African American Male Initiative (AAMI)
After a year of planning by the African American Male Initiative (AAMI) Task Force, along with a preliminary unveiling of the program structure via a Campus Presentation, this college retention program formally began in Fall 2011 with a three-day Early Arrival Program (EAP) of fifty participants who were non-Porter Scholars, non-Athletes and non-Cardinal Covenant recipients.
The EAP consisted of 12 interactive sessions facilitated by UofL faculty, staff and administration to aid AAMI participants in their successful transition to college life at the University of Louisville. The EAP ended with a Closing Ceremony where students received certificates of participation.
The AAMI’s core Areas of Focus are expressed through the acronym of AMPS, representing Academic Engagement, Mentoring Support, Peer Connection and Student Involvement. Participants were encouraged to use academic support resources including REACH services, TRiO, the Writing Center, formal study groups as well as attend AAMI weekly study sessions. A Mentoring Family Network was established using upperclassmen, as well as members of faculty and staff to assist participants in navigating academic and personal challenges. Initial connection among peers was achieved through monthly Graduate Prep Strategy (GPS) meetings where students interacted and formed relationships through Team building, Icebreakers and other engaging Activities. Participants were also encouraged to join student organizations that were aligned with their area of study or future career interest such as the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (STEM), National Society of Black Engineers, Student Government Association, Association of Black Students as well as other recognized organizations to cultivate diverse and meaningful institutional connections.
Additional AAMI Activities and Services included:
- Instructor-led Resume Preparation Session
- Attendance to Black State of the University Address
- Participation in Intramural Football & Basketball Tournaments
- An out-of-state trip to the OSU’s Black Male Retreat
- Off-Campus Attendance of the Annual NPHC Stepshow
- Group Participation in the Wes Moore Visit & Dinner Conversation
- A visit to IUS for a Stay the Course address by Dr. Tyrone Bledsoe (SAAB founder)
- Volunteer services at the Black Women’s Appreciation Dinner
- Co-hosting campus visit of West End Boys School
- Attending engaging presentations & sessions by various UofL Campus Support Units
Additionally, academic achievement, retention and involvement of participants were closely tracked with interventions and other forms of essential support being extended to students fostering personal development and academic success toward the ultimate goal of degree attainment. These aims were also accomplished with students completing an Academic Self-Assessment and adhering to a concise Individual Study Plan.
Essential funding was provided by committed AAMI Partners including the Office of the Vice Provost for Diversity and International Affairs, the Office of Undergraduate Affairs, the Office of Community Engagement, the College of Arts and Sciences, and last but not least the University of Louisville’s Cultural Center. Pursuit of external funding to support the attainment of AAMI goals and objectives is ongoing.
Assessment, participant feedback and evaluation of the African American Male Initiative will continue to ensure participants are challenged and supported toward degree completion while ultimately improving institutional experiences and rates of graduation for African American males at the University of Louisville.
For more information contact Joey Wilkerson
AAMI Pictures: https://orgsync.com/30102/photos/albums