'd never heard her scream before So I opened my door and I heard th em yelling. l stood there listening for a minute to hear what it was about. My mom wanted to go somewhere and my step-dad didn't want her to go. I think at that time she was feeling a little more independence from him She had a job and was making her own money and bought her own car and he was a little jealous of it. He liked her being dependent on him. Anyway, all of a s udden she screamed again a nd without even thinking I just reacted I ran downstairs and yelled, What is going on, what are you doing!" He was holding her ann or something and he just stopped, and for the first time, I actually saw fear in his eyes He just said calmly that they were arguing but I was breathing all hard and everything. But I went back up to my room and my mom went to where she wanted to go. Then about thirty minutes later, after he'd had time to think about it, he came up into my room to talk about it. He just said that ifl ever thought about coming between him and my mother again I could just leave So since
that time I always had it in my mind that I would get out of there as soon as I could. 120 Charles's step-father was strict and his older siblings also were forced out of the house because of his rules, but looking back Charles feels that he and his one full brother were especially resented by his step-dad because they were not his children, but instead reminders that his wife had children with another man before him Charles never really imagined leaving New York, but his mother had different plans The neighborhood was getting worse with the height of crack cocaine and Charles's mother made plans to m o ve the family to Port Charlotte Florida She and his step-dad bought a hous e there and his senior y ear in High School Charles was forced to move to Florida his step-dad stayed behind to work until retirement. Charles was upset about this (!.nd did not talk to his mother for almost a year. After High School, Charl e s moved to Tampa to attend the Tampa Technical Institute Being an excellent artist, Charles majored in Graphic Design and earned an Associates Degree Charles worked in that field for a couple years, but the company he was working for went under, so he then got his business license and was self-employed doing portraits and paintings for over a year While doing these jobs, Charles always took a course or two at Hill s borough Community College just to expand his mind He took a little psychology and sociology But soon found that he wanted more of a challenge, and wanted to master computers About his motivation to do this Charle s s tated : I think when people see me they see a very quiet person. But if you talk to me you'll find that I'm very competitive. And I like Challenges They drive me. I've done the art thing and some other things so I wanted to do
something that I knew nothing about. So I decided that I'd either be a doctor or an Engineer. I looked and you have all these calculus courses and this stuff that people hate to do I chose it because it was the hardest thing Most people like to be in their comfort zone. But for me, I've never been in a comfort zone. It's like I've always been in a war zone. I've been fighting from since I can remember. After I left Brooklyn I didn't have people shooting every five minutes and I didn't see people on the ground bleeding every five minutes. And I carne here and It's like, almost Paradise. So I think, in my mind, this was a way of keeping it going. People talk about post traumatic stress disorder for people who have been in war. When yo u are going in the streets I don't see much of a difference In you mind it's still the same type of war attitude. And that's why I chose something hardwhere I would have to fightbecause I've always had to fight. I'm still fighting I'm not done yet. Once he decided to major in Computer Science Charles took twenty-one hours a 121 semester and finished his second Associates degree He then applied and was accepted to USF as a Computer Engineering major Happy with his choice to attend USF, Charles has adjusted well. He explains that the major difference is that he's found that he's had to teach himself with little help from professors who are more worried about their research than teaching. Charles explains that he has found a subtle racism existent in the Engineering department as far as lowered expectations and professors who feel that it is a waste of their time to talk to him He relates one story: One time I went to the one particular professor's office hours And I asked him a question and I also wanted to discuss my grade The tone of his voice was very rude and the way he answered the question was as if he was trying to make it seem like I was just stupid And then when I left -I left because I got frustrated and I started feeling myself getting mad-and just the way he said "alright bye" I stood outside of his office for a while just to cool down and think. And then in walks this white female student and the attitude is totally different Oh yeah, sure come in have a seat" and she's asking him questions and he's answering a lot of the same questions that I had asked-freely And just kind of joki ng around and kidding like
they were colleagues. That was when I experienced it first hand and saw that it wasn't jus t some black people complaining or whatever 122 Charles expresses that the general tone that he gets from most of the professors and some students in USF's Engineering Department towards himself and other black students is "What are you doing here-we don't know why they are here, we don t think they could do this, it must be a mistake It is as if they have all taken The B e ll C urv e to heart There are very few African American students in the Engineering Department and he s ays that in talking with them, he has found this shared consensus, especially among the black males. The one serious source of support that Charles has found in the Engineering Department is the Minority Engineering Program It is designed to give academic support to minority students in engineering and the lady who runs the program is very helpful and eas y to talk to about problems with profe s sors and other students As far as the McNair Program, Charles credits it with giving him one of the best experiences of his life. He went to present research done through the program at a conference in Wisconsin after the Summer Institute of 1997 In his words it was Ju s t amazing to see all these different people from different schools to see the talent th a t black people have It was energizing I'd never experienced that before that experience will inspire me forever." In looking at his life Charles describes himself as a phoenix-the mystical bird that rises up from its ashes Growing up he thought he might not live to be an adult and he is now living a life that he didn t even know existed Now Charles pla ns to !:,Tfaduate in a year and a half, do an internship this upcoming Summer, and eventuall y earn a law
123 degree, or an MBA, or a masters in Electrical Engineering His dream goals are to own his own business and to sell his artwork over the Internet and to use his money to help others Charles s brothers and sisters have also been successful. His oldest step-brother is married and has a daughter His second step brother is married, has a college degree a house and kids. His full brother lives in North Carolina working in advertising And his younger sister is going to UCF to major in Business in January Another step-sister lives and works in Boston Unfortunately, the family did lose one sibling to the streets Charles's third step-brother was murdered Christmas Eve of 1995 He had gotten involved with drugs and was found with several gunshot wounds to the head Talking of this is still visibly hard for Charles, who has fortunately used this incident to put his own life and goals in perspective John Dunlap (Jenkins Scholar) John who I would classify as "needy" is one of the Jenkins Scholars with whom I became most associated during my internship. In particular he is one of the two male black Jenkins Scholars with whom I spent a lot of time but found myself unable to motivate and prevent their losing their scholarships As the year went by we talked more frequently and on occasion, went out to lunch John was born and raised in Miami He was raised in a majority black, lower income neighborhood where his mother, father, and grandmother still live Though growing up in the same vicinity of both of his parents, John did not really get to know his
124 father He is his parents' only child together, but was very young when they got divorced Since then his father has had other children but he does not know them either Part of this ignorance about his father is intentional, since he has always been close to his father's mother. John and I talked one day about why he does not have relations with his father John's father grew up in Miami and actually went away to college in Washington DC But he quit school, got married, and joined the military After a brief stint in the military John's father, now separated from John's mother, carne back to Miami He worked, but never kept a job for very long And he also did not save any money or attempt to spend any of what he earned on John. For a while, John's father drove a bus for the city of Miami, but that job also ended with his being fired (I don't know if alcohol or drugs was a problem but I suspect they may have been) Now John's father lives in an apartment owned by his mother rent free Still he does not seem to have money or time for John John resents the way his father has lived his life In fact, he stated that one of his major goals in life is to make sure that he does not turn out like his father. He admits having a l ot of bitterness over his fathers lack of emotional and economic contribution to his development, and resents the fact that his father seems to act like the child in the relationship so metimes With support from his mother, and his father's mother John was able t o do well in school. Not having schools focu se d on college preparation in his area, John was bused to a High School (about an hour commute one-way). At this majority white school he found himself a little uncomfortable at times but never to the point of it damagin g his academic
125 motivation Thus, he was able to graduate High School with an excellent GPA already having earned some college credits, and a Jenkins Scholarship to USF. Once at the university, John found himself out of his home-life and comfort zone in wh i ch he was able to excel. Besides dealing with his new surroundings, John found himself having to sort out his identity as an African American male, and also as one with an alternative sexual preference. John is one with a demeanor of over-sophistication and meticulous attention to fashion Perhaps this is partly due to his identity stmggle which may have resulted in his being a little insecure John is one who will point out if you or anyone who happens by is wearing pants that need ironing or do not fit right o r go with the shirt This appears to be a way of deflecting his own insecurities on others Unfortunately, attention to detail in fashion or in social standing doe s not tran s mit into doing well in school. John is a Biology major who has had to take Biology I three times and Biology II two times in order to pass His record shows his academic abilities but at USF he seems to have fallen into a lull of academic apathy. In talking about why he has done poorly in his science classes, John stated that he often feels that teachers just expect him to fail, or at least not to do well even with no prior knowledge of him In one case this past year, John's grade was severely damaged in a class over mis-infonn a tion received from study group members. Not finding a supportive environment from faculty or other students he has had trouble motivating himself Counseling John was a little difficult at first because, like other students, he was always very assuring that he was doing well in s chool and socially I soon learned that when he said he was doing well, I needed to actually see test scores due to the fact that he
126 was sometimes doing a lot worse in classes than he admitted As other students, when John did poorly he'd rather have kept it to himself than hear any thing about it from myself or Dr Hall. As of now John has been removed from the Jenkins Program making him the fifth student in four years to not make it through USF as a Jenkins Scholar. However, John is still in school and close to graduation, and is exploring job options. Joy Stevens (Jenkins Scholar) Joy is a bright positive energetic and enthusiastic third year African American stu dent from Jacksonville, Florida ("obviously a superstar"). With both of her parents havin g attended college, she is a rarity among the McNair and Jenkins Scholars especially among Jenkins Scholars who are usually first generation college students Joy grew up i n a majority white, s uburban lower middle class neighborhood outside of downtown Jack sonv ille She grew up with her two parents and older and younger sisters Both of Joy's parents are form Savannah Georgia and went to Savannah State Un iversity. Her mother received degrees in Secondary Education and history, and her father came close to finishing a degree in business In Jacksonville, where her parents have been for almost twenty-five years, her mother works with the Departm ent of Children and Fam ilies dealing with Welfare and Child Support. Her father initially came to Florida to work with a youth program From that h e went onto bartending and catering and eventually opened up his own catering business But his life t ook a turn when he had a nervous breakdown. As it turns out, he is a manic depressive and is on medication for that condition He now works for a medical supply company.
