Conference Agenda

Agenda at a Glance - Printable Version

Friday, April 11, 2014

Pre-Black Male Summit Community Dialogue Forum

  • 9:30 to 11:00 a.m. - "Seizing the Opportunity Panel Discussion:  How can our community institutions rally to support Black Male Success" being held at the Akron Public Library Auditorium located across the street from the Knight Convention Center.  (Free and open to the public.)  More information.


  • 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. - The Dr. Joseph L. White Opening Luncheon featuring keynote speaker Steve Harvey located at the Knight Convention Center.  

Session 1 - Friday April 11, 2014 - 2:00 - 2:50

I am My Brother’s Keeper:  Identity Construction in Recruiting/Retaining Black Males in Higher Education

Dr. Kevin L. Brooks
The Ohio State University

This workshop examines extant research on the Black male individual and group identity development in higher education.  The purpose of this presentation is to analyze cultural identity formation and its association with students’ academic and intellectual development.  The primary goal underscores the critical need to establish and strengthen authentic relationships using academic programming that fosters individual, intellectual, and professional development. Interactive exercises are used to explain the role service learning and community outreach play in advancing one’s commitment to academic excellence and social responsibility.  Finally, usable action strategies are created to design unique programming initiatives that recruit, retain, teach, support, and graduate Black males. 

Hearing Student Voices:  Academic Performance and Retention Interventions that are Meaningful for African American and Latino College Students.

Patrick Jackson
University of Akron

Many underrepresented students experience degree derailment due to institutional and sociocultural barriers.  One-size-fits-all student success and early alert programs cater to a traditional student profile that no longer exists.  National samples of 5,984 African American and Latino students were surveyed to understand their unique first-year college experiences and perceptions, and impacts on future retention plans.  Identified were factors that contributed to academic success, rather than academic risk.  Factors were meaningful in understanding the retention decisions of African American and Latino students, specific focus will be placed on male students.  We will discuss strategies for students and incorporate advising and first year programs, including meaningful early alert indicators and relevant interventions.

The African-American Male Initiative (AAMI) at The University of Louisville

Tierney Bates
University of Louisville

The University of Louisville is the premier metropolitan research university in Kentucky. The University is the most racially and ethnically diverse campus out of all the public four-year institutions in the state.  The largest population of traditionally under represented students is African-Americans.  These students make up 13% of the population.  Of these students, 37% are males, and 63% are females.  Despite the large number of African-American students attending the university, the persistence, retention, and matriculation rate of African-Americans continues to fall behind white students and other ethnic groups. This is particularly true for African-American Males, which is a trend that has persisted locally and nationally.  The University of Louisville has an opportunity to be a leader in African-American graduation rates and particularly in creating strategies that work within urban contexts for African-American male students.  This can only be achieved through sustained, visible commitment to recruiting, retaining, matriculation, and graduating this specific group of students from the university.  A commitment to African-American males not only meets the needs of these students, but also meets the institution’s goal of increasing retention and graduation rates.  The old adage “a rising tide raises all ships” holds true, this presentation will show our goal at the University of Louisville is to graduate 80% of the African-America male population and become the #1 college for producing African-American male graduates.  This presentation will show the persistence through academic achievement, mentoring, peer connection and student involvement.  The presenters consist of the Director, AAMI Program Coordinator, and 4 current program students.

Strengthening Black Men: Identity, Mentorship, & Leadership

Ramar Henderson, MS; Andrea Z. Omidy, PhD
Southern Illinois University Carbondale

The purpose of this symposium is to discuss (1) Black male identity; (2) the intricacies of mentoring Black men, and (3) identify key characteristics leading to the success of Black men in academia.  The need has never been greater to identify helpers and healers to develop models, increase understanding, and identify solutions.  The presenters will provide an examination of key elements of influences that impact the development of identity in Black men including examples from different mass media outlets.  The primary premise is that a successful academic program will employ a holistic approach when working with African American men.  The presenters will also examine the impact of stereotype threat on identity development.  Participants will be asked to critically examine their own identity and their view of Black men.  Participants will be introduced to key aspects of mentoring Black men in the process of facilitating identity growth.  Finally, participants will explore leadership styles in regards to sources of influence. 

African American Males Matriculating Through Higher Education and Society

Justin Rose, Dr. Clarice Ford, Yolanda Beamon
University of Illinois Springfield

The workshop will address how to increase Black Male engagement through the matriculation process.  It is important to note that Black Males are severely underrepresented on college campuses around the country.  Unfortunately, they also have the lowest percentage of students enrolled and lowest graduation rates.  Many programs are needed on college campuses across the United States to allow for the growth and success of Black Males as scholars.  For example, the Black Male Collegiate Society at the University of Illinois, Springfield, has become a stellar program with impressive GPA requirements, mentoring, and matriculation.  The Learning Outcomes:

  • Understand the factors that predict Black Male student retention and success.
  • Understand how Black Males differ from the general student population on these predictive factors.
  • Understand how Black Male Collegiate Society has created programs/policies and outreach to help their male students successfully transition to college, persist, and graduate.
  • Discuss how similar research projects can be implemented and how outreach to this population could improve their retention.

