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OCTC CONTINUES TO INCREASE DIVERSITY OUTREACH

Owensboro Community and Technical College has joined the Minority Male Community College Collaborative (M2C3) National Consortium on College Men of Color. This is the first consortium dedicated specifically to advancing the success of men of color in community colleges.

Participation in the M2C3 Consortium will enhance our commitment to improving the success of historically underrepresented and underserved students, including men of color. Despite programs designed to enhance outcomes for men of color, in the United States only 17% and 15% of Black and Latino men, respectively, earn a certificate, degree, or transfer from a community college to a four-year institution in six years. Figures for men from other ethnic groups (e.g., Native American, Southeast Asian) also indicate an insurmountable need for improvement.

To combat this achievement gap, the M2C3 Consortium facilitates an exchange of ideas between community colleges across the nation on how best to serve men of color in our educational institutions. Community colleges share their efforts and learn about new strategies for enhancing the success of men of color.

OCTC s engagement in M2C3 will enhance professional development for faculty and staff, enable informed interventions for our current programs serving men of color, and inspire new initiatives addressing challenges facing these men. Launched in February 2015, the M2C3 has already seen much success in information sharing between community colleges. An average of more than 1,000 consortium members participates.

It is inspiring to see educators collaborate and openly share innovative ideas for serving men of color, said Frank Harris III, co-director of M2C3. We look forward to the future of M2C3 and the future success of men of color.

While this is just one part of the diversity initiatives at OCTC, it is an important one. Lewatis McNeal spearheads the college diversity projects in collaboration with other departments at OCTC. Lewatis McNeal leads our diversity outreach and he has been able to reach across campus and across the community to develop new projects and collaborate with a wide range of partners, commented Dr. Scott Williams, OCTC President.

In his three years at the college, McNeal has expanded the scope and breadth of the way the college views diversity and inclusion initiatives. "Diversity is not just about race, it is really about creating a learning environment that values differences," said McNeal. Some of the projects he developed collaboratively include: Building Opportunities for Student Success (BOSS), Minority Faculty Recruitment Outreach, Students Aligned for Equality (SAFE), and International Student Services. Some community initiatives McNeal is involved in include: Race Community and Child Welfare Committee (RCCW), Executive Board Member at the H.L. Neblett Community Center, and advocacy efforts to improve diversity and inclusion in the local public schools. McNeal was recognized for his contribution to the community efforts in October 2014 when he was honored with the Emerging Leader Award in October 2014 from the Owensboro Human Relations Commission.

To learn more about the M2C3 project or any of the OCTC Diversity initiatives please contact Lewatis McNeal at 270.852.8607 or lewatis.mcneal@kctcs.edu.