The History of Pathways 3MP - Past, Present and Future

Program Inception 
In 2006, Community College system professionals across the state began examining retention and graduation rates among community college students.  The results of their findings indicated that a systemic method be put in place to address and eventually improve the low academic retention and graduation rates among the minority male student population.   As a result, the NC Community College System’s Minority Male Mentoring Initiative Pilot Project was formed to address these concerns; six community colleges in the state of North Carolina were selected for the Pilot project; a few years later, Wake Technical Community College became a part of the NC Community College System’s group of participating colleges within the minority male mentoring initiative.  Subsequently, a state-supported male mentoring grant was obtained. 

In examining institutional numbers in the areas of minority male retention and graduation, a decision was made to move forward with programming efforts.  Under careful consideration by Wake Tech’s president (Dr. Stephen Scott), Wake Tech Community College made a collective decision to compose a task force for minority males, to support system-wide retention and graduation efforts. Student Development Dean, Dr. Paul Norman, along with a number of staff, faculty and students invested the time and planning to pursue this initiative with support from Dr. Robert Ireland, Vice-President of Student Services at that time.  Later, the task force was narrowed down to a much smaller group, to include persons such as Troy Woodruff, Regina Willis, JoAnne Clayton and Dean Norman.  While kicking-off programming efforts, the task force began to see the need to bring on an individual whose sole purpose was to focus on the structuring and implementation of the male mentoring initiative more effectively.   

As a result, on March 12, 2008, Will Kincy was hired as the full time coordinator, whose primary duty was to structure and implement the minority male mentoring program at Wake Tech.  Being effectively mentored by the task force, Will, along with the task force pioneers and other interested colleagues, dedicated themselves to making a tremendous impact on program participants and the Wake Tech community.  In working to enhance the image and intention of the African American Male Initiative, Wake Tech’s mentoring program name was soon changed to the “Pathways Leadership Initiative.”  At that time, about 38 North Carolina Community Colleges had male mentoring initiatives that worked to address low retention and graduation rates.  

In 2013, the NC Community College System’s Minority Male Mentoring “Initiative” became a “Program,” acquired a total of 46 participating community colleges, and moved away from the traditional mentoring model into a coaching model; with this model, student participants were coached throughout their college experience while in the program.  Research has shown that coaching fosters a higher level of confidence and independence within the students, thus increasing their chances of success academically and in the professional workforce following graduation.  In adapting to the program’s evolvement from a system-wide perspective, the Pathways Leadership Initiative’s name later changed to, “Pathways 3MP” (Pathways Minority Male Mentoring Program), and the program name was undergirded with the phrase, “Males Pursuing Pathways to Success.” The caliber of student mentees within the Pathways 3MP evolved over time, and attendance at mentoring sessions and program events became more consistent.  A number of active student mentees graduated and/or transferred to four-year universities such as NC Central University, UNC-Chapel Hill and UNC-Greensboro, UNC Wilmington and UNC Charlotte.  In addition, several have successfully entered the work force.  A program Advisory Team has been established to continue efforts in building working relationships across Wake Tech, with The Office of Financial Aid, Registration and Records, the Curriculum and Pre-Curriculum divisions and the Wake Tech Foundation.   The image of the Pathways 3MP continuously enhanced, through involvement in on-campus and off-campus events. The “pathways” used to reach the goals of increased academic retention and graduation rates included personal/academic counseling, exposure to educational seminars and workshops, 4-year college tours, volunteerism, individual and group mentoring, careful tracking of student progress and exposure to networking opportunities through outside conferences.  

Present-Day and Going Forward.
Beginning with the 2016-17 academic year, the NCCCS is redesigning the Minority Male Mentoring Program to more closely align with the student success initiatives currently taking place throughout our system.  The new model is designed to strengthen minority male student outcomes by encouraging participation and collaboration among student participants and institutional departments.  To help achieve the stated goal, the NCCCS is seeking for colleges to make a three-year commitment to assess and enhance the student success outcomes of minority male students. 

The primary reasons for the redesign are to:

  • Increase student success;
  • Maximize student and campus participation; and
  • Increase program effectiveness and efficiency. 

Pathways’ name has now been revised as “Pathways Male Mentoring and Leadership Services.”  No longer are we a program, but rather more of a service.  We have a group of 12 student mentees that will serve as student mentors, across 3 teams; those teams are the Peer Mentoring, Community Mentoring & Outreach and Social Teams. We will use this set-up to serve and engage first year minority male students across the main and northern wake campuses.  We have a detailed and functional website up and running (http://pathways.waketech.edu), kept current from semester to semester, now have a Facebook page and a presence on Instagram.  In addition, we have an email address ([email protected]) where persons within and outside of the college can send us any questions, comments, and/or suggestions they may have. We also plan to refine our mentoring efforts, offering professional development for Wake Tech faculty and staff, highlighting the benefits of mentoring and coaching, what they entail, and the examination of the pitfalls and best practices of working with first-year minority male students.  In keeping with our mission, we aspire to work more across the Wake Tech community, and Wake County area, reaching more current and future students, building mentoring relationships with area public schools and four-year institutions.  We will continue our 4-year mentoring partnership with Salem Middle School, in Apex, NC, and will begin a new mentoring partnership with a Wake County High School, working alongside our college’s recruitment staff. 

Within our program’s practices, we will continue to strive towards our motto “to increase the success rates of the Wake Tech minority male student population in the areas of academic growth, retention and graduation, by way of mentoring through exposure to academic, social and career-based activities and opportunities.”