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Old Stories Get Fresh Reporting

This issue’s cover story should come as no surprise to anyone who has been a loyal reader of Black Issues In Higher Education. The plight of African-American men in American society has long been a topic of inquiry and investigation in the magazine before its transition to Diverse: Issues In Higher Education. Ernest Holsendolph, formerly an editor and columnist at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution newspaper, continues the coverage on Black males that our readers have come to expect. His profile and analysis delves into the West Georgia Learning Community at the University of West Georgia.

Holsendolph reports on how the program, under the leadership of political science professor and proud Morehouse College alum Said Sewell III, has attracted 25 Black male freshman students this fall. The program gives the young men special instruction on how to be successful students and worthy leaders in the community. The 25 students, who volunteered to participate in the program, are among 179 Black male first-year students at the university.

“This program is about the mentorship of brothers supporting one another. We have high expectations of them, and we are telling them not to lower their expectations,” Sewell explains.

Holsendolph points out that Georgia’s public universities have taken a lead in establishing programs aimed at the state’s Black male students, both in the K-12 population as well as those enrolled in the state colleges. These efforts by state officials and individual faculty members, such as Sewell, have not been without their critics. Opponents of special programs for Black men have argued that it is improper and discriminatory for public institutions to focus resources so narrowly on a particular racial and gender group. Supporters, however, counter that assisting a specific group benefits the public at large, given that society needs educated citizens of all races to become part of a productive and tax-paying workforce.

Assistant editor Kendra Hamilton also revisits a story familiar to longtime readers. In “Changing the Face of American Medicine,” Hamilton provides an update on efforts by the Association of American Medical Colleges to diversify the medical profession. Her story focuses on the AAMC’s recent conference on career development for minority medical school faculty.

Says Dr. Jordan Cohen, president of the AAMC, “We hope to communicate more effectively to African-American college students that an investment in a medical education is not only financially wise but can lead to a most fulfilling career in a field with endless opportunities.”

This issue also highlights in “Against All Odds” the biographies of three Latino students from San Jose, Calif., who have overcome great obstacles to become students at San Jose State University. The stories are taken from the research and writing of Veronica Mendoza, who was a master’s student at Stanford University at the time. Mendoza also highlights the Puente Project, a West Coast-based program that was originally established to increase the numbers of Latino students enrolled in four-year colleges and universities, but now assists educationally disadvantaged students of all races and ethnicities.

Hilary Hurd Anyaso

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