The three presenters are currently authoring a textbook for African American Males being published by Kendall Hunt Publishing Company.

Beat the Odds without using Your Fist

Mike Pruitt      
Former NFL player, entrepreneur

Place of Birth: Inner city Chicago, Illinois.

Athletic Background
Scholarship opportunity at Purdue University; (an opportunity my mother would never have been able to afford.)  I almost failed at college the first year because I was so behind academically.  With tutors helping me, I was I able to graduate in four years; (but I also had to attend summer school two of the four years.)  The lesson learned is this: At times you must do what it takes to succeed when you’d rather be doing what you want to do.  Athletes have to practice when no one else is practicing, lift weights when no one else is lifting weights, and study until you understand what you are being taught.

Personal Story
I will explain how I was able to be Cleveland Browns #1 draft choice in 1976. (I was the 7th player taken in the NFL draft.)

Life after Football
I will speak on how I became involved in the automotive industry.  I will discuss in detail how I stayed motivated, the positive influences that I needed to maintain, and the negative ones I had to eliminate in my life.  I will also talk about how I stayed empowered through economic transition periods and what motivates me now to never give up.  Also, I will provide tips about keeping anxiety at bay while dealing with an ever-changing economy.

My personal core values that keep me focused on the most important aspects of my life and the key to my success: my love of God and family, as well as my high principles of fairness and giving back.


Session 2 - Friday April 11, 2014 - 3:05 - 3:55

The Gifted Black Male in STEM: "They do Exist"

Dr. Alonzo M. Flowers
Old Dominion University

Given the current focus on increasing the numbers of individuals who are prepared to assume STEM careers, and finding viable solutions to ameliorate the hemorrhaging that is occurring among those skilled to enter the workforce in these technical fields, it is essential to not only identify those individuals who have the ability to be successful, but also to target the buffers, as well as the obstacles, that facilitate and hamper their success.  Academic and social integration is crucial to the success of Black male college students in STEM disciplines.  It is essential that institutions of higher education commit to supporting the developmental and academic needs of this student population.  Therefore, exploring the life experiences of gifted Black males can lead to understanding the social and academic processes that this student population encounters as they navigate their educational journeys.  This presentation seeks to elicit a critical interactive dialogue about notions of giftedness and its implication for Black male students and their identity development and academic aspirations.

Culturally Relevant Pedagogy: Education That Changes Students and Society

Shemariah J. Arki, M. Ed
Excellence Management Group

Based on the research of Dr. Kevin Kumashiro, participants explore the individual, cultural/societal, and institutional levels of privilege and oppression and how they manifest in educational environments.  This manifestation is a main contributor to the academic and social achievement gap, particularly in students of color.  Through the introduction of social justice education and culturally relevant pedagogy, this session will focus on transforming theory to practice for educators.  Our presentation includes media clips, interactive games, and activities that are easily adaptable for practitioners.  Participants will learn how to access tangible resources to integrate social justice education into any curriculum by completing the following:

  • Unpacking the differences between social diversity and social justice
  • Introduction of frameworks and principles of social justice education  
  • A self -assessment to measure the opportunities to inject social justice education into their respective programs and given an opportunity to brainstorm implementation techniques with fellow practitioners.
Participants will be provided with a resource list of social justice education websites and additional professional development opportunities to access social justice education curricular implements.

I’m the Man

Adam A. Smith
University of Akron - Asst VP Student Success, Center for Academic Advising & Student Success

This session will examine how negative “noise” impacts how Black men view themselves and their relationship with the world around them.  Participants will identify sources and content of this negative noise and devise strategies to utilize positive affirmations to overcome.

Helping White Faculty Better Support Black Male Students: A Conversation

Michael Martin, UA Graduate Student
Bill Lyons,
University of Akron Professor 

We would like to facilitate a conversation to assist faculty, white faculty in particular, who are interested in doing a better job supporting black male students in the classroom.  Each co-facilitator will open the conversation with a five-minute opening statement and a short handout that participants will be able to take with them.  Then we will invite questions and facilitate an exchange of ideas.  

As faculty, we work very hard to meet my students where they are so we can assist them in their efforts to get where they want to go.  To do this in classrooms with students from all types of backgrounds and perspectives we often need to learn and re-learn to actively listen and be fully present in the moment in the classroom.  We need to be willing and able to take the same critical eye we model for our students in examining scholarly texts (and student work) and turn that gaze to our own perspective, language, approach, and position.  Join us for what we hope will be a productive conversation.

P.R.I.D.E. (Promoting Resilience and Identity Development through Empowerment): A Psycho-educational Curriculum for Young Black Men

Amber A. Hewitt, Ph.D.
University of Akron

Black young men face unique challenges that impact their gendered-racial identity development.  These young men are developing a sense of self in a society that does not always affirm their identities.  Black young men living in an urban area were interviewed about their experiences of being Black and male in this society.  From these discussions, an intervention was designed, P.R.I.D.E., that tackles the unique stressors facing young Black young men. The purpose of P.R.I.D.E. is to counteract systemic barriers that impact identity development and to foster critical consciousness in Black young men. The P.R.I.D.E. curriculum deconstructs the historical and contemporary images of Black men, in addition to topics such as masculinity, identity, media, coping with violence, and social advocacy.  In this session, presenters will be introduced to the contextual factors impacting the identity development of Black young, and learn about the core components of the P.R.I.D.E. curriculum.