127 Joy feels that her fathers condition is partly chemical, but mainly due to issues he hasn t dealt with from his childhoodissues that she chose not to expound on But her father's condition has not damaged the family Her mom was able to support the family when her father was not working, and she kept any sings of trouble from her children Joy considers her mother a teacher by nature From her earliest memory education was stressed in her household : I remember in kindergarten specifically Although we had no homework the week before school my mom took us to the store and we bought pencils and paper and backpacks and everything. And the rule of the house was that we had to come home with something in our backpacks And to this day I feel that way I go everywhere with my backpack especially ifi'm doing something that's school related because you never know. My mom was real pro-education. she wasn't a tyrant. She never rewarded us or punished us for grades It was more of the idea that she did it and my Dad did it so they expected us to do it. For Junior High and High School, Joy and her sister went to college preparation schools across town These were still public schools but they had higher level clas s es than the schools in their area The bus ride to this school took about an hour and a half one way. They took this ride for a while until their parents started taking them to school because it wa s on their way to work. At the magnet schools Joy says she felt comfort a ble because it was very diverse She stated that she didn t feel singled out because of her color and was very involved in school activities In fact, she describes herself as having been the "extracurricular Queen In High School she was president of her class for two years worked w i th various community service organizations, was on the High School's Advisory Council that met to coordinate policy changes, and participated in the McKnight Achievers
128 Society-an state-wide after school program run by the Florida Education Fund Joy has also always h a d a job since she was fourteeninterning with the Jacksonville Economic Company and Barnett Bank, working as an assistant manager in a men s clothing store, a nd working with Day Care programs. Outside of her family Joy credits a lot of her inspiration as stemming from her involvement with the c hurch Jo y stated I was probably born on a pew I reall y believe that. Every time the church was open we were there every program, every project y outh group young peoples group choir every play ." Her mother was the main one who took her to c hurch Although now starting trainin g to become a Deacon her father did not attend church while she was growing up. In college Joy has continued going to church Since her first year s he h as attended a local African Methodist Episcopalian Church This church is also where seve ral USF students and admini s trators attend and in it, Joy sa y s she has found a g reat network of s upport She sing s in the choir there and taught Sunday School for a while. to me: Joy s decision to come to USF is ra t her different t han mo st. She related this story In high school I had received a full scholarsh i p to Hampton I went to sleep one night and in my dream I woke up and I was already at school and I saw the campus and it wasn t Hampton And in my dream I get my mail and it says Hillsborough County I u s ed to come to Hillsborough county when I was younger When I got up my mom and I figured out there were 2 universities i n Hillsborough County University of Tampa and USF. But in the dream the campus was all green and the University of Tampa is not like that because it's in the city So I applied to USF, and the Jenkins came up and my guidance counselor told me I probably wouldn t get it. That motivated me so I applied and got it.
129 Joy is an individual with a lot of faith, and bases her major decisions on her meditations with the holy. She takes things, such as this dream, as signs from the creator as to how she should direct her life. In talking about her choice of major, Joy refers to following her calling. At first she was a business major. About her change to Elementary Education she says "I' m a humanitarian. In the corporate world there's not room for people like me Its very cold and non-nurturing. Too much politics and I wasn't happy I rather be a poor teacher-and my calling is to teach and to work with children. As far as activities other than church, Joy works for the USF Family Day Care mentors with a program called "Take Stock in Children, and has recently been accepted to the McNair Scholar Program. with adjusting to USF, Joy found the Black Experience Week hosted for incoming African American students to be helpful. There she met administrators and other students with whom she would soon form relation s hips. A s far as being an African American student at USF Joy stated : You know, I really haven t taken time at USF to think about that. I s ee it more as a vehicle You know, I'm only usirig it to get to where I want to be next. There have been issues-I can t remember. They 've been resolved or wo r ked around or whatever I may even go here for grad school but its just a vehicle and there s no reason to get upset with it or to push and fight. Joy says that s he does not have one end g oal. She just wants to be educatin g p e ople and to be a child advocate. She plan s to get marri e d after graduating USF and to po ssibly attend USF for graduate school in E ducation Her fiance is in the military and i s a l s o studying to be a teacher
130 Joy's sisters have also done well in school. Her older sister graduates from Clark Atlanta University this Spring as a psychology major and plans to go on to graduate school. There she was a McNair Scholar and had two of her research projects published And Joy' s younger sister is a Freshman at USF. Joy has advised her to take some time before choosing a major. Joanna Richardson (Jenkins Scholar) Joanna is another one of the Jenkins Scholars who has done well since being at USF. She is self-motivated and able to stand on her own-a quiet "superstar While working in the office I did not get much of a chance to know her because she did not come around often But when she did we were comfortable talking with each other. Joanna was born in Miami but her parents are from Haiti They met and married there and then moved to the U.S in search of a better life In Miami they had three children Twenty years old, Joanna is the middle child having one sister two years older and one brother eleven years younger Joanna describes the neighborhood that she grew up in as being a predominantly black, working class area She did not experience a high degree of crime -though her family's home was broken into twice Both of her parents had a technical education Her father was trained to be a mechanic and her mother was trained to be a cosmetologist. Until when Joanna was in High School her father worked as a mechanic. Then he was laid off and went to school for cosmetolology so that he could work with his wife in the salon that they run out of their house.
131 Because they were both working, Joanna's parents could afford to send her and her sister to Catholic schools up until they graduated High School. Though usually one of the only blacks in her class, or even in the school, Joanna says that she felt well received at all of her schools. Being rather an introvert, Joanna did not participate in many extracurricular activities except for a couple academic clubs. She studied hard and was her High School valedictorian Joanna claims her father as the principal motivation behind her study habits. She remembers once when she was in Elementary School and brought home a bad grade Her father got mad and put her on a study schedule that never really ended until she left home His dream was to become a medical doctor. Joanna appreciates the motivation from her parents, but has come to the point in her academic career where she now says she is doing the work for herself, and not for them. Joanna came to Tampa for college in order to get away from the strict environment of her household As a new Jenkins Scholar, Joanna's first choice of major was Pre-Med. She found that she did not want the doctor's lifestyle and switched to Mass Communications in order to follow her love of writing much to her father's dismay Her career plan as of now is to graduate in May and find a job writing for a magazine "one that deals with real issues and social change." At USF Joanna still remains an introvert. But she has opened up a little A lot of this, she says, is due to the fact that her roommatea friend since High School -is very outgoing and frequently has friends over However, Joanna still refrains from much
132 involvement in clubs and organizations outside of her major She is directed and makes an effort not to get involved in things that might be distracting. In speaking about the Jenkins Scholar Program, Joanna and I discussed what she thought was different about herself, and other Jenkins Scholars who have not done as well academically. We concluded that one cause may be the fact that she is an introvert and not heavily reliant on anyone for support, self-esteem, or confidence in order to achieve her goals. Some other scholars seem to be somewhat needy" and exert a lot of time and effort trying to win friends and find affirmation from others When they do not find the supportive networks that they are looking for, they tend to draw back into apathy and depression which often lead to their academic failure. As far as race affecting her academic adjustment and motivation Joanna says that she has not experienced any differential treatment that she's been aware of. However she does admit to having to defend her identity as a black person at times Because she is very quiet, light skinned, and does very well in school, people tend to be more comfortable accepting her as Hispanic, or something other than African American. They especially have a rough time accepting the fact that her parents are both Haitian they both had white grandfathers Joanna says that even her roommate sometimes makes negative, stereotypical comments about blacks, and does not include her when generalizing about blacks due to the fact that she sees her as different."
