This report focuses on understanding the experiences of Latino and Black males at community colleges. Directed to community college educators, the report offers strategies colleges should consider as they work to strengthen those experiences so they lead to better outcomes. The report provides actionable, practical information based on analyses of data that have been gathered during two years, on opinions from experts in the field, as well as on results from students, faculty, and staff focus groups.
  • Students generally agree on four key strategies to improve their outcomes: fostering personal connections, setting high expectations, and providing high-quality instruction from engaged faculty.
  • Students report that being held to high expectations can drive them to excel, and they want to know that college faculty and staff believe the students can reach those expectations.
  • Male students of color agree that the characteristics and specific behaviors of their instructors are critical factors in their success. In their view, instructor excellence is grounded in caring about students, communicating clearly with students, and being prepared.
  • Even though within all student groups, higher levels of engagement are associated with higher outcomes, self-reporting among male students indicates that men of color are more engaged but have lower outcomes.
  • Black females are the most engaged of all student groups on all but one benchmark (support for learners), and white males are the least engaged of all student groups on all benchmarks.
  • Even the typically higher levels of engagement of students of color do not compensate for the effects of beginning their college experiences farther behind the starting gate than their peers.
  • Colleges must rethink their traditional inclination to rely on special programs to address achievement gaps. The focus should be on addressing institutional culture, policy, and practice in ways that counter the persistent effects of structural racism and that create conditions for success for all students.
  • The situational pressure not to confirm a negative stereotype can cause people to significantly underperform. Removing the threat of stereotype confirmation dramatically improves performance.