God, Soldiers, and Burnt Ships - Part One

Brian Heat
Motivational Speaker, Rockstar Educator, Entrepreneur and Radio Show Host with Rock The World Radio

Taken from the track verse “God gives his strongest soldiers, the toughest battles fused with the military legend of generals who fearlessly burnt their ships after their men charged the sands doing this to convey that there would be no retreat and no surrender….”God, Soldiers and Burnt Ships” explores the unstoppable mindset young men of color must possess to face the societal obstacles and self-limiting beliefs that too often deter them from living out their full potential, professional success and the attainment of their dreams.  



4:05 pm to 5:00 pm – Keynote Speaker Dr. Terrell Strayhorn – Student Union Theatre

7:30 pm – Friday Evening Entertainment – Steve Harvey – by ticket only! (Sold out) (E.J. Thomas Center for Performing Arts)


9:00 to 9:55 am – Keynote Speaker – "Hoodwinked: A Doculogue Discussion" – Featuring Janks Morton (Student Union Ballroom) Watch Trailer here. - Note: The Movie “Hoodwinked” will be shown on Tuesday, April 8, at 6:00 p.m. in the Student Union Ballroom


Session 3 - Saturday April 12, 2014 - 10:00 - 10:50 

Speaking to the Youth

Randy Kearse

Randy Kearse, host of Straight Talk w/Big Randy Kearse, a 5x published author, motivational speaker, and entrepreneur has several stories to tell.  Once deemed a menace to society by a judge who sentenced him to 15 years in prison for conspiracy to distribute narcotics, he served his lengthy sentence (13 years, 6 months and 2 days) and returned to society a changed man.  Speaking To The Youth is one of Mr. Kearse's most powerful workshops he's designed to educate, empower, and help today’s young black males navigate the complex issues they face on a daily basis.  Using his personal experiences, he exposes the twisted mentality and unprincipled principles black males live by, die by, and are sent to prison for because they live and think from a street mentality.  When speaking to the youth, Randy examines the impact of the urban street mentality/culture on their lives, choices, and futures, and how to break the cycle of poor decision-making, negative thinking, and destructive behavior.

Education and Success with Self-Acknowledged Responsibility

Dr. David S. Points, JD, LLM, Ed S, PhD
Former Director, Freshmen Experience & Associate Professor of Education at Lane College, Jackson, TN;
Retired Detroit (Michigan) Public School Educator;
Retired U S Navy Commander, Director, Joint Information Bureau, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba

Many sources of research data identify the low high-school graduation rates of African American males in the United States as a result of lack of positive role models, a poor labor market, social, income, drugs, and incarceration.  The Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University reported that one in ten male high-school dropouts are incarcerated or in detention, and for young African American males, the number of high-school dropouts is one in four. This trend must stop.  The importance of education must be introduced by educators as a priority for lifelong success.  African American males must be introduced to the realistic benefits of earning a high-school diploma, GED, certificate completion, associate, bachelor, graduate, or professional degree. African American males must accept and acknowledge their contribution in the learning process, taught to be personally responsible for their actions, and be held accountable for their behavior in and out of the classroom.  Teaching the benefits, importance, and value of education should be consistent, meaningful, and ongoing.  African American males who achieve educational success build self-confidence, provide a solid foundation for future careers, and improve their quality of life.

Coaching the Dream: The Power of the Parent/Student Partnership

Deborah H Johnson and Jay Richardson
Goal Minded, LLC and the Jay Richardson Foundation

This program shows the power of the parent/student partnership and how it exponentially increases student success.  Deborah Johnson has reared three successful black men, two with Division 1 scholarships, and one who conquered the hurdles due to multiple forms of dyslexia and was admitted to a university level business program.  She catalogs this journey in her book, “Coaching the Dream.”  She and her son, Jay Richardson, NFL Player and former Ohio State Buckeye, present critical steps for effective parent/student partnership and clearly define the process of forming a “dream team” for success that involves family, community, and education partners.  Their work with the Jay Richardson Foundation, reaching out to primarily black males who are at risk for graduating from high school, has helped many young men to successfully complete high school and go on to college

The College Journey: Opening Opportunities for African American Males

Candice Logan-Washington
Baltimore County Public Schools

Baltimore County Public Schools is progressively accelerating a world-class education and a 21st century college readiness culture for all students. Woodlawn High School is a county suburban school with urban characteristics and many challenges.  In 2009, in partnership with the National AVID Center, a cohort of 26 Grade 9 African American males was selected to participate in the “African American Male Initiative” (AAMI) research study.  Join us as we trace the journey and progress of these students from high school to college.  This session demonstrates the system’s focus and plans in preparing all students to be globally competitive.  The presentation includes AVID instruction; cultural responsive teaching; access to AP courses; instructional technology; mentoring; student retention; support resources; and student successes which all support improving student achievement and college readiness.  Participants will examine the AAMI as a model to use for similar learning environments.