133 Two Special Cases The McNair and Jenkins Programs each suffered the tragedy of losing a student this past year Both of these deaths were suicides This is not a common occurrence Dr. Hall could only tell me of two other suicides that she had dealt with over her many years at USF and Sharon could only remember one students's nervous breakdown. Unfortunately death is something that the students do have to deal with In the past two years, n:vo male African American students have been found murdered One was killed by his roommate (not a USF student) in the Spring of 1997 and the other was found dead in the back-seat of his car in the Spring of 1998 These students were not in the Jenkins or McNair Programs but they were known by students in the programs Though still tragic, a suicide is something different than a murder There is wonder and amazement at the pain the individual must have been suffering to want to take his or her own life And there is the guilt and regret of not being able to see the signs and intervene When people you know decides to take their own lives, it can be very disturbing. It is as though there is a common bond beh:veen us all as if we are motivated to some extent simply by seeing others' motivationa common unspoken pact to keep conquering life And when one gives up, it affects all who knew and were connected somehow to that person. Hopefully these two special cases will shed light on the extent and depth of pain that some students face.
Gary Stevens 4/6/98 Damien just came through. Just before he did we found out what the situation apparently was. Evidently Gary's Fiance had just broken off the engagement and he went to the Sunshine Skyway bridge and jumped. His body has not been found yet but apparently there is video of someone jumping, fitting his description around the time he turned up missing. He jumped around 6:45 p.m. That hit me because I was basically there I came back from Sarasota, driving my parents, around that same time because we were back at the home just a little after seven When we got to the highest point on the bridge there was something going on the other side It didn't look like an accidentbut cars were stopped. Then on the way down there was traffic on the other side and an ambulance and a fire truck were going up to the top. I thought nothing of it but thinking to myself what an inconvenient place that was for something to happen. Damien said Gary jumped around 6 :45 Friday evening. That commotion on the other side was the aftermath off his having stopped his car and jumping off of the bridge. 4/19/98 I don't think there was a tombstone there for Gary A collection had to be taken for the expenses of his funeral since his mother lives on welfare alone and his brother is just in the first or second year on High School. I wonder about his brother-Jeff They had different fathers I don't know how, but Gary's father has been dead for some time But Jeff and his mother were in North Carolina for his father s funeral when Gary killed himself That young guy has lost a father and a brother in less than a month I pray that he will be s uccessful in life He had to be helped away from the grave-site by a couple of his family members-he did not want to leave I am bewildered by Gary s death and constantly try to figure out his state of mind and how I could have intervened I wish I could go back in time or something. I'm not a firm believer in a literal heaven and hell as professed in the bible, but I do believe that for a time Gary may be in a kind of hell of regret. If he could see people mourn for him and gain perspective on his life and the problems he had, maybe he would be tormented by regret. At least that s what I felt when looking at his casket. 134 These are excerpts from my journal on the day I heard that Gary Stevens had committed suicide and the day after I attended his funeral. Gary was a second year
135 McNair Scholar at the time of my internship so I did not work with him directly But I had met him and established acquaintance the year before working with the McNair and Jenkins Programs Gary was an excellent student and individual. All of those who knew him were taken off guard by his actions. He seemed to have the future in the palm of his hand He was about to graduate with a Management Information Systems degree and a 3 5 GPA, had a job, and was engaged to be married. But something went wrong Born in Arkansas, Gary moved to Tampa with his mother and younger brother as a child. In fact, he grew up in the shadow of USF in the area called Suitcase City. Though this area is infamous for low income, crime, and school failure Gary was a success. Graduating from Tampa Bay Vocational High School, Gary entered USF with the Black Scholar's Award, the Florida Gold Seal Scholarship, the Undergraduate Registration Fee Scholarship, and a Tampa Bay Male Club Scholarship As a USF student Gary was recognized at Honors Convocations; was an accounting and math tutor; interned with Peoples Gas and the Ford Motor Credit Company; worked part-time at the Center for Urban Transportation Researchwhere he was featured in the "Employee Spotlight" ; participated in the Personal Excellence Program; was a member of the Minority Business Association; served as Vice President of the National Association of Black Accountants; and at the time of his death he was working full-time at a local Temporary Agency As a McNair Scholar Gary excelled and was chosen to present his research at a national conference in Tennessee His career
136 goals were to earn a master s degree in Management Information Systems, become a CPA and ultimately own a busine s s software development firm Thi s is the Gary that everyone knew and loved On top of all of his accomplishments he was extremely polite and friendly but in later reflection, he was al s o reserved and somewhat of a loner Gary had a lot of friendly acquaintances but as far as I know, Damien Jones was his only real friend. Gary s was a story of triumph Growing up with only his mother who was on welfare, Gary came from a very low income background Yet, he succeeded academically and was in line to literall y raise his socio-economic standing Everyone was proud of Gary and was expecting great things from him Maybe the pre s sure of those e x pectations was a part of his problem One can only guess at the pressure Gary must have been facing. He obviously felt responsibility towards his mother and little brother He showed concern for his brother's s cholastic achievement through conver s ation Gary also may have felt financial responsibility towards his fiance who was not a USF student. They lived together close to campus and it was no secret that he had saved up money from the McNair Summer Research Institute to buy her engagement ring After his death other details in his life surfaced Apparently his fiance and his mother were not fond of each other, and Gary was caught in the middle Also, several months before his death, he and his fia nce had some relationship problems from which he had told his mother that he would never let any one get that close to him again and that he had thought about ending it all by jumpin g off the Skyway Brid g e Ironically, a
137 McNair sponsored boat trip with the USF Marine Institute was when he first saw the Skyway bridge somewhat odd for someone from the area One student remembered him say ing that he had never seen it. That s tudent also remembered Gary joking that one would have to be crazy to jump off of that bridge because s/he would surely die. Because he was from such an underprivileged background, Gary had not traveled much In fact his trip with McNair to Tennessee was his first time staying in a hotel. His world literall y s eems to have revolved around the USF and North Tampa communities. I spoke with Gary's best friend Damien soon after Gary's suicide. The y had both been in the office the day before the incident. Gary was waiting for Damien who was in a meeting with Dr. Hall. There were no visible signs of distress though in hinds ight Gary knew what he was going to do That week Gary had made sure to handle all business with his Faculty Mentor in order to recei v e his last check which he said was going to go to fixing his truck. The night after he left the office with Damien they sat in Damien's car and talked Damien, who was having scholastic problems of his own, told Gary his situation At that point Gary broke down and started crying. In Damien's word s he said that "he was weary ." The day of his suicide, Gary apparently went to work, had lunch with his fiance did some grocery shopping, and drove to the Skywa y Bridge Before going to the bridge he left a message on Damien's answering machine simply s tating that everything was going to be okay and that he loved him like a brother. And that was how Gary ended his life To have the power to go back in time would be marvelousto go back and fix whatever was wrong with Gary Looking at his excellent record one notices that he was
138 very busy In fact, one might ask when did he have time to simply enjoy him self as a s tudent. All of his organizational affiliations were career directed He was always working When did Gary have time for himself and to simply expand his horizons In hind-sight I can remember another day about a month before Gary took his life when we ran into each other on c ampus and he seemed to go out of hi s way to explain to me why he had not joined my fraternity He wanted to make it clear that there was nothing personal, but he was so deliberate about it that it s eemed awkward as if he was not going to see me again. I shrugged it off. There were s tudents that I and the other staff were worried about. Ones I'd even thought might be at a point where suic ide mi g ht be on their minds, but I assumed Gary was one of the strong ones. He was a '"superstar and one of the last I would have guessed to hav e done what he did Maria Rodrigues Maria s story is a little different than Gary's Maria was a Jenkins scholar who had just finished her first year at USF When Gary killed himself in fact that particular weekend Maria was one of the students I was worried about. But after I saw that I had mis-judged Gary I figured I might be mis-judging Maria too After all she wa s a de v out Christian and was always in good spirits I wrote this in m y journal after she pa sse d : I knew Maria had a lot to deal with She was the one I thought most l i kel y to do something like this back when Gary did But it seemed like she wa s turning around She did bad last semester but got the whole semester dropped because of the situation with her mom s health She was on probation this Summer but was fulfilling her requirements She had JuSt changed her major and gotten a pretty good job and from what Raquel said she had jus t gotten engaged and was saving for a ring
On the negative side, she was doing poorly in school, was in serious depth over 15 thousand dollars had two sick parents on disability that she felt she was financially responsible for, was dealing with being gay and Christian, and had a little sister and a girlfriend for whom she felt responsible for too, and had some interesting-weird affiliations Raquel said something about her being somewhat involved with a gang called the "Latin Kings., 139 Maria was born in New York but raised In South Tampa by her mom and s tepfather. Contact with her father and younger brother back in Puerto Rico was minimal. As far as income Maria's mother was not working and was involved i n a disability suit against her fonner employer and her step-father was seriously ill with diabetes and almost blind. This meant that the family s income was totally reliant on aid Maria took responsibility for bringing as much money as she could into the household to support herself her parents, and her seven year old sister In High School she worked full-time into the night as a rece ptionist at a nursing home As a receptionist she was able to do her homework and graduate high sc hool with close to a 4.0 GPA. Due to her outstanding academic perfonnance in High School, and her family s financial status, Maria was awarded the Jenkins Scholarship and received a free-ride plu s stipend to USF. Because of her extreme situation Maria also received grants and other aid After the Fall semester it was obvious that something was very wrong with Maria's adjustment to college. I had just started working with the Jenkins Program in the middle of that semester and had not gotten to know her well yet. But her earning a 2 0 GPA warranted me getting to know her quickly The Jenkins Program requires students to receive a 3 0 GPA but gives s tudents probation to improve. Thus Maria was placed on probation, we started meeting every
