Gordon State College Receives $15,000 USG AAMI Grant

For the fourth year in a row, The Gordon State College African-American Male Initiative program has received a $15,000 funding award from the University System of Georgia’s AAMI Program.

AAMI serves approximately 1,000 students at 22 institutions and is supported by 42 dedicated directors and assistant directors who selflessly volunteer their time to the program. Our AAMI directors include vice presidents, deans, professors and department chairs, of which 35 percent of our directors hold a PhD.

Between the fall of 2017 and 2019, the total number of students including African-American males (AAMs) enrolled at USG institutions decreased. However, the number of students in the African-American Male Initiative have increased each year. At some institutions between 11.8 – 28.5 percent of AAMs participated in AAMI. This coincides with the higher average cumulative GPA of AAMI students at some institutions.

Gordon State College remains to be one of the seven institutions that averages a cumulative GPA of AAMI students that exceeded the average cumulative GPA for all African-American males. This number remains unchanged from 2018.

At three institutions including Gordon State College, the average cumulative GPA of AAMI students exceeded the institutions’ for all African-American Males. This is an increase of one from 2018.

AAMI programs consistently exceed the retention rate of their respective institutions. There were 11 in 2018 or ½ of active programs; 10 in 2017; and 6 in 2016.

Last academic year, GSC members of AAMI maintained a 3.0 GPA while the overall campus-wide GPA for African American males attending Gordon averaged 1.95. Five members graduated in the fall of 2020 and eight graduated in the spring of 2021.

“Professor Traylor and the entire AAMI team have worked tirelessly to ensure that members experience success in their careers and in life. We are so proud of the outstanding grades and graduation rate of these young men, which demonstrate that they truly have the Highlander EDGE,” said Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. C. Jeffery Knighton.

“Despite battling the pandemic, the GSC AAMI 2020-21 cohort had a successful school year and proved the value of this program. Not only did they exceed all of the academic metrics, they felt empowered to take on leadership roles in campus clubs and organizations. They did not stop there; they worked on local food drive programs, they partnered with a local church to give out candy at Halloween, they worked to clean up several streets and roads in the community, they helped with a beautification project at the local Depot and they partnered with the Great Day of Service to provide renovations to a local home,” said Ryran Traylor GSC AAMI Sponsor and Director.

“This year's funding will be used to provide peer mentors to assist with the academic, social, and cultural development of the AAMI participants through weekly Tuesday Tutorials (Study Hall), Wednesday Night Workshops, encouraging and facilitating opportunities for social/cultural activities, and serving as academic role models. The funding will also be used for tutors who will provide individual coaching in the areas of math, English, and science.”

Traylor also noted that participants would experience cultural and educational trips to places like Savannah, where they will explore the city’s rich African American history in an attempt to create a sense of pride and belonging. A delegation of 14 of our most active students will have the opportunity to attend the renowned Clemson University’s Black Male Summit.

“This, along with many other strategically planned events, will help to produce graduates who are poised to challenge and improve the communities in which they live, we will continue to Relentlessly Pursue a Culture of Excellence,” Traylor said.

Through the efforts of the AAMI leadership team, during the GSC New Student Orientations, there have been approximately 121 students show interest in the organization while 20 members are returning from last year’s group.

System-wide, AAMI is committed to significantly increase the graduation rates and the number of degrees conferred upon African-American males in the USG. This will be achieved through the implementation of customized programming that is aligned with the AAMI Integrated Program Model. The model includes the following four key components:

  • Academic Skills Enrichment: Provides supplemental literacy, writing, math and study-skill activities to help pre-college students transition to college academic life during the summer and assist enrolled AAMI participants with retention, progression, and graduation throughout the academic year.
  • Student Support Services: Makes available internal and external resources, information, and learning tools to enhance students’ academic and social successes
  • Adult & Peer Mentoring: Connects AAMI students to vetted adults and peers who encourage achievement, foster positive attitudes, as well as a sense of belonging through personal and academic support, while reinforcing RPG.
  • Leadership Development: Provides multi-faceted professional and soft skills forums to help develop and strengthen participants’ leadership skills.
As such, AAMI alumni will have a positive impact on generations to come by contributing to increasing our state and nation’s educational attainment levels and economic growth.