The M.V.P. Character Education & Literacy Program

David L. Morgan

During my 20+ years as a locally and nationally-recognized sportswriter, journalist, and author, I developed a passion for working with young people, a passion to encourage them to reach their full potential, a passion to show them that they can be successful if they are willing to do the right things, regardless of their background or socioeconomic status.  As a result, I created The M.V.P. (Most Valuable Person) Character Education & Literacy Program in 2010.

Concurrent Session

Dr. Joseph L. White

Student Union Theatre

Session 4 - Saturday April 12, 2014 - 11:05 - 11:55

Maximizing Your Brain Power: Conflict Resolution using Mindfulness

Delila Owens, Ph.D. and LaShaunte Edwards
The University of Akron

The presenters will go through interpersonal communication conflict scenarios and introduce workshop participants to formal mindfulness techniques that can be used when they encounter conflicts.  This workshop promises to teach you how to "halt" before you respond.

Stressed!? Is Weed the Answer?

Nathan Griffin Co-Presenter:  Patrick Jackson
Office of Multicultural Development Graduate Assistant

College is a time for exploration and experimentation – so why not try smoking weed or some other controlled substance.  African American males are disproportionately portrayed as drug users and dealers and incarcerated at an alarming higher rate.  In 2012, The National Survey for Drug Use and Health by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services identified African American college students (18 – 22 years of age) as the leading participants in illicit drug use.  Young men can first try drugs to fit in, as a stress reliever, or just out of boredom.  This session will explore the issue of drug use and addiction in the African American community and its impact on college graduation, career potential, and community development.  Family can play an important role in drug determent and drug treatment.  Recommendations will be provided to counteract the factors that lead to drug use which negatively impacts the college experience for African American students.

“A first generation college student’s Survival Kit: What you may not know about college before enrolling and how to FINISH what you start!”

Marquitta Minniefield, M.A.
University advising, College Success coach

This interactive, dialogue centered, session will address the concerns of college before entering and how to succeed while attending.  We will also discuss the concerns of financial aid, internships, networking, employment and professional development before and after graduation. Participants will also discuss where first generation college students go wrong and how to advance towards a successful college degree.  Further attention will be given towards the psychological impact of one’s own self-perception based on knowledge of the institution of their choice.

Educating Black Males with Dyslexia: Recommendations for Appropriate Classroom Practice Using Project Success

Shawn Robinson
Cardinal Stritch University

Most of the scholarship about Black males focuses on the achievement gap, their under-representation in gifted and advanced placement, and over-representation in special education classes, school suspensions, and expulsions.  Although over-represented in special education, Black males with dyslexia are seldom given attention in scholarly works.  Based on an extensive review of the literature, the author was unable to locate articles or studies specifically on Black males with dyslexia.  This void of scholarship (theory, research, and practice) requires a sense of urgency to share information and resources on the experiences and needs of Black males who have learning disabilities (LD).  The focuses on Black males with dyslexia and provides recommendations for appropriate classroom practice based the author’s lived experiences; who first learned how to read at age 18.  I will share a college program (Project Success) and a methodology that, literally, saved my life.

Empowering African-Americans, particularly African-American Males, giving them a racial uplift through the knowledge of Civil Rights.

Lynn Lee
Motivational Speaker
Photo Journalist

I am concerned that the movement, when it is given classroom time, is reduced to lessons about a handful of heroic figures and the four words “I have a dream.”  Students need to know that the movement existed independently of its most notable leaders, and that thousands of people mustered the courage to join the struggle, very often risking their lives.

They need to know that as long as race is a barrier to access and opportunity and as long as poverty is commonplace for people of color, then the dream has not been achieved.  For the past 15-years, I have been associated with the oldest and boldest civil rights organization; the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).  Through oratorical rendering of historical events, i.e., the NAACP State and National Convention, 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington, 2008 and 2012 Presidential Inaugurations, and other Civil Rights experiences; I have educated many.  Not only as a Photo Journalist with the Reporter, an African-American Newspaper, I also attend and participate at the NAACP National Convention as a “Voting Delegate,” voting for the civil/human rights of African-Americans.


Session 5 - Saturday April 12, 2014 - 12:05 - 12:55

Black Male Business Symposium

Bob Lanier
Black Pages Ohio

Under the direction of the University of Akron, Black Pages Ohio would like to facilitate a panel discussion entitled the Black Male Business Symposium.  It is our objective to target, locate, and acquire the participation of key African-American entrepreneurs, upper-level executives, and business professionals from across Northeast Ohio and involve them in this unique dialogue which will provide area high school students and students of the University of Akron with information about numerous prospects that may be available for them during their academic tenure and beyond.  Black Pages Ohio will reach out to its numerous partners including Nationwide Insurance, Turner Construction, Mike Pruitt Honda, Grand Aire, PNC Bank, Huntington Bank, and The Business Doctor LLC, among others – to acquire the participation of an assortment of professionals who in addition to being leaders in their respective fields, also carry a certain level of expertise and business know-how which they will be able to communicate to students curious about entrepreneurial ship, business development, and other opportunities. In addition to those who will serve on the panel, other representatives from these and other entities will be on hand to answer student inquiries and share their experiences with attendees.  The professionals involved in the Black Male Business Symposium will help area students learn more about small businesses, corporations, and the opportunities presented by entrepreneurial ship. This symposium will also encourage Black Males to become business owners rather than employees by teaching them to explore opportunities, utilize resources currently available, and motivate students to get an early start on their future by broadening their horizons and contributing to Ohio’s diverse pool of entrepreneurial talent.