140 two weeks, and Dr. Hall made her start tutoring for her Calculus I class. As I started getting to know Maria, she started telling me more about herself. She also told me what went wrong her first semester. Evidently, she had given all of her scholarship and grant money to her family and was working forty hours a week delivering pizza to make more money It was against Jenkins Program rules for her to be working and that is why it took her a while to tell me. Later, through conversation with another Jenkins scholar who had talked with Maria and gotten her to open up, I found out that Maria had serious debt totaling over fifteen thousand dollars. With this information, in my next meeting with Maria I got her to tell me about it -I did not confront her with the information but because I knew the s ituation, I could ask the right questions to get her talking Maria s financial problems had started with a car accident that she had in her Senior year of High School. The accident was her fault and she sustained injuries but did not have any in s urance Because of this she had thousands of dollars in medical bills and her car insurance payments were about $250 a month This mounted with her parents not working, and their own growing medical expenses was a large load on Maria. Another aspect of her life, that I did not know about until after her death was her homosexuality She had talked to me at length about a boyfriend she had stopped dating In fact s he was still in that relationship when I first met her and I and Dr Hall advised her to get out of it due to her partner s infidelity and mis-treatment of her. Since then she was hanging tight with a female companion whom I thought was a fellow USF
141 student. Once they had moved in together I found out that s he was actually a Junior in High School. I did not quite know what to do about these things s o I simply passed the information on the Dr. Hall. In hind-sight another Jenkins Scholar did know The y had gone to church together and had fallen out over the iss ue But s he would not tell me w hat it was that caused the rift between her self and Maria This information was soon dwarfed when Maria told me that her mother was told she mi ght have cancer With her mother being already sick and her step-father havin g been gi ven a year to live by doctors Maria was placed in a hard position and having to consider being left as the guardian for her younger sister To add to this her mother's biopsy was postponed due to a s e izure Maria was performing very poorly a cadmically in the Fall seme s ter al s o Thou g h she had tutoring there were at least three instances where she would schedule and then s tand the tutor up. A s a result of all the turmoil in her life she failed classe s a g ain but was able to have the semester dropped due to her personal situation Thus her po s ition a s a Jenkins Scholar was s aved and she was placed on "Last Chance" probationary s tatus f o r Summer School. This meant that if Maria earned anything less than a Bin any clas s durin g Summer School she lost her scholar s hip She shot her self in the mouth a couple weeks after Summer session A. She had received a B in her class S ummary These last two cases exhibit the extreme importance of monitoring the well-being of these students Their apparent strength can not be taken for granted In man y wa y s these two cases contrast, but in some ways they are similar. Both s tudents were from
142 extremely underprivileged backgrounds, and both took the initiative of assuming financial responsibility for their parents, their younger siblings, and their significant other Though they did not know each other, as it turns out, they also lived in the same apartment complex. I later found out from another student that Maria had attended the candle-light vigil held on campus for Gary, though she didn't know him These profiles are meant to give insight into how the issues discussed in the literature affect real people in their every day matriculation through the corridors of American Higher Education Sandra's feelings of isolation are real factors in her motivation Kara's lack of constructive guidance when first entering college had serious impacts on her decisions. And Charles's problems with getting proper treatment from faculty in his department is a serious factor in his academic success. Fortunately these students have found ways to overcome their difficulties, partly through guidance and support that they have each received in the McNair Program Unfortunately, there are many students without this type of program that do not overcome these kinds of difficulties Each McNair student profiled regards the program as an important part in his / her social adjustment and academic achievement at USF. Students also benefit from their involvement in the Jenkins Program, but due to the lack of program structure their benefits are more financial and less social -except for the one on one guidance they are privy to as far as counseling in the office if they choose to take advantage of it. The lack of structure for aggressive countering of obstacles that students face, shows in the program's resultsin which nearly half of the students who have participated in the program thus far have had to be dropped for failure to meet
143 minimum qualifications The McNair Program however, has a structure that more closely exemplifies what an academic s upport program for minority students should do and its success speaks for itself In the next chapter I will discuss my findings from my experience working with the s tudents in these program s vis a vis what is written in the literature I will then compare the structure of the McNair and Jenkins Programs and, using findings from Bowen and Bok ( 1998), make various suggestions as to how these programs can be improved Finally I will conclude with a discussion of current challenges to the very existence of these programs and a recapitulation of some of the main points made in, and reasons for writing, this thesis
144 VI. SUGGESTIONS AND CONCLUSIONS Vis a Vis The Literature Through the course of my internship, much of the information in the literature about minority students at majority white institutions revealed itself through conversations, interview s, and actual experiences. In this section, I outline some of my findin gs and how they correlate with those from research done by others. Professors and Peers As I hypothesized before beginning this research minority students at USF do experience various forms of discrimination in the classroom, and i n the social atmosphere of the uni versity. Rubovitz and Maehr (1977), and Trujillo ( 1986) found that majority teachers paid less attention to black st udents by giving them less praise and more criticism, or by ignoring them. T he bri g hter the black student, the more that s tudent was ignored. Yet these teachers insisted that they did not treat black students differently (Weber 1992 :21). McNair and Jenkins students at USF, particularl y in the scie n ces, expressed similar experiences Several students admitted to having had professors who seemed like they expected them to do poorly in their class, and many students felt the same kind of attitudese from their white peers. This excerpt from a focus group that I conducted with the McNair sc holars illuminates this issue : Onika: When I first came to USF I was Biology/Pre-Med. I did that for two years. And I remember I was si tting in a micro-biolo gy course and
the professor was advocating the bell curve-that there were certain students who would not do well in science As far as intellect was concerned certain of us could not expect to perform as well as others particularly males and whites Erin : He said that? Ada: I would have gone nuts Onika: Because he said a lot of you guys are coming to my office for help and som e of you just need to realize that you will not be able to perform as well as your white counterparts Shana: You ve g ot to be kidding me Erin : I swear I would have gone off on him Shana: You get that crap and these garbage people are still teaching here with these nasty attitudes Onika : Yeah you know the sciences are like two hundred students in the class and everybody is sitting there, nobody says anything nobody responds all they are concerned about it getting their gr a des Then when I changed to English I really liked the smaller classes and then people were pointing me to Africana Studies and that was the bomb Me: Why did you change was it stuff like that that made you change ? Onika: I just didn t like the atmo s phere It was too compet i tive and it just got to the point where I was just no longer interested in it. And I had no motivation to do the wqrk or to study because everybody wanted to get the information and hide and keep it to themselves There were no s uch things as study groups-well there were I went to like two study groups and what I found was that ifl' d s ay Well I don t understand this could you explain this to me?" they d say no, I don t understand it either Then they would ask me a question and it would be one of the very few things that I knew, and I would try to explain it. So they would take all of the stuff that they knew but said they didn t know and the little bit that I knew and put it together. And I'm thinking how were we in the same study group and we both said we didn t know the same things. But you have this grade and I have this grade And I just got fed up And my strength had always been English so I changed and started seeing gr a des that I hadn t s een for a long time Ada: Yeah, a lot of people have a bad attitude wh i ch affects the whole learning process I heard about practice tests and I ask and they say they have none, but they have a whole stack of them, they just won t give it to you. 145 These students experience first hand what Allen ( 1992) found that black students often expre ss feelings of alienation, sensed hostility racial discrimination, and lack of integration" in the majority white university environment (Ro s s 1998 : 1 0). Thi s goes
146 against findings by Nettles Theony and Gosman ( 1986) who found that "students need to feel comfortable in their environment both academically and socially; they need to perceive the college as nondiscriminatory ; and they need to feel academically integrated" (Ross 1998 :9). Students in this focus group also explained another concern they have about their peers in regards to the McNair Program Several admitted to finding their involvement in the McNair Program to be de-valued by their majority peers when it became known that the program is for minorities: Enia : When I was relating that to one of my friends because they were like what is it? It was just night and day in everythingin their demeanor and in their whole attitude. When I'd first start saying the requirements they were like wow and you got in-well tell me about it. And then when I'd start mentioning about the people and the new friends I'd made they'd be like "wait, are they like minorities ? Is everyone in that program minorities ?." And all of a sudden the McNair program isn't that grand thing they were thinking of. And they re like Oh, it's just one of those things to help you. O K. we see how it is And then that And I was like you get in there and you come out and tell me if it's just some kind of program for special support Right there when you s ay minorities i t s huts a door and everything else y ou say after that doesn't make a difference And from then on they're just like"How s that program coming along and it hurts! So you just have to say to yourself, O K. yo u are an individual and you know what it takes to achieve. Ada : I found that when l tell my friends at first they are interested and then you have to end up defending it. It's like as soon as you say minorities they will be like Then you have to say it's academic achievement. Erin : Yeah I was talkin g to one of my very best friends He was with me all through the process He would always joke about me saying that I was th e smart one and so on Then one day I was just telling him a bout the different people in the program and their majors and he goes, So this is just for minorities?" Like O K. it s not that fancy anymore. And I was just lik e, didn t I mention this." To me it's no big deal. It's just the way every body feel s about everything
