Dixie State University’s Multicultural and Inclusion Center will be introducing a mentorship program to boost retention rates and offer more opportunities on campus for men of color.
The program is part of the MIC’s initiative geared toward male students of color who wish to pursue leadership roles on campus. MIC Director Daneka Sourberbielle, said what inspired this program is the fact DSU’s retention rates for students of color are lower than the school’s average, and for male students of color it is even lower, at under 30 percent.
MIC Retention Coordinator Matt Doxey said this is due to institutional factors like campus climate or peer and faculty interaction.
“Success is enhanced…where there is a focus on student and faculty interaction, mentorship, counselor support, peer interaction and engagement in student activities,” Doxey said. “So our purpose and mission is to provide resources for support in these areas so that success can be enhanced and retention improved for men of color on campus.”
Doxey said the program will teach senior and junior males of color leadership, mentorship skills and how to identify their strengths and use those strengths to boost confidence and overall success. Freshmen men of color will have the opportunity to learn from their mentors while feeling connected and supported by the community and motivated to seek leadership positions.
Sourberbielle said this is particularly important as most of DSU’s students of color come from outside of Washington County. This means, in the future, freshmen students of color will have peers whom they can connect immediately and a support network while also reducing the adjustment period for students who are traveling for school.
Jesús Rosas, a sophomore mathematics major from St. George, and president of DSU’s Hispanic Student Association, said leadership is about being an example for younger students to follow.
“I feel that there are very few males of color that keep studying after high school and fewer [who] try to become leaders,” Rosas said. “But I think if they see others like them becoming leaders and excelling, they’ll be more inclined to follow in [leaders’] footsteps.”
Sourberbielle said although the program will be aimed at male ethnic minorities on campus, there are important lessons to be learned from all students. Sourberbielle said the MIC and its male initiative will continue to help all students understand all individuals have different strengths and needs.
“I think it’s important because as a student, you always kind of assume that everyone is having the same experience as you,” Sourberbielle said. “It’s a great lesson, the idea of equity and the fact that the university is trying to serve everyone what they need.”
Although the initiative is in its first phases, Sourberbielle said if all goes well, the program will become a strong resource for all minority male students in the future. She said she hopes to see other parts of DSU benefit from a strong mentorship program as well.