Retention, Graduation and Student Success

Professor Pamela McCauley Bush
University of Central Florida

Professor Bush leads the CECS in the production of Ph.D. graduates that are underrepresented (AA and female) and is a living role model to students and a valuable tool for attracting, engaging and empowering diverse student leaders and innovators across the country.  Dr. Bush fires up students and professionals of all ages to pursue Science, Math, Engineering and Technology educational paths and successful STEM careers.  She shares practical advice and guidance on navigating the educational landscape inter-twined with her personal stories of overcoming academic and professional adversity and challenges.  She unravels the myths around who “should and could” be an excellent STEM Professional in light of or “in spite of” current personal or disadvantaged situations.  Dr. Bush highlights why STEM careers are a realistic, exciting and lucrative choice and, through data and supporting research, demonstrates why STEM education is critically important to the health of communities, corporations and to national and global economies.

African American Males Who Pursue Post-Secondary Education: An Expose

Mark Worthy, Don Trahan Jr., Jason Fuller
University of New Mexico

The disappearance of African American men from the post-secondary scene has captured the attention of administrators, educators, policy-makers, sociologists and researchers alike (Hefner, 2004).  Ironically, the pathway to economic and social advancement that was once desired by African Americans, now more than 50 years after Brown v. Board of Education in 1954, does not appear to possess the same "charm" as evidenced by a decrease in enrollment, especially among African American men (Hefner, 2004). In order to address this area of concern (i.e., African American males who pursue post-secondary degrees), the researcher conducted a pilot study to gain insights from African Americans (i.e., men and women) who have a background in academia at the graduate level (e.g., M.A., M.S., M.Ed., Ph.D.). The purpose of this study was to explore and describe how African American men are able to weather the social, economic, and cultural storms that inundate so many, who partake in post- secondary education. More precisely, this study addresses the barriers that contribute to the decrease in enrollment among African American males.  The following themes emerged: lack of awareness, economic hardships, institutionalized racism, and the disproportionate number of African American faculty.

The Streets or the Classroom: Developing a Counter-Narrative for Black Male Achievement

Dr. Robert L. Murphy
Retired High School Administrator

Ohio currently ranks 46th nationally in high school graduation rates for African American males.  The ten-year trend, 2001-2010, shows that an average of 43.8% of Black boys graduated from Ohio high schools.  The 2012 Schott Foundation Report, “The Urgency of Now,” states that there were 147,110 African American males in schools in Ohio.  If this 43.8% trend continues, 82,673 of these boys will not graduate from high school. How can we reverse this trend and equip our young men with the requisite attitude, skills, and strategies to be successful in school, college, the work force, and in life?  This presentation will address the development of a counter-narrative to the messages that our boys hear in the neighborhood, in the media, and often in our schools.  The goal of this interactive workshop is to assist the participants in developing strategies to address the abysmal downward trajectory of our young men.  The participants will explore and discuss research topics which may/will shed some light on the causes and sources of the problems that our boys face and provide solutions to unlocking the tremendous potential that these young men possess. 

Some of the topics to be discussed are: 

  • Manhood, Identity, and the Media
  • Attitudes our boys bring to school
  • Mindset – Are our boys trapped in the Matrix?
  • Perseverance, Drive, and Grit
  • Role models – What are the adults saying and doing?
  • Culturally Relevant Pedagogy – Are our teachers equipped to address the issues?

Are Black Fraternities Still Relevant?

Tierney Bates
University of Louisville

We often talk about the rich history and legacies of the black fraternal organizations, but now that all of them have historical landmarks of 100 plus years, are they still relevant? Are the ideologies of the founders and the principles 100 years later still grounded in their mission and vision in 2014?  Producing some of the best minds among African-American male leadership in the last century, what are these organizations facing and where are they headed?  This presentation will look at the historical context these organizations have had on culture, education, communities, socioeconomics, and leadership.  As African-American male college graduation is low, what strategies can these organizations provide and address in helping the matriculation of African-American males to college and more.  What does tradition look like in 2014?  Are black fraternities in mediocre status, or are they still relevant in the black community?

God, Soldiers, and Burnt Ships - Part Two

Brian Heat
Motivational Speaker, Rockstar Educator, Entrepreneur and Radio Show Host with Rock The World Radio

Taken from the track verse “God gives his strongest soldiers, the toughest battles fused with the military legend of generals who fearlessly burnt their ships after their men charged the sands doing this to convey that there would be no retreat and no surrender….”God, Soldiers and Burnt Ships” explores the unstoppable mindset young men of color must possess to face the societal obstacles and self-limiting beliefs that too often deter them from living out their full potential, professional success and the attainment of their dreams.  