147 It is as if there is a programmed assertion in the heads of majority students, and probably several minority students as to a kind of innate, intellectual inferiority of minority students. Thus, programs for minority students are automatically assumed to be, and disregarded as, remedial. This attitude rubs off on students who find themselves having to question and defend themselves, and their involvement in such programs One thing that bothered me was the fact that many minority students then took this attitude and thrust a perceived label of inferiority on historically black colleges in order to justify themselves being where they are Lines like, I wanted a real world experience and a better education" are common But these lines cannot dismiss the fact that the overwhelming majority of the nation's black professionals continue to come from black colleges where students are left alone to deal with academics and not subtle racist practices and attitudes. Looking down on minority programs and in tum minorities looking down on black colleges is a psychological trap that leads to the mindset of thinking that everything white is to be lifted and praised as ideal while things that are black are to be shunned . This thinking is what comes from an oppressed and coloni zed way of thinking, and what these students are experiencing is just the subtle quiet self-affirming flow of this mindset in American society and American Higher Education S t e r e otypes Another common thread among many of the successful McNair and Jenkins Scholars was their encounter with stereotypes These students tend to break the molds of thought in which many tend to group characteristics actions, and abilities of minority
148 students. These students do well in school, are very articulate, well-mannered and usually are quiet thinkers. These characteristics go against popularly held assumptions of black students being boisterous, inept, and in school due to athletic skills and/or solely because of their color An example of this is found in the profile of Joanna Richardson, whose long time roommate and friend talks disparagingly about other blacks while perceiving Joanna as different. Members of the focus group also experienced similar interaction: Enia: I get told, You don't act like a Latino girl. And I ask how is a Latino girl supposed to act and they say I m supposed to be loud and that's ridiculous. Oneka: I get that all the time People ask me where I'm from and I say here and they say well you speak so proper, you must be from the Caribbean or something. These attitudes do not just come from majority students At times, other minority students expressed this sentiment towards successful minority students This again reflects the colonized way of thinking mentioned earlier. People tend to be more vulnerable to stereotypes than they would like to admit. Claude Steele ( 1998) has found data to put forth his Stereotype Vulnerability theory which states that when : Highly talented black students are confronted by racial stereotypes that cause them to fear that despite their previous academic achievements, they will do badly and this fear undermines their performance Such vulnerabilities are sometimes reinforced in stressful situations, particularly in examinations in which individuals are reminded of their group affiliation (Bowen and Bok, et al. 1998 :81) Steele s (1998) data comes more from studies of testing But it leads one to wonder about other areas in which students may be vulnerable to stereotypes From the classroom to
149 simple day to day conversation and interaction, people are constantly aware of what people think about them. Though McNair and some Jenkins, scholars are able to motivate themselves to high levels of achievement in spite of negative stereotypes, they still tend to exhibit some level of stereotype vulnerability. And this vulnerability tends to come out exactly where Steele ( 1998) points to its as being most apparent low st andardized test scores. For some students, their test scores on the GRE are lower than what one would think due to their grades and proven abilities But this test can be intimidating, and distinctions between scores according to groups are well fed into students' minds before ever sitting down to study for the test. Motivation Steward et al. (1990) asked African American students how they were able to cope in the university system and keep themselves motivated Findings showed that students said they deliberately and constantly reminded themselves that they were there only to receive a degree and make the necessary professional contacts to assist in future career endeavors" (Steward, et al. 1990:514 }. When I asked Joy a successful, third year, Jenkins Scholar, about racial adversity on campus, she responded that she has not taken the time to think about it because she sees school as more of a vehicle to get to where she wants to be in the future. Other students expressed similar opinions. They use the perspective of looking at the university as a tool in order to look past things that make them uncomfortable Feagin, Vera, and Imani's (1996) finding from a study at a Midwestern college was that "black students who were s uccessful in securing degrees in a reasonabl e time
150 tended to be the most assimilated to white middle-class culture" (Feagin Vera and Imani 1996 : 150) They explain that other minority students find that they have to wear a "white mask" to be successful. This points back to ideas of cultural capital. But it is hard to assess exactly what cultural components are to be attributed to the white middle class. Instead it seems to be more of a measure of income Minority students from higher income families do tend to be more familiar with the white middle class. But they also tend to have gone to better schools and to have had better college preparation and familiarity Though the white mask explanation may work for some students in some situations, I think it is an over-simplified explanation in the case of the McNair and Jenkins Scholars at USF. Most of the students in these programs are from lower income families, but many do exceptionally well. After working with them for a year I do not get the feeling that thdr success is due to their wearing of a "whi te mask", or ev e n that they try to wear one Perhaps at USF because of the large network of minoritie s, students can be themselves more freely than at other campuses that lack these networks But this explanation points again to the colonized way of thinkingthat doing well academically is associated with being white or being like whites. It does not account for minorities who are familiar with white middle class culture who fail, or for minorities unfamiliar with this culture who succeed without the mask ". Instead from my experience, the bigger factor that explains minority student achievement is family support. The lower income McNair and Jenkins scholars could all point to a mother or someone in the family who encouraged them throughout their
151 childhoods Evidence of this came out in the profile of each student. Strong family support does tend to positively correlate with income levels, but income level is not the deciding factor that people assume it to be Everyone who is in a lower income bracket is not there because of their lacking values work ethics, and aspirations Feagin, Vera, and Imani ( 1996) also warn that the dangers from wearing the '"white mask" can '"run the gamut from frustration to suicide ". While working with the programs, there were two suicides In these cases this explanation is also an over simplification of the issues Though I would not dismiss the '"white mask" idea altogether, I would only consider it to be a very small factor. Both of these students had much larger support issues. They were both compelled to help support their parents, younger siblings and significant others They both seemed to have cracked under pressure rather than to have been subdued from acting '"white These two students had serious family, money and relationship issues Networking Research done by Steward et al. ( 1990) showed that while '"for the general population ... student success positively correlated with the degree of integration into the academic and social system of the university", in the case of African American students those who are successful at majority white institutions tend to be loners.. ... these students seemed to be selective in choosing those individuals from whom they actually wanted any inclusion or affection" (Steward, et al. 1990 : 514-5) These findings do not directly correlate with data from successful African American students at USF On the contrary, information from profiles of thirty-five out
152 .of approximately sixty McNair s cholars show inv olvement in at least fifty four different clubs and organizations These students also have been honored with at least thirty-seven different types of awards and scholarships. These data show what seems to be a hyper involvement in student activities and a deep "integration into the academic and social system of the university Though the students are very involved in the university setting a clo ser look at their involvement reveals the programs around which they tend to cluster. Most of the students involvements are with club s and organizations that are oriented specifically to their needs for support and peer identification The majority of the clubs and organizations are specifically made to cater to African American and/or Hispanic s tudents Examples of these are the National Association of Black Accountants the Minority Engineering Program the Africana Studies Club the Black Student Union and the Latin American Student Association Many of the students are al s o in v olved in university-wide or g anizations such as the USF Ambassadors the Key Honor Society, and Student Gov e rnment but the overwhelming majority of their involvement is with minority associated clubs and organizations The majority of awards and scholarships earned by the students are also from either ethnically specific organizations or from organizations that focused these particular awards and scholarships on m i nority populations though several of the awards are university-wide s uch as the Kosove Scholarship, and the Dean's List. What this information reveals is that the students are very involved but tend to s tructure their involvement around s upportive clubs and organizations that addre s s their
153 specific needs and in which they can feel comfortable As students at USF they get deeply involved in support networks that introduce them to other achieving, minority scholars, minority administrators and faculty With the large number of African American and Hispanic organizations and the relatively small number of African American and Hispanic students, several of the students are in the same organizations and are able to strengthen bonds through several venues Without the large number of minority based organizations and significant number of minority students, when compared to other schools successful minority students at USF probably would more closely resemble the "loner" that Steward, et al.( 1990) writes of. At a less diverse campus with fewer minority students to create membership for these kinds of organizations, minority students probably would be less integrated into the campus setting and instead find support elsewhere in places like church and community organizations. But at USF, minority students have been able to create and sustain their own networks of support from which they gain an active voice in the university. These networks are also possible because USf.does have a large enough, though still small, number of minority faculty, administrators and staff to keep these organizations s ponsored and operating. These university personnel can easily find themselves stretched thin over a wide variety of organizations, but tend to stay involved because they understand the importance
