By Thad Nodine
During 2020-21, Miguel Jimenez, program coordinator of the Male Success Initiative at California State University, Stanislaus, worked with a team from his campus to develop a stronger institutional approach to engage and support Men of Color on campus. As part of this process, the team participated in several events by the CSU Student Success Network (Network) to examine student data, develop action plans, and implement changes on campus.
According to Jimenez, Stanislaus State’s participation in the Network’s Convenings and Middle Leadership Academy (Academy) was pivotal and timely in helping the campus strengthen its support for Men of Color. One of the biggest takeaways from the series of events, he said, was “how to use our data to paint our picture to tell our story… Data is the language that we use to make decisions.”
Jimenez also said that the actions undertaken by Stanislaus State were rooted in achieving the equity goals of CSU’s Graduation Initiative 2025. You can listen to Jiminez describe his campus’ work in this short video.
Central to the team’s success was its participation in a two-part workshop series focused on equitable ways to engage and support Men of Color in the CSU system. The Convenings were offered by the Network in collaboration with the Pullias Center of Higher Education at the University of Southern California (USC). Dr. Adrian Huerta, assistant professor of education at USC, led the series and engaged CSU campus teams in examining their student data and creating their own action plans to improve services and support for Men of Color on their campus.
According to Jimenez, each campus brought to the meetings “institutional data as it related to persistence, graduation, and how it compared to other student groups across gender, race, and ethnicity. I think just being able to pull that data and paint a picture of where our campus currently stands, that allowed us to really intentionally move forward in developing our services.”
Jimenez and his colleagues from Stanislaus State built on their work from the Convenings by also participating in the Network’s Academy. The Academy is a year-long professional development opportunity for campus teams to work together to examine data on an equity issue facing their campus and develop an action plan to strengthen the campus’ approach. At the Academy in 2020-21, Stanislaus State chose to develop an action plan focused on supporting Men of Color.
Jimenez said that networking across his own campus and across CSU campuses provided lasting benefits from the Academy: “Being able to engage with and build these support systems with other coordinators and other colleagues that were trying to figure things out during the pandemic as well … really helped build a support system so that I can tap on shoulders from folks on my campus or other campuses.”
At the Network’s annual conference in fall 2021, Jimenez joined Dr. Huerta and others in a plenary called “Men of Color in the CSU” where they shared information about research-based efforts in the CSU and in higher education generally to support and engage Men of Color. In a lively knowledge exchange following the plenary, Jimenez and Dr. Huerta joined participants from across the CSU in discussing these issues in small and large groups.
Learn more about Jimenez’s takeaways from the Network’s Men of Color Convenings in our video interview here.