The Power of National Service to Help Black Males Succeed

City Year Cleveland

Similar to non-black males in other groups, black males require both academic and socio-emotional supports.  Research-based evidence highlights the importance positive role models and relationships play in the success of black men.  City Year Cleveland Executive Director and Vice President, Phillip M. Robinson, Jr., will share how national service can serve as a powerful vehicle to support helping at-risk black males get back on track to graduate.  Through an interactive conversation, Phillip will discuss how City Year attracts a diverse group of young idealists who are 17-24 years old with more than 90 percent holding a college degree.  He will explain how this next generation of leaders is serving every day, all day, as near-peer mentors, tutors, and role models to help black males succeed both socially, emotionally, and academically.  


1:30 – 2:30 pm - Keynote Luncheon Speaker – David Johns – Executive Director, White House Initiative on Education Excellence for African Americans – U.S. Department of Education, Washington, DC – (Student Union Ballroom)


Session 6 - Saturday April 12, 2014 - 2:40 - 3:30

They Are Not All Lost

Dawn Kirk-Alexander
Executive Producer
Not All Lost Productions

“They Are Not All Lost," is a documentary series hosted by various celebrities; highlighting youth of color determined to achieve success, and the obstacles they encounter along the way.  To Whom It May Concern: as the single mother of an African American male, and a filmmaker, I have asked myself and still do: “how can we protect and change the harsh realities all of our sons will face growing up Black in America.”   We believe as many of our colleagues do, that the media is a large part of the problem when it comes to creating the negative images of Black Men and Boys. That is why we decided to produce the award-winning documentary “They Are Not All Lost (TANAL).”   I will screen and facilitate a discussion regarding TANAL.  A 10 minute version is at the following link:  Trayvon Martin Didn't Die in Vain - Stop Racial Profiling  " This award-winning documentary highlights the racial profiling of young people of color, and presents positive images of these young people overcoming adversity.  It may have stopped the most recent deadly incident.

Peer Mentoring As A Retention Tool For At-Risk African American Male College Students: A Pilot Program

Oney D. Fitzpatrick, Ph.D. and Freddie Titus, Ed.D.
Lamar University

The retention and graduation of African American male college students is a nationwide concern.  When students do not complete their college degree programs, there is both a social and economic impact on the students, as well as the educational institutions.  The positive impact of student-to-student programs is well documented in the higher education literature.  The National Pan-Hellenic Council Peer Mentoring Program (NPHCPMP) at Lamar University was designed to provide a student-to-student connection and resource for African American freshman and sophomore male students.  The objectives of the pilot program are to contribute to improved retention and graduation rates of African American male students by assisting them in their academic, emotional and social adjustment to college via a mentoring process.  Results indicate that the program has been successful in providing academic, emotional and social support of the participants, which has translated into increased retention rates of those in the program.  Implications and future directions are discussed.

Identifying and Conquering the Saboteur: The Achievement of Academic Success on Predominantly White College Campuses

Shanette M. Harris, Ph.D.
University of Rhode Island, Department of Psychology

The environment of the predominantly white college campus has rarely been hospitable to students of color (SOC).  This finding has been associated with pre-college and in-college characteristics that influence the retention, progress, and graduation of African American students.  However, there is a unique set of factors that seem to interfere with the progress and eventual success of African American male students that deserve consideration.  The purpose of this presentation is to identify the personal and environmental influences that interfere with and prevent African American males (more than other gender and race/ethnic groups) from consistently demonstrating academic skill and mastery at a level consistent with their actual ability and competence levels.  Collectively, these influences are referred to as the "saboteur".  Psycho-emotional and behavioral strategies will also be presented and discussed to assist potential college students and enrolled students in how to become aware of and reduce the power and impact of this specific set of barriers during the college life cycle.

What else you got?

Earle G. Airey III
Victory Leadership & North Coast Community Partners

This presentation combines emotional intelligence with servant leadership to create positive social change.  By connecting with the human elements of an organization or community and rallying them to greatness can bring out tremendous potential in any society.  By giving others the tools necessary for success contributes to success for us all.  There are those who have a desire to lead others and have many reasons to do so, but is it clearly understood what will be required of them to lead successfully?  With 50 to 70 percent of today's management being largely ineffective, the cry for high-quality leadership has never been louder.  Those who have not adequately prepared for the task of leadership will have a tough time getting past the question, "What else you got?" This presentation attempts to unleash the thought process by looking through the lenses of Emotional Intelligence and Servant Leadership that can start an aspiring leader down the path to confidently answer that question.

The New "N" Word - Networking

Eric Troy
President & CEO of EJT Consulting

Attendees will learn the unique way that black males establish and engage their NETWORK.

From the classroom to the boardroom black males connect with other black males to keep it real.

The session will provide attendees with principals and outcomes on how to assist black males in developing their networking skills to become effective communicators in society.

