At Bethune-Cookman University, we not only educate the minds of the young men and women who enrich our campus, we also nurture their whole being.
Welcome to Male Development Initiatives, a BCU department designed to help young men discover and reach their fullest potential through academic excellence, personal development, and community engagement. The department’s multi-level approach extends to boys as young as 12 years old to college seniors. (A women’s version of this program is currently in the planning stage.)
Led by director Mr. Jermaine McKinney ’96 and supported by a team of educators, mentors, and peer leaders, the Male Development Initiative is comprised of four learning communities – Black Male College Explorers, Brother2Brother, Black Males of Higher Education Think Tank, and Progressive Black Men – that meet teens and young adults where they are at in their life journey and encourage them to strive for the best version of themselves.
“We are here to help young men discover their ‘Why,” McKinney said. “Graduation rates among African American males have not been the best nationally. So, in order to keep those young men in school and continuing to persist year after year, we try to put things in place that keep them engaged, that keep them wanting to stay in school.”
The department promotes the overall success of the participants by addressing educational, personal, and social challenges.
“When you connect with something or someone, you find more in the purpose of why you are here,” he continued. “So, we’re helping them to understand and develop personal, social and professional skills for success. We want to help them find their voice, so, by the time they are ready to leave (BCU), they're truly ready to take on the world.”
What makes this program unique is the building block approach to helping men build on the new skills they attain through their engagement. Here is how Bethune-Cookman University is helping young men become leaders of tomorrow:
BLACK MALE COLLEGE EXPLORERS
Started in 1993, the Black Male College Explorers Program (BMCEP) is designed to change the trajectory of males in grades 6-12 through academic excellence and holistic male development. Many, but not all, are at-risk students needing a second chance.
Prior to COVID, the young men would come to campus during the week for tutoring and on Saturdays for enrichment. The program is guided by BCU faculty, but also students who are participating in the department’s collegiate-level learning communities.
McKinney said BMCEP offers a win-win opportunity for all those involved. The college students gain invaluable experience in mentorship and leadership roles, while the middle and high school students have the chance to envision themselves learning and growing in college.