Dateline: January 9, 2020 – Athens State University signed a partnership agreement with Drake State Community & Technical College on January 9 that creates a transfer pathway for African-American males who are interested in a teaching career.
African-American male students pursuing an Associate of Science degree at Drake State Community & Technical College can choose to participate in the Minority Male Pathway Initiative and be eligible to receive scholarships to cover tuition, books, and housing, with funds provided through a grant awarded by the State of Alabama. Once they complete their two-year degree at Drake State, a streamlined process is in place to transfer their education to Athens State University where they will finish their four-year training. Participants must agree to a two-year teaching commitment in Alabama after graduating from Athens State.
The Minority Male Initiative was recently launched by Athens State to improve the pathway for students of color to become teachers in Northern Alabama school districts. Data surrounding teaching and the diversity of teacher candidates on a national level shows that male African-American teachers are under-represented in the workforce. These findings hold true in the North Alabama region, which spurred Athens State University’s College of Education to develop a program to help increase the number of diverse teacher candidates and fill the local community’s need for male teachers of color.
It is important to increase the diversity of teachers; all students can benefit from having a teacher of color as a mentor and role model, as research shows the importance of youth experiencing diverse teachers in positions of authority and demonstrating respect to all students, especially students of color.
“The primary objective of the Pathway Initiative is to recruit and prepare minority students majoring in education at Athens State University to become highly-qualified, strong teachers and leaders,” said Dr. Darlene Turner-White, Minority Male Initiative Program Coordinator and College of Education faculty member at Athens State University. “Not only do we aim to give an under-represented population a pathway to a teaching career, but we as a college aim to step up our efforts to recruit, support, and mentor these men.”
“Athens State is founded on partnerships – pathways linking community college students with opportunities in our upper-division programs and relationships with regional employers,” stated Dr. Philip Way, President of Athens State University. “We are therefore pleased to create this partnership with Drake State that will easily allow students to finish their teaching degrees and enrich the area’s educators.”
“Working together with organizations like Athens State University, we are providing our students with more ways to pursue and achieve their goals,” said Dr. Patricia Sims, President of Drake State Community & Technical College.
“This mutually-beneficial partnership highlights a commitment from both Athens State University and Drake State Community & Technical College on the impact of learning of the K-12 student,” said Dr. Rosemary Hodges, Interim Dean for the College of Education at Athens State University.
For more information about the Minority Male Pathway Initiative, please visit www.athens.edu/education/diversity-matters.