Is your network weak?  See you at the session

Eric J. Troy, M.A. is an established entrepreneur as the President & CEO of EJT Consulting - a premier consulting firm specializing in leadership development. He has over two decades of experience in the areas of education, advertising, marketing, media relations and sports development in both North America and South Africa. He has worked for Fortune 500 corporations such as, Coca-Cola, McDonalds, Nationwide Insurance and South African based Telkom, S.A. He has advised professional athletes in the area of brand and image marketing representing MLB, NFL and the NBA.

Eric is a recognized marketing expert and consummate public speaker that promotes creative and results-oriented solutions for communicating effectively with audiences from all cultures and economic levels. Eric is a highly sought-after professional speaker, having presented before numerous associations, conferences, educational, corporate and community audiences throughout the country. He is considered an expert by both local and national print, radio and broadcast media on black male leadership development and community engagement. He has been featured on NPR and ESPN Classics.

Eric serves as the program director, for the Office of Outreach and Engagement at The Ohio State University (OSU) managing the marketing for the Weinland Park community engagement initiative and the faith-based initiative for the Office of the President. Prior to rejoining OSU, he was the associate director of 21st century learning skills for the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) were he managed the content for Manufacturing Technologies and promoting 21st Century Skills Learning. Prior to joining ODE, Troy was the director for the Leadership Center for African American Males for the Ohio Board of Regents.

In addition, Eric held various positions at OSU, as program director for the Todd Anthony Bell National Resource Center on the African American Male, manager of public relations & special projects, and program director of the Upward Bound Program for the Office of Minority Affairs

Eric has been published in The Ohio State University Alumnus Magazine, “The Common Bond” The impact of Hip-Hop Music on Main Stream Society. Eric has developed curriculum and taught Sports Marketing as an adjunct faculty member at Columbus State Community College.

Eric received his B.A. in marketing from Morehouse College and holds an M.A. in Sports Management from the Ohio State University. Listed in Who’s Who in U.S. Executives, he serves on various boards and committees. Eric, his wife Gayle, reside in Gahanna, Ohio, and daughter Raykale, resides in Las Vegas, Nevada.


Session 7 - Saturday April 12, 2014 - 3:45 - 4:35  

Changin' Your Game Plan

Randy Kearse

From a.Straight A student to Drug Kingpin to Federal Prison Inmate for 15 years to Motivational TV Talk Show Host, best-selling author, and motivational speaker - this is a true story of change that will inspire people from all walks of life.  Changin' Your Game Plan is based on the bestselling book, Changin' Your Game Plan:  How I used incarceration as a stepping stone for SUCCESS.  This powerful presentation is a blueprint for overcoming adversity and the challenge to change.  It will show how to take a negative situation and turn it into a positive opportunity. Changin' Your Game Plan challenges the self-destructive "street" "prison" and the "Game" mentality and provides an exit to a new, positive, and productive way of thinking for one's family, community, and oneself.  One doesn't have to be or have been physically incarcerated to benefit from this presentation, because there are so many people mentally, emotionally, spiritually incarcerated.

Listening to Successful African American Male Voices: Strengthening the High School to College Pipeline

Shirley E. Faulkner-Springfield, Writing Program Coordinator, Summer Medical and Dental Education Program, Duke University Medical Center; and graduate student, Rhetoric and Writing Program, Bowling Green State University
Rashad Thompson, first-year college student, Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio
Malon Smith, first-year college student and football player, Bluffton University, Bluffton, Ohio.

Panel Presentation Proposal: Listening to Successful African American Male Voices: Strengthening the High School to College Pipeline.  Successful African American males’ voices are marginalized in society, and they are marginalized and under theorized in the academy.  “Although many African American males are achieving at commendable levels and are navigating the academic and social currents of the lives, their experiences have gone unnoticed” (Polite and Davis).  My dissertation project explores the literacy practices of two eighteen-year-old African American males who are enrolled in four-year institutions of higher education in Ohio.  More specifically, it attempts to discern the socio-cultural factors that contribute to their success in society and in college, specifically in writing courses, as well as the factors that impede their success in those contexts. In our presentation or panel discussion, presenters will collaboratively describe our experiences in the academy then individually discuss the particular strategies each has developed for succeeding in college.  We want to improve African American males’ opportunities to attend college by sharing our experiences with them.  In this sense, we are operating as an informal advocacy network that we hope will eventually result in more opportunities to help make African American males college-ready, specifically as that readiness relates to succeeding in writing courses since there is a strong correlation between students who fail English classes and retention rates (2011 U.S. Department of Education Report).  Presenter one will discuss her role as a writing teacher who applies theoretical and pragmatic approaches to teaching and learning to help African American males attain their goals in writing courses and in the academy, in general. Presenter two will discuss his transition from high school to college, focusing on the strategies and resources that help him succeed in those contexts. Presenter three will discuss his transition from high school to college, focusing on the strategies and resources he uses to succeed in those contexts.  He will also discuss the strategies and resources he uses to help him succeed as a student athlete. 

Five-Star Student Success Plan

Robert Welch
CROP Director
University of Florida

This presentation will focus on five important points that students, faculty, and staff need in order to achieve successful retention and graduation rates for male students of color.  The five points include: (1) early detection of student academic or personal needs; (2) new student orientation; (3) academic enrichment and support; (4) personal and career development advising; and (5) individual student achievement plans.  The Five-Star Student Success Plan aims to increase students’ retention and graduation rates for men of color and includes campus-wide professional development training for faculty and staff. This unique action plan will help professionals who are looking to improve their students’ retention and graduation rates as well as impact their entire campus community.