154 Program Comparisons In their recently released publication, The Shape of The River, Bowen and Bok, et al. ( 1998) researched several programs aimed at boosting minority achievement. What they found was that successful programs for minority achievement included these features : [I] They encourage participants to work in groups, where students can help one another and provide mutual support  They offer appropriate advising and counseling (3] They often assign students to successful minority professionals, who act as mentors  They create an aura of high expectations, with emphasis on meeting intellectual challenges rather than receiving remediation to achieve a minimum standard  They provide Summer internships to broaden student experience  They offer enough financial aid to remove the risk of students having to work excessively to support themselves or even drop out for lack of funds  Some programs involve parents and keep them continuously informed so that they can lend psychological support and encouragement to their children (Bowen and Bok et al. 1998:87). These features serve as a good framework from which to evaluate and compare the McNair and Jenkins programs The M c N a ir Pro g ram The McNair Program at USF entails all of these features to some extent, except for one Through the Summer Institute, though still of a competitive nature as far as individual research projects, students attend eighteen hour s a week together in the classroom Beyond this, they also attend seminars as a group that are des i gned around their academic and social development. Some of these seminars, specifically the Ropes Course, are designed to build group cohesion and trust. In this way, students learn that they can "help one another and provide mutual support ." Constructing this kind of
155 relationship is important due to the fact that these students potentially can be a very strong support network for each other Bowen and Bok' s ( 1998) second feature of giving appropriate advising and counseling is one of the major efforts of the McNair Program Junior year and Senior year students each have their own Graduate Assistant who specifically works with them Besides carrying out programming the Graduate Assistant's main job is to provide support and counseling for the students And if that is not enough Dr Hall or even the USF Counseling Center are at the students' disposal. The third feature of assigning mentors is one taken very seriously by the McNair Program Potential mentors are carefully screened before being approached in order to make sure that students are matched with compatible, high quality professionals As explained, students go through two mentoring relationshipthe Faculty Role Model Mentor and the Faculty Research Mentor. These mentoring relationships are designed to get students academically prepared and socially ready for Graduate School. The McNair Program accomplishes Bowen and Bok' s ( 1998) fourth feature of creating and environment of high expectations in several ways From the time students are admitted to the program their academic progress is tracked Students who do not perfonn to their potential are called in to meet with the Program Director and if necessary, provided with tutoring The Program pays for tutoring, has computers for students to use in the office, and has laptops for students to checkout. This all leaves students with little excuse for not completing assignments In the Summer Institute students do not get their stipends until their work is signed by their Research Mentor
156 This rule is very strict. The same rule holds up over the Senior year internship process Some students try to finesse, or plead for rules to be bent due to their specific problems But unless they have very good excuses, students are denied leniency and forced to do the work that they have taken on Students find that they are stronger than they thought and are seldom unable to successfully complete their work with a high degree of quality As far as providing Summer internships, the McNair Program has the Summer Institute which lasts for six weeks and encompasses a heavy class load plus a research internship. Though this internship is short, students have the chance to carry on their research intern s h i p over their Senior year Though not a traditional Summer internship students do get the internship experience. Lastly and most favorably to some students, the McNair Program does provide financial support Students who complete their tasks take home twenty-four hundred dollars over a year period In essence they earn this money through their research internships. With USF being a public school and having a generally low tuition, this money is a considerable support. Bowen and Bok's ( 1998) seventh feature parental involvement, is not a priority or aim of the McNair Program Many of the students parents are not local and these students tend to be mature Parental involvement if deemed necessary would seemingly be more appropriate for programs dealing with Freshman and pre Freshman students 71te J e nkins Pro gram In its structure at the time of my internship the Jenkins Program would have failed an evaluative testing against Bowen and Bok's (1998) features commonly found
157 among successful minority programs Only three of these features were present and two of these were poor The feature of appropriate advising an counseling was one area in which the Jenkins Program was operating poorly I know this first hand because I was the Graduate Student advisor/counselor for the program-so in essence I am giving myself a failing grade in this aspect. Students had opportunity for advising and counseling but it was not appropriate for their needs I was not able to give them the time that the y deserve d a nd in some cases I was not able to successfuily intervene in order to prevent failure In so me cases, I'm not sure that anyone could have made a difference, but I know that more effort was needed. As it was I was stretched between the two programs and did not have time to literally g o out and track down stude nts who did not come to the office-I was told this had been done before by checking schedules and standing outside of c la sses. Though extreme, this k ind of thing that may need to be done until the right relation s hips are formed where students will actively s tay connected on their own initiative. This relates to the second poorly accomplished feature of creating an aura of hig h expec tation s Students se nsed that they were not top priority and so me acted just that way Also, stu dent s saw that ther e was no r eal, immediate consequence to doing poorly in school. Several of the s tudent s were on probationary status for two or three consecutive semesters As a result, almost one half of the Scholars were performing under the minimum standards for the scholarship. It was as if apathy took over where motivation and drive went unde ve loped
158 The feature where the Jenkins Program was most successful was in offering enough financial aid to remove financial woes The students had tuition, books and housing paid for-plus a stipend But if there is one lesson to take from the Jenkins Program at USF, it is that throwing money at brilliant underrepresented, very low income students right out of High School to attend one of the largest universities in the country, is not enough In fact, it seems that it will only produce about a 50% success rate The others, without appropriate support, get lost in the confusion of an impersonal foreign environment where they find not encouragement, but abstract adversity in the form of subtle, academic racism and low expectations They find not a home, but an uncomfortable arena in which they are looked at as the outsider whose presence is questioned Some are motivated by their underprivileged backgrounds but others are shameful about it and try to hide it by spending their stipends on expensive clothes, and treating academic achievement with an air of apathy -as do many of the cool", white middle-class students at the university Ju.;r:taposition The McNair and Jenkins programs at USF are basically examples of a program running very and a program far from realizing its potentiaL The McNair Program is very well designed, well funded ( it is one of the most funded academic support programs), and well coordinated The schedule for McNair activities is demanding, but most of all it is set. Dates for specific programming objectives are marked and must be met in order that grant money may be kept to keep the program running.
159 The Jenkins Program has no real form when compared to McNair. Dr Hall is the Director but is not paid nearly as much as for her work with the McNair Program There is also a budget given to run the Jenkins Program from which money for tutoring laptop computers, activities, and the salary for the Graduate Program Assistant is drawn, but this budget is less than that for McNair. This is not to argue that funding for the Jenkins should match that for McNair. The McNair Program has a lot more students and carries out costly activities, such as the Summer Institute, that the Jenkins Program need not worry about. But this does point to where priorities are in the McNair / Jenkins office Students are not blind to this Suggestions Before making program specific suggestions, I first want to review changes in the McNair/ Jenkins office structure which have been instituted since my departure One change that has occurred has to do with the nature of the Graduate Program Assistant position which I held Now two Graduate Assistants share the office-one specifically for the McNair Program and one for the Jenkins Program This is a large step in the right direction for the programs. Now there is one Graduate Assistant who can devote his/her full time to the Jenkins Scholars and their needs This Graduate Assistant can also sta rt developing and instituting a programming structure for the Jenkins Program, and the other Graduate Assistant can take more time working with the new McNair Scholars One thing that I did not know until later on in my internship, was that last yea r was the first year the McNair Program had accepted students two ye ars in a row The
160 McNair Program is designed to take in a group of students at the beginning of their Junior year and work with them until graduation, thus working with students in two year cycles. The program initially only worked with one group of students at a time, which meant that students were only accepted every other year. Because USF administration identified the McNair Program as an exemplary program at the university, it was given institutional funding With this institutional funding the McNair Program now is able to acce pt students every year instead of every other year The trick is that there is one cohort supported by grant money from the National Education Association, and one cohort supported by institutional funding (the NEA grant still supports only students admitted every other year and the institutional funding supports students admitted in years when NEA funding does not apply) Information for these two cohort s has to be kept separately in order to give reports to the funding agencies Last year was the first year that this occurred and I am not sure to what extent that caused extra stress around the office I see now that the need to hire a second Graduate Assistant might not have been so blatant due to the fact that responsibilities were being shifted without knowledge of the difficulty or consequences these shift s would entail. The move to accept students every year w a s a good one because students who could have benefitted from the program were missing out due to years when no one was accepted And with the second Graduate Assistant, the Graduate Assistant working with the first year McNair students can concentrate on only those students and do more planning in the way of seminars and possible Graduate School visits
161 Another change that has occurred i s the addition of another staff member. This person, an OPS worker, is solel y responsible for working with the USF Parents' Association. This change takes considerable responsibility off ofthe Program Assistant whose job is already demanding enough. Finally as I mentioned earlier, the individual who was the Program Assistant for the past few years left her position This change also has done a lot to elevate the general climate of the office. Hopefully these good relations can be maintained It is a s mall office with very few employees definitely not enough that it should get bogged down with office politics. Considerable care should be taken to nurture and maintain good relations between the individuals working in the office perhaps they should take a day and do a teamwork building exercise like the Ropes Course The J e nkins Program As explained in this the s i s, the Jenkins Program at USF is lacking an effective s tructure of supportive programming for its students Associated with this is the fact that several students have had unsuccessful matriculation experiences at USF while under the auspices of the Jenkins Scholar Programs. Upon receiving failing grades for a third semester in a row and learning that he was being released from the Jenkins Program, one student told me You know now that I think about it, I don t think it was all my fault. I mean it was, but it was also the programs fault." To an extent I had to agree with him In this section I have outlined some changes that could be made to the existing structure of the program in order that it may better serve its students. First of all the
