September 10, 2020
Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC), the largest college within the City University of New York (CUNY), was recently awarded a $3 million Conexiónes Title V Project Grant (for five years) to increase student engagement and provide students with a deeper connection to career interests.
Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez said “BMCC’s vitally important Conexiónes initiative reimagines the many ways in which a college can support a segment of its student body that has been historically unrepresented in higher education — in this case, Latino males and low-income students — and propel them to academic and career success. This grant will bolster Conexiónes’ innovative efforts and aid the program’s development into a national model. We are grateful for the generous support from the Developing Hispanic-Serving Institutions program of the U.S. Department of Education.”
BMCC President Anthony E. Munroe said the Conexiónes grant is essential to enhance the learning experience through programs and services for Hispanic male and low-income students.
“When students arrive at BMCC, they know that we are here to engage them by drawing upon their rich, deep history, cultural experience, and strengths that will help each student achieve success inside and outside of the college classroom,” Munroe said. “Receiving this grant is a testament to our mission of advancing our institution’s diversity, equity, and inclusion goals.”
BMCC, a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) serves more than 25,000 students in its credit programs making it the largest undergraduate campus in the City of New York. Nearly 90% of BMCC’s student population is comprised of minorities and groups historically underrepresented in collegiate programs.
Fragmented student support services, limited academic advisement and insufficient career pathways are critical issues which serve to diminish the quality of BMCC’s academic programs and its efforts to foster student success. In recent years, the college has successfully implemented the Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (ASAP) guided pathway, which led to significant improvements in student retention and graduation rates for its participants.
Dr. Marva Craig, Vice President of Student Affairs said these exemplary practices impact a small number from our student body and ignore the most vulnerable segment of the student body, Latino males and other low-income students. Most find themselves at a disadvantage because of limited career information and cultural differences and are unable to participate in cohort programs because of familial responsibilities and work.
“We are very proud of acquiring this major grant,” Craig said. “The Conexiónes grant will help us broaden engagement and learning opportunities for Hispanic male and low-income students. Without a strong network of support services, Latino male students often become lost in the academic maze and are likely to withdraw from their studies,” Craig said.
“This grant will allow us to focus on these students and address our shortcomings,” Craig added. “We plan to hire more bilingual staff who will work closely with these students to help them navigate through college successfully.”
BMCC has developed a single comprehensive activity intended to improve student success among Latino males and low-income students beyond the first year of study. The Conexiónes initiative, which builds on much of the work developed under the ASAP re-conceptualizes the entire structure of the college’s support services by establishing large scale initiatives attending to all aspects of the Latino male experience, from placement and registration to degree.
A key component of this initiative involves the use of Career Maps which will allow the college to engage participants from the very beginning of their college experience through graduation, to explore career and academic options and ensure future student success. The Conexiónes network, will empower Latino males to make informed choices with proactive support available when needed, and delivered at different stages of their personal development.
“Student engagement is an important contributor to motivation and learning. Students who are engaged are more curious, attentive, interested, and passionate about what they are learning and they ultimately perform better,” Munroe said. BMCC is an institution where we want all students to share that experience and be the best they can be.”
- Grant will bolster Conexiónes’ innovative efforts and aid the program’s development into a national model.
- Conexiónes grant will help BMCC broaden engagement and learning opportunities for Hispanic male and low-income students.
- Key component of the initiative involves the use of Career Maps.