Word on da Street": Retention and Graduation as it Pertains to Language

Michael Davis, Dr. Arthur Palacas, Telsha Curry, Dr. Charles DeBose
Student African American Brotherhood, Pan-African Student Organization, University of Akron Department of English

Recognize Ebonics as a language in the classroom. The presenters will address the controversy surrounding the African American Language or Ebonics, and how it has affected society as a whole.  Additionally, there will be a concentration on the history and derivation of Ebonics, the linguistic, psychological, and social aspects of the language, and most importantly, the current state of the language and its speakers.  The goal of this session is to ultimately educate those who are interested in knowing the truth about Ebonics and its validity as a language.  This session will be beneficial to anyone who has a desire to be informed on issues regarding the African American Language or Ebonics.  This session will be facilitated by Dr. Charles DeBose who was one of the first African Americans to receive a Ph.D. in Linguistics; Dr. Arthur Palacas who has dedicated his life to unveiling that fact that recognizing Ebonics is critical to its speakers’ educational experience, Telsha Curry, a graduate student of English, and Michael Davis a student leader who defends the linguistic validity of Ebonics.

Financial Literacy – Cashflow 101

Jerrett Gibbons, The University of Akron; The House of the Lord - Rites of Passage

Jerrett Gibbons
The University of Akron  
The House of the Lord - Rites of Passage

“If you think money will solve problems, I’m afraid you are in for a rough ride.  Intelligence solves problems and produces money.  Money without financial intelligence is money soon gone.”  Using a simple game this workshop will:

  • Clear up the myths about money, assets, liabilities, and cash flow.
  • Discuss the three types of assets you will need to become a power investor.
  • Learn money management skills to allow you to keep control of your money and put it to work.

A Word of Caution:  This interactive workshop will disturb anyone with strong middle-class financial values.  This class may not be for you if you are not willing to have these values challenged.  If you want bold new ideas about money that will change your financial life . . . this workshop is for you!

Kobe vs. LeBron: The Debate we Forget to have with Ourselves!

Joe Johnson, M.A., LSC
Future 4 Teens
Joe Johnson Speaks

This experiential session is designed to illuminate the pitfalls of recognizing one’s ability to create a team that nurtures the individual’s journey toward their purpose.  Through a critique of the Kobe Bryant vs. LeBron James debate; we will address what it means to view life through an individualistic lens. We will also address the “Team Concept” and how applicable this concept is for our lives.  This session will provide participants with practical strategies to develop self-awareness, understand their current “Team”, re-evaluate the meaning of “Friends”, and also provide strategies to build a more effective “Team”.  In addition to acquiring tangible skills toward these goals; participants will engage in interactive dialogue and have the opportunity to hear directly from African American males involved with Future 4 Teens (F4T) programs.  This session is conducive to generalist learning for mental health providers, academic officials, community organization leaders, parents, young adult, and youth populations.  An environment of collective learning will be fostered, the exchange of experiences encouraged, and healthy systemic challenging will be facilitated.

Poster Session:  Professional Leadership Growth and Academic Career Development for Black Minorities in Distance Education Programs in the 21st Century

Dustin Bessette
National Graduate School of Quality Systems Management

The tiring need for entrepreneurship has been spread among the vast networks characterized by social enterprises of skilled professionals from diverse backgrounds.  The basis of all career development is in entrepreneurship.  Individuals have the ability to dissect, compose, and create their own future based on the current outcomes of others.  This is noticed in a majority of the graduate students obtaining degrees at US institutions through distance education.  Theses graduate students have backgrounds that are now coming from distance education programs.  Human benchmarking is a developed tactic used by many professionals to gain knowledge on current processes and metrics that can help current industry practices.  The processes that can be implemented by black minorities can be devised and compromised to meet the needs of the businesses and expectations. The expectations for businesses rise based on the need to increase performance and output for desired customers and clients.  Many of these clients want to have leaders help run businesses and set major goals based on reaching top-level goals in the industry. Leadership is a two-fold trait that is needed in many organizations and can be earned by high levels of communication through employment experiences and education.  Currently, there are not enough black minorities earning leadership roles or positions in businesses throughout the nation.  This lack of minority leadership changes the forefront of how management controls internal operations and practices.  Management is a keen tool and is widely used in many industries.  Management professionals who have educational backgrounds in distance learning will become valuable to the main operations in businesses across the nation.  This is because many of these individuals have the opportunity to become entrepreneurs of their own dreams and insights.  Many of the individuals in their past did not have the slightest opportunity to pursue areas of interest that these individuals possess.  This is also a reason why there is such a high lapse of change in the industry and higher education.  This presentation has been developed to better support black minorities in distance education programs.  Career development tactics and tools are elements that are utilized and planted to help improve the processes in businesses.  By defining the characteristics of the businesses and implementing the vital factors, a process improvement plan is created and can be activated to increase and return on value for education distance educational programs.