Conference to Address Decline in Male College Enrollment
Award-winning poet, actor and writer Carlos Andrés Gómez will visit the UA to speak during the "Man Up and Go to College!" Conference.
College enrollment of males has been trending downward in numbers, and the shift has caught the attention of organizations and agencies across the nation.
In response at the University of Arizona, the Office of Early Academic Outreach launched "Project Pave the Way," an initiative funded by the Student Services Fee to provide engagement opportunities for University students as they work to increase college enrollment opportunities for local high school students.
"We are engaging students, not just on our campus, but connecting them to the neighboring Tucson community in a way that reaps benefits for University retention and our work in college access," said Rudy McCormick, director for the Office of Early Academic Outreach.
The "Man Up and Go to College!" Conference is the most recent event organized under the initiative, which was established also to help increase the number of low-income, first-generation and minority male high school students intent on pursing a college or university degree.
More than 250 high school students from 10 Tucson-area schools are expected to attend the Oct. 30 conference, which will be held from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Tucson Marriott University Park, 880 E. Second St.
Nolan Cabrera, an assistant professor in the UA Center for the Study of Higher Education, will speak at the start of the conference, sharing research on male enrollment and success in college.
Workshops will follow, teaching participants how to plan and pay for college and how to handle various challenges along the way. Award-winning poet, actor and writer Carlos Andrés Gómez then will speak with participants.
During a lecture to be held Oct. 30 from 6:30-8 p.m., Gómez will speak about reimagining modern manhood and masculinity. That event, which is free and open to the public, will be held in Room 350 of the Modern Languages Building, 1423 E. University Blvd. Attendees are asked to arrive no later than 6:30 p.m., as Gómez's session will begin promptly at 6:45.
Bryant Valencia, one of the program organizers, emphasized the importance of taking opportunities to reach out to young men and send positive messages.
"Because of low enrollment rates of men in higher education, there has been an increased concern as to why the gap between men and women pursuing a college degree is widening," said Valencia, the graduate assistant for the UA Office of Early Academic Outreach.
Since 1990, female undergraduate enrollment has increased by 52 percent, compared to 43 percent for male students, according to the U.S. National Center for Education Statistics.
"It is important that we take opportunities to reach out to young men and send positive messages about masculinity and the importance of education," Valencia said. "Many young men look to society and peers to be more 'manly,' and this does not always have positive outcomes toward themselves and females in their lives."
The initiative is supported by the $40 Student Services Fee, which helps UA organizations and offices to expand services and programs for students. Since receiving Student Services Fee funds, the Office of Early Academic Outreach has collaborated on programming with the UA's resource centers to host guest speakers.
The team, which also includes UA professor Gary Rhoades, who directs the Center for the Study of Higher Education, also organized "Masculinity and Its Many Intersections," a one-unit course being offered this semester through the center. Currently, 15 undergraduate students are taking the course and also have been involved in outreach. They will help with the conference.
"It is our hope that by engaging high school men and women through this conference," Valencia said, "and by involving college students through on-campus events, we are redefining and addressing issues of masculinity or what it means to be a man in a positive way."
What"Man Up and Go to College!" Conference
WhereTucson Marriott University Park, 880 E. Second St.
WhenOct. 30, 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Award-winning poet, actor and writer Carlos Andrés Gómez will speak during the conference. He also will speak about modern manhood during a lecture to be held Oct. 30 from 6:30-8 p.m. in Room 350 of the Modern Languages Building, 1423 E. University Blvd. The event is free and open to the public.
Resources for the media
UA Office of Early Academic Outreach
Rudy B. McCormick III
UA Office of Early Academic Outreach
UA Center for the Study of Higher Education
University of Arizona in the News