Nicholls announces program to help freshman black men

THIBODAUX, La. — Nicholls State University has announced the creation of a program aimed at improving retention and graduation rates of undergraduate black male students.

The Colonel Retention of Winners Network, or CROWN, will provide social and academic support to freshman black male students. Freshman black men return to campus at a rate much lower than their peers. In 2017, the retention rate for African-American males was 54 percent, compared to 63 percent African-American females, 66 percent white males and 76 percent white females.

The goal of the program is to improve the student’s university experience by pairing them with a peer mentor who is an upperclassman. CROWN will also seek to improve the students’ time at the university through on-campus events and special sessions that provide resources and information on how to navigate their freshman year.

“There’s a gap between our freshmen black men who aren’t student-athletes and the rest of their peers in terms of returning year-to-year and eventually earning their degree,” says Dr. Sean Chadwell, CROWN administrator. “This program aims to help them be more successful in the classroom, as well as build a network of support on campus. Ideally, these students will return to campus the next year and be mentors to the next group.”

Incoming freshman will have the ability to sign up for the program. From there, the students will be matched with a black male upperclassman who will serve as a peer mentor.

“Mentors are there to show them the ropes around campus, help them avoid pitfalls and provide a level of accountability,” said Farren Clark, instructor of speech and CROWN mentor coordinator.

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