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California State University, Long Beach
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Men's Success Initiative

The Men’s Success Initiative is a program overseen by the Office of Student Life and Development in the Division of Student Services. It is one of several initiatives designed to respond to the CSU’s Highly Valued Degree Initiative, which supports the CSU mandate that campuses improve graduation rates and diminish achievement gaps between underrepresented minority and traditionally represented college students. Achievement gaps between these groups continue to prevail in both the nation and at CSULB, with non-minority students graduating at much higher rates than minority students.

National, state and local university data show that African American males and Latinos are most at risk for not graduating from college compared to other groups. Therefore, the MSI, which has been in existence since 2010, is designed to provide support and resources to African American and Latino male students to enhance their academic, personal and professional success. The program offers a summer symposium orientation, weekly meetings and services through partnered support offices. Recruitment into the program occurs via a symposium held each summer for incoming African American and Latino first-year male students, both at the freshman and transfer levels. The symposium also serves as a means to welcome students to the campus, identify their support service needs, connect them with appropriate service areas and provide information concerning ethnic faculty, staff, resources and respective support groups.

During the academic year, the MSI holds weekly support meetings for participants to discuss potential success obstacles and strategies for dealing with them as well as development of their strengths as university students. In addition, workshops are held on academic advising, career development, personal exploration, leadership and cultural understanding and development. The MSI also partners with several campus support areas, including the Learning Assistance Center, the Career Development Center, the University Center for Academic Advising, the Multicultural Center, the Center for Community Engagement, Partners for Success, the Educational Opportunity Program and the Student Support Services Program. These partnerships encourage MSI participants to become frequent users of a myriad of campus services.

The MSI measures a broad student learning outcome.
Participants of the MSI will gain a deeper satisfaction and connection with their experiences at CSULB, learn to identify various campus resources and obtain academic assistance from campus resources, when needed, and improve their academic skills, especially study skills, healthy habits and time management.

To measure the above learning outcome, data were collected from relevant staff and participants through interviews and survey forms. Results were very positive, with participants reporting that as a result of the MSI, they felt greater confidence about how to obtain academic and social assistance. The MSI program is now in its fourth year, and is actively developing a comprehensive strategic assessment plan designed to reveal program strengths and weaknesses. Additionally, SLD plans to improve visibility of the program and strengthen recruitment efforts, while continuing to assess activities of the program for optimal student success.

Alex Villandea

Alex Villandea
journalism and english major

"[MSI showed me] the resources and where to go to look for scholarships and that type of stuff...otherwise I wouldn't have looked for it or even known about it."

Paris Tate

Paris Tate
psychology major and communication minor

"I like being here. It's just the sense that I can come in here and like express and chill. It's like a lot of friends on campus are like females so it's good to have a male group to chill with."

Daniel Campero

Daniel Campero
undeclared major

"[MSI] helped me interact with others...they also keep me on track. And that helped me continue my education and be able to succeed."