A new program at the University of Washington in Seattle seeks to create an environment where Black male students can succeed. The Brotherhood Initiative is a partnership between the university’s College of Education, Division of Student Life, Office of Minority Affairs & Diversity and Undergraduate Academic Affairs. The initiative is led by Joe L. Lott II, an associate professor of education at the university.
The Brotherhood Initiative, to launch this fall, includes a yearlong freshman course focused on introducing students to research and providing guidance in areas like choosing a major and financial literacy. Additionally, a Men of Color Academy is planned to provide mentoring and activities intended to keep students engaged from their first year through graduation, such as study abroad opportunities and professional development. The goal is to reduce the graduation rate gap between Black men and Black women and also to close the racial graduation rate gap.
Dr. Lott says that “what we’re trying to do is help create a tighter community, particularly among males of color, to increase their presence on campus, to make them feel like they belong and to let them know that the University of Washington is part of their community.”
For students who join the Brotherhood, Dr. Lott says “I want them to be civically and socially conscious, and to feel the need to reach back and help other Black males understand what it takes to get to college and succeed in college. I want to let them know the University of Washington is a place for them. The brotherhood could be their home.”
Dr. Lott joined the faculty at the University of Washington in 2007. He is a graduate of Talladega College in Alabama, where he majored in public administration. Dr. Lott holds a master of public administration degree and a Ph.D. in education leadership and research from Louisiana State University.