The board of trustees charged the community with increasing graduation rates for men.
By Zachary-Taylor Wright
The board of trustees and college presidents proposed solutions to the underwhelming number of degrees and certificates awarded to male students in the district during the Student Success Committee meeting April 11 in Killen Center.
The board’s discussion was in response to a presentation about Northwest Vista College’s performance made by college President Ric Baser, which shows 1,591 degrees and certificates were awarded to male students and 2,088 to female students in 2016.
The presentation shows the growing disparity in success rates between male and female students between 2010 and 2016.
District 1 trustee Joe Alderete suggested dual credit programs could reach male students early before their minds are “warped in the wrong direction.”
District 6 trustee Gene Sprague agreed with Alderete and said pre-advising male students before they enroll in the district could be beneficial.
“I can’t tell you how many young men I’ve talked to that just dropped out,” Sprague said. “They basically say, ‘Well, you know. School is just not my thing. I didn’t like the studying. I didn’t like the whatever.’”
Sprague said some of these students are not aware of the possibilities offered by colleges in the district, using as an example a student who was interested in gaming who was unaware of Northwest Vista College’s game development programs.
District 3 trustee Anna Bustamante said the opportunities provided by the Alamo Colleges District are regularly announced at Southside High School, where she teaches.
Sprague disputed Bustamante’s claim.
“We are not strong in that area, in what some people call pre-advising, where I can send somebody to one of our colleges and have someone sit down and go through the possibilities,” Sprague said. “You can say we have it. I’ve tested it out, and I don’t think we do.”
Baser said all Alamo Colleges have male initiatives because the economy impacts male students more than female students.
“If there are $25 per hour jobs out there, we lose them,” Baser said.
Baser said working with early college high school and dual credit students to encourage male student enrollment is difficult because they only have the students for a portion of their education, before handing them off to the high schools.
District 5 trustee Roberto Zarate said the disparity in gender enrollment needs to be a city and workforce employment priority.
Zarate said the district couldn’t provide a solution on its own.