162 Jenkins Program needs its own Graduate Assistant who is totally devoted to working with the program and not to other office activities (this change has occurred since I left the program) The Graduate Assistant is an important intermediary between the scholars and the program, and students are quick to pick up on it if the Graduate Assistant seems to be worried about other issues instead of helping them And if they do perceive this to be the case, they simply do not come around, and potentially close ties go undeveloped This Graduate Assistant must also be seen more as a part of the program. The Graduate Assistant works directly for Dr. Hall but must also take directives from Mrs Johnston from the Jenkins Foundation in Lakeland Florida and must be knowledgeable about registration and check distribution policies The latter must be coordinated on campus with Mr. Fuzz who works down in the Registrars office While working with the program I never met Mrs Johnston Instead it felt like the relation between Charlie" and his Angels"where they never actually meet who they are working for but take orders from him over the phone I did talk to Mrs Johnston on the phone but actually mee ting her at least once would have been better I also did not meet Mr Fuzz until literally two days before my last day on the job. I guess I could have taken the initiative to go down and introduce myself but it did not feel like that was within the expectations of the program, or befitting of the office environment The Graduate Assistant should also be included in all formal Jenkins activities As of now there is the beginning of the year I uncheon for new students the trip to an Orlando Magic basketball game and the end of the year tour of"Publix" headquarters and dinner with the Jenkins family at their country club These events would be the best
\63 way for the Graduate Assistant to get to know the sponsors of the program Having not even a mention of my inclusion in any of these things last year left me feeling somewhat outside of and disconnected from the program And, because events were often the only time some Jenkins scholars were seen, and that they all got together this was a missed opportunity to build an appropriate advising and counseling relationships with the students and their parents whom I could have met at the beginning of the year welcoming luncheon Secondly, Jenkins Scholars would benefit from some kind of routinely organized social event. As it stands now, most of them barely know each other even those in the same year. Something like a "Jenki ns' Friday could be formed where students meet as a group on the last Friday of every mqnth The meeting could start later in the da y after classes The first meeting could be as simple as having pizza and doing ice-breakers for the students to get to know and feel comfortable with each other At least one of these meetings a semester should be an excursion off campus possibly done on a Saturday to a museum or a movie Another necessary subject is how to manage personal finances due to financial prol:?lems that many students get themselves into A third idea, and one I suggest most s trongly would be for the students to do the Ropes course togetherthe full ropes course actually on site and not the miniaturized on-campus version This type of activity helps to build the kind of trust, self-confidence and friendship that needs to be developed among these scholars Third Jenkins Scholars s hould be offered the choice of having a Summer tuition paid at the university, or being given that money while doing an internship in the i r field
164 of study. As of now the Program pays for one Summer of school for each scholar. But many of the scholars come into the university with extra credits earned while still in High School. These students, if able to do so, need to be encouraged to do internships It should not be the Graduate Assistant's job to find students internships, as one student seemed to think it was this past year but the office could offer support in the way of helping with applications and covering application .fees-as the McNair Program does with applications for Graduate School. Fourth, there needs to be some kind of penalizing mechanism that the program can use as leverage to compel students to complete their obligations. Last year students frequently missed tutorial sessions and bi-weekly appointments They knew that the worst penalty they would face was a talk with Dr. Hall, and treated these appointments as if they were not important, or as if they did not have the time. Perhaps a ten dollar fine for a missed bi-weekly and a twenty dollar fine for a missed tutorial session could be instated and taken from the student's upcoming stipend. This money could then be used to pay for an activity on one of the Jenkins' Fridays, or the students could decide how they want to spend it as a group-as is done with money collected from fines in the McNair Summer Institute. These four suggest ions would help to give the program form and substance In summary my suggestions are for : 1) the heightened role of the Graduate Assistant; 2) routinely, organized, social events; 3) internship options; and 4) penalizing mechanisms as leverage to compel students to complete obligations These suggestions would not be overwhelming and could be implemented immediately
165 The McNair Program Talking with students provided no real agreed upon criticisms of the McNair Program. Some thought that the Summer Institute was a little too competitive Others thought that the classes in the Summer Institute were too long and others thought that the GRE preparation course should be taught at a different time than during the Summer Institute (I would agree that perhaps the ORE course would be better taught during the semester). As far as the rest of the year, students with whom I talked had no real criticisms. The mentoring process is generally favored by all though some run into personal s nags due to personality types They also find the office and the office staff to be v ery supportive. Students had a lot of compliments to give. Some, that were also printed in the Spring 1998 McNair Senior Awards Banquet Program are as follows: [ 1] As a McNair S c holar I was urged to reach the highest pinnacle of success I could I was encouraged nurtured, and challenged personally and professionally Dr. Hall's stellar leadership Sharon s kind but finn encouragement, Faye's knowledge of univers i ty red tape and exceptional graphic skills and Elgin s calm reassuring demeanor have been my life jacket in this raging sea of Higher Education On many occasions when I stopped they picked me up and carried me to my destination. Through actions, deeds, encouragement, and support they saw me through the stonns of life Through McNair I was given an opportunity to pur s ue my dream Thank you all for believing in me  Being a McNair Scholar has meant increased standards of personal and professional growth It has al s o meant growing and learning with a group of people that are extraordinary I will carry the memories of the people and experiences with me for a lifetime  The McNair staff and students have been an incredible support syst e m these past two years Through our Research Internships the McNair Program provided us with the opportunity to have a competitive edge for entering graduate school.  The Ronald McNair Scholars Program has shown me the doors of opportunity to graduate study that otherwise I would not have had the opportunity to explore The you can do it attitude about pursuing a
masters and/or doctorate degree is something that I will always relate with this program 166 Students also really appreciated the Atlanta Graduate School visit that occurred this past year. The programs had done this trip two years before my working there, but was unable to do it the previous year. This trip made a big impact on the students that went and is constantly referred back to as one of the highlights of the year, and be s t aspects of the program This trip could possibly be made into a yearly excursion And to improve upon this as Dr Hall has mentioned to me before, Washington DC could be added as a Graduate visit site. Trips could alternate every year between Atlanta and Washington in order that students may get to see a wider range of opportunity. Perhaps Junior and Senior Jenkins students who are thinking about Graduate School should be included in the trip, for they could benefit from the experience also. A major aspect of the trip that students spoke to me about was the fact that Junior year and Senior year McNair students were together The younger students es pecially enjoyed this because the y got to know and talk to students who had been through the Summer Institute and much ofthe Graduate School application process. It is often beneficial to be exposed to someone who ha s walked the path on which you intend to tread-and it can be even better if the individual is a peer with whom you can relate When asked for suggestions about the McNair Program, st u dents commented that the y would like more activities throughout the year where they can socialize with both cohorts of McNair students Basically my suggestions for the McNair Program are few: I ) perhaps the ORE course taught during the year; 2) Alternating Graduate School visits between Atlanta and
167 and 3) more interaction between cohortsperhaps in the form of peer mentoring or as 4) I also think that McNair students would benefit from the full Ropes Course experienceduring the Summer Institute to offset some of the frustration and tendency to get caught up in competition; and 5) counseling must continue to be taken seriously Special attention must also be given to students who seem fine but ma y be struggling internally and just too habitually independent to ask for help Otherwise, the program is running like a well-oiled machine and I am happy to have had the chance to work with it. Changing Faces Lately there has been a lot of talk about changing the face of the McNair Program and other programs outlined in the literature review Under pressure from court cases and national opinion on affirmative action, some univer sity administrators have vo luntarily dismantled and/or changed programs in order to avoid the perceived threat of lawsuits Others administrators who harbor anti-affirmative action feelings have especially taken anti-affirmative action propaganda to heart and used its reasoning to push for minority programs to disappear or open up to white students. USF has not gone untouched by this phenomena One program Student Support Services, has been very instrumental in increasing USF's African American and Hispanic population over the past two decades This program seeks students who might otherwise not have gotten into the university, puts them through a rigorous Summer program, and guides them through their first two years
168 of college Several of the McNair Scholars started USF through the Student Support Services Program This program was created with the expressed purpose of doing exactly what it has done so well over the years-increasing USF's minority population. Even though it has often been under-funded, and its staff have been over-worked it boasts an exceptional retention rate To the surprise of many around the university, a program evaluator came to USF and singled out Student Support Services as one of USF s most exceptional programs Unfortunately administrators have taken it upon themselves to change the program in order to avoid entanglements over the issue of racial preference Thus in the past year though several new slots were added to the program between fifty and a hundred white students were admitted This meant that even though the program got bigger fewer black students were admitted into the program Due to this change the students whom the program was created to benefit, are losing out. The McNair and Jenkins programs are also feeling the pressure If it were not for Dr. Hall and Mrs Johnston this years incoming class of Jenkins Scholars would have been all white males The white male members of the Jenkins Selection Committee seemed overjoyed at the perceived opportunity to not use race as a factor. Also, the McNair Program has now accepted at least one white male student. On top of this, o v er the past Summer two other white male students who applied to the McNair Program constantly harassed the staff about the status of the applications Their harassment carried such an ominous tone that staff feared they were simply looking for a lawsuit.
