Kennesaw State to host University System-wide conference on increasing black male participation in higher education

The University System of Georgia’s African−American Male Initiative (AAMI) will convene…

Georgia (Nov 21, 2007) — Kennesaw State to host University System-wide conference on increasing black male participation in higher education

Arlethia Perry-Johnson


KENNESAW‚ Ga. — The University System of Georgia’s African−American Male Initiative (AAMI) will convene its Inaugural Best Practices conference on the campus of Kennesaw State University‚ on Friday‚ Nov. 30 and Saturday‚ Dec. 1 — marking five years of successful activities aimed at enhancing the recruitment‚ retention and graduation of Black males within the state’s public colleges and universities.

The first University System−wide conference of its kind will assemble more than 250 statewide AAMI administrators‚ student participants‚ notable dignitaries and other special guests in a day−and−a−half of activities aimed at enhancing educational outcomes for Georgia’s African−American male students.

The conference will launch on Friday evening‚ with a networking reception followed by an Awards and Recognition Dinner showcasing best−practice AAMI programs and administrators within the University System of Georgia. In addition‚ high−profile national and local honorees that have strongly supported the AAMI project also will be saluted.

Saturday’s activities will include three plenary sessions featuring nationally recognized speakers‚ and more than 10 specialized workshop sessions tailored to the concerns and needs of the adult and youth participants. Networking breaks on Saturday will provide additional opportunities for conference attendees to meet and exchange information with University System of Georgia colleagues dedicated to enhancing educational opportunities for Black males.

Conference participants will hear from nationally recognized speakers such as:
Mr. Kevin Powell‚ author‚ "Who’s Gonna Take the Weight? Manhood‚ Race‚ and Power in America‚" and convener‚ "State of Black Men Tour;" and
Mr. Jeff Johnson‚ Black Entertainment Television host‚ producer‚ political motivator and social commentator;
Dr. William Cox‚ president and CEO‚ Diverse: Issues in Higher Education;
Dr. Rosa Smith‚ former president of the Schott Foundation/publisher‚ “Public Education and Black Male Students: A State Report Card;”
Dr. Thomas Parham‚ past president‚ National Association of Black Psychologists; and
Dr. Tyrone Bledsoe‚ founder and executive director‚ Student African American Brotherhood.

“The University System of Georgia has done pioneering work in identifying and addressing the educational challenges faced by Black males‚ and our work is frequently benchmarked‚” said AAMI Project Director Arlethia Perry−Johnson. “We are convening to share the vital information we have learned with our USG colleagues and others doing this important work. Our goal is to demonstrate what works‚ so that others might replicate‚ expand and –− most importantly –− fund these important programs.”

Launched in the summer of 2002 by the University System of Georgia (USG)‚ AAMI focuses on increasing the enrollment‚ retention‚ and graduation rates of Black men throughout the state of Georgia through a wide variety of programs that foster academic achievement‚ encompassing tutoring‚ mentoring‚ leadership development‚ and college visitation.

In July 2002‚ there were three known programs in the USG focusing on improving Black males’ educational participation. Today there are more than 20 such programs at 15 different USG institutions focusing on the K−12 pipeline‚ college retention‚ leadership development and student life.

Since the program’s inception‚ Black male enrollment in the University System of Georgia has increased by 24.5 percent — from 17‚068 in fall 2002 to 21‚249 students in fall 2007. Most recent numbers for fall 2007 are up 7.4 percent over year‚ adding another 1‚465 Black males to the ranks of students at state institutions of higher education.

AAMI: For more information on the USG’S AAMI‚ please visit the project’s website at:

CONFERENCE HOME PAGE: For more information on the AAMI Best Practices conference‚ please visit the conference website at:


A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its nearly 43,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit