“Man Up” Program Off to Another Great Start

Oakland Community College’s nationally recognized “Man Up” program is off to another great start this year with 35 students enrolled this semester.

OCC leaders crafted “Man Up” in 2011 with the goal of keeping young African American men in school and on track to succeed.Man Up 2

This year’s cohort is participating in two off-site experiences including (1) The Art of Networking conference, coordinated by a former OCC student and Man Up participant and (2) a site visit to Wayne State University for a campus tour.

The goal of “Man Up” is to engage students early in their high school and college careers, making them aware of pitfalls they will encounter in college, and teach them how to surpass those,” says faculty member and program co-facilitator Dr. Lloyd Crews.

“There’s a huge academic gap between males and females and particularly, males of color,” Crews says. “What we’ve found as educators is that it’s important for young men to be successful from the start. If they come into a situation they are not prepared for, they often opt out rather than ask for help.”

One of the goals of “Man Up” is to teach students to not walk away from situations that are uncomfortable, meet challenges and get the work done, Crews says.

The purpose of the all-male environment is to help young men feel less apprehensive about saying they don’t know something.

“Man Up” offers both high school and college students lessons that are personal and academic in nature. They include study skills, time management, note taking, self-advocating, healthy relationships and budgeting. It facilitates group discussions on personal responsibility and accountability, especially toward peers. African American men who are successful in a variety of fields are also invited to make presentations to students about their careers and the path that led them there.

The program has helped nearly 200 students in the last five years at high schools in Oak Park, Southfield and Birmingham and the OCC campuses in Southfield, Royal Oak and Orchard Ridge. High school programs usually last 12 weeks. The format on college campuses is that of an ongoing club where students take on leadership roles.

“The program aims to teach students what expectations are in college early on,” says Jahquan Hawkins, Southfield Dean of Campus Affairs and “Man Up” advisor.

The term “Man Up” was chosen for several reasons, Hawkins adds. “We want young men to make the transition from boyhood to manhood and be accountable. They are also expected to pull the next man up and make sure they get to where they need to be. “Man Up” also teaches about having a greater purpose than yourself,” he adds. “The ‘Man Up’ program sheds light on the fact that you have influence over other people and you have to handle that influence responsibly.”

To find out more about “Man Up,” contact Hawkins at jchawkin@oaklandcc.edu.

With campuses located throughout Oakland County, OCC is the largest of Michigan’s 28 community colleges and the 25th largest in the nation. The college offers degrees and certificates in approximately 100 fields including university transfer and general studies degrees.

The program was nationally recognized in 2013 at the Annual 2014 Convention of the American College Personnel Association. It was one of 10 programs nationally —and the only one run by a community college—featured at the convention.

By Margarita Wagerson

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