169 The Jenkins Program was never only for m i norities, but always put a value on diversity. Because it is focused more on lower income and underprivileged individuals it can afford to open its doors to white s tudents. But because whites are a majority in all classes of society -as shown by Cancian ( 1998) minority students would be white washed out of the program if race were not a consideration The McNair Program however, has the expressed purpose of increasing the number of underrepresented groups-African American, Hispanic, and Native American -in the nation s Graduate Schools and in the Professorate Specifically this program was created as a corrective response to the disadvantaged position in which s lavery and "Jim Crow" left African Americans It is a part of an overall, long-term plan for the corrective redistribution of wealth, knowledge and representation in this country that was created by what could definitely be looked at as a four century affirmative action program for white Americans that has created the situation where : 1) "the median Black family income is 59 perc e nt of the median white family income" ; 2) the median net worth of Black families is one tenth of the median net worth of white families" ; and 3) middle class white families have 113 times the financial assets as middle-class black families" (Cross, et al. 1998:96). Increasing African American representation in the professorate is also a way of procuring nece s sary viewpoints experience, inspiration and knowledge to correct a curriculum that has been allowed to fester in the sewer of racist thinking. On a larger scale, the McNair Program is not just about getting students into Graduate School. It is a tool to change the social dynamics of academia, and in tum, th e
170 country Its importance can not afford to be lost behind the wall of confusing, righteous sounding anti-affinnative action jargon, and court cases financed by conservative wealthy individuals and think-tanks Greed, fear, and an unspoken, assumed white privilege must not continue to dominate American society, and must not be allowed to dismantle programs aimed at correcting societal inequities In Closing This experience was enlightening and influential. I was unaware of the problems that some students face, and the trials that they overcome Having an understanding of this has positively influenced my thinking about the necessity of programs like Jenkins and McNair. Through the internship and writing of this thesis, I have not only learned about affirmative action and issues of minorities if Higher Education I have learned more about my position as an African American male graduate student at USF My major goals for this thesis were to provide : 1) about the types of students involved in the programs for the use of future Graduate Assistants who work with the Jenkins and McNair Programs 2) an exploration of some of the details in the lives of minority student achievers at majority white universities, 3) an explanation of the need for and importance of such programs and 4) constructive comments and suggestions aimed at improving how the programs operate and serve the student s involved Hopefully, the reader will think these goals suitably accomplished, and have a much better understanding of the historical, contemporary, macro and micro-level contexts and dynamics of minorities in U .S. Higher Education.
171 Financial difficulties, non-inclusive curriculums, un-involved faculty, isolation, lack of positive mentoring, and the multifaceted dynamic of racism -which manifests in several things from subtleties such as stereoty pes and inadvertent procedures, to blatant harassment-are not abstract concepts. They are realities that minorities students deal with on a daily basis that have serious impact on social adjustment and academic achievement. The profiles and examples exhibited in this thesis show just some of the ways studen ts attitudes are affected Fortunately these students are successful in spite of adversity. But a lot of students are not. A lot of students do not find supportive networks like the McNair and Jenkins Programs, and instead become the faceless statistics quoted when citing average lower academic achievement or higher drop-out rates for minority students. Without an understanding of the historical and present context of these s tud ents heavily funded but disconnected theorist such as Murray and D'Souza, and falsely premised agitators such as Ward Connerly and the Center for Individual Rights, continue to treat real difficulties and historical inequalities as intangible abstracts without merit for application to the present debate about Affirmative Action Some of these foundations, organizations, and individuals do this knowingly and are uns cathed b y unjust implications of their arguments due to their own investment in white privilege, juxtaposed with an idea of scarce resources And some individua ls-perhaps a majority of the American public who would sponsor legi slat ion to take away programs like McNair and Jenkins-dismiss these realities simply out of ignorance
172 The McNair Program especially works to counter the negative effects financial difficulties, non-inclusive curriculums, un-involved faculty, isolation lack of positive mentoring and racism by : 1) providing a network of support for students ; 2) matching students with Faculty Role Model Mentors and placing them in internships with Faculty Research Mentors ; 3) giving students a chance to participate in a rigorous Summer Institute geared to prepare them for graduate study ; 4) providing financial support ; and 5) exposing students to a wider range of available opportunities and options through seminars, national conferences and Graduate School visits The Jenkins Program as of now provides more financial support and one on one counseling but will hopefully incorporate more of the kinds of features existent in the McNair Program in order to bring its students into a stronger network of protective and motivational support The necessity of these programs is a reality just as are the challenges that the students in these programs must overcome This thesis is meant to enlighten the read e r to these realities and to help provide a context for an informed discussion about these issues This is perhaps just a skimming of the surface of the overall issues confronting minorities in higher education, particularly African Americans.
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180 Appendix A. McNair Flyer
University of South McNair Scholars Pro.gram The Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program i s designed for undergraduate jun i ors and seniors who are lowi ncome first generat i on college students or students from groups underrepresented at the doctoral level. The McNair Scho l ar s Program encourages and motivates undergraduate students to pursue doctoral or medical degrees Jun i or l evel students at the University of South Flor ida, as well as jun ior tra n sfer s t udents to USF who meet the selection cri ter i a are encouraged to apply for the McNa i r Program. App l ications for the McNa i r Program a r e ava i lable duri ng t h e s umme r t e r m be f ore the Fall semester Typically forty studen t s are sel ected for t he program by October of the Fall term + The USF McNair Scholars Program is one of only three such programs i n the state of F l or ida and o ne of 96 i n the Unit ed States + The USF McNair Program i n rated as one of the strongest i n the nat i on and has received strong i nstitutional supp o rt from the University + The USF McNair Scholars Program has placed appro x imately 70% of its program part i cipants in graduate schools throughou t the United States Many of them were accepted d i rectly into Ph. D p r ogram from the undergraduate level. McNa i r Scholars are currently attend i ng the USF graduate school and other prest i gious graduate i nstitutions including : Stanford University Georg i a Inst it ute of Technology Emory University the Un i versity of Maryland and the Un i vers i ty of F l or i da. Benefits of the McNair Scholars Program .. .. .. .. .. .. .. Research stipends of $2400 annually for a !'NO year period Trave l to national conferences and part i cipation i n graduate school vi s i ts Part i c i pat i on in one or more mentoring relationships with USF faculty Participation i n an academ i c year research internship under the d i rection of a professor with e x pert i se in the i r fie l d of study Part i c i pat i on i n a si x week Summer Research Institute in wh i ch t hey complete seven hours of course work related to research and techn i cal writing Students also develop a resear c h p r oposal related to their discipl i ne. G r aduate sc h oo l preparation and ass i stance with the graduate schoo l applicat i on process All McNair Sc h olars are provided GRE and / or MCA T t est preparat i on wor k shops Cultural a nd pe r sonal g r owth act i v i ties
182 Appendix B. Sequence Chart
PLAN OF OPERATIONS SEQUENCE CHART SEQUENCE I SEQUENCE II SEQUENC E Ill ldenlily pclenllal McNair I Application process-.. .. -------McNair Scholars Ollenlallon + + Seledlon of McNair facully Role Model Contact Project Thru51, Scholars aele<:tlon SSS, PEP, Honors Progr1111, MEP and Adull Transfer -Advlaoly B<>lld Selection -facoly Role Model Sludtnls ProgrAm 01lenlallon Contact polenllal eppUcenla Preparation 101 aprlnQ tenn IUppOI1 IIMcll ---' 1-------SEQUENCE VIII SEQUENCE VII SEQUENCE VI .... ;;;; ..,;;.-j.o;;,:;; I [;,;;;.;;;; ;;;.;..;;,;;.;,;;, ILJ l s111us .sslslanca Gradultaachooladmbslon I IIIIUS .... .. RI$11rch Senlol Awards Bmquet I I I I I SEQUENCE IV f aculy Role Model men1011ng lniOimallon aem1n1t n WOibhopa 0 '0 .... -Conlilued acedemlc 0. HI El ..J,. :z: 0 ...... g Ill ... SEQUENCE V ""' 0 -Mlef Reuiii'Ch -GRE prepatallon -Rnauch tour /activity I ........ -.... -_ / 00 t... )