Men & Masculinities Knowledge Community
A MESSAGE FROM THE MMKC CHAIR As I sit in my office chair and admire the weather on this first day of summer, I am briefly contemplating the word ‘chair’ and the role that it suggests in relation to my work with the MMKC. This reflection leads me directly to our team. While I do have a level of leadership and responsibility for the work of this Knowledge Community, I am immediately and pleasantly bringing to mind all of the stellar individuals who are on our leadership team. This year we have grown to 19 members, with the recent additions of the following roles: Chair Emeritus (Osvaldo Del Valle), Drive-In Conference Coordinator (Rick Lofgren), and Mentorship Coordinator (Logan Denney). You can see the entire list of our team at the MMKC page on NASPA’s website, and I encourage you to do so; these individuals have a great passion for the mission and goals of the MMKC. As I prepare for the fall, I’m also musing about my approach with a men’s group on my campus and I can honestly state that this initiative would not be possible without the knowledge and inspiration that I’ve gained from my colleagues in the MMKC. I have tremendous gratitude for professionals I’ve never met and for increasingly strong friendships as well. My encouragement to you in this season that I hope provides similar time for reflection and planning, is to consider what the MMKC can assist you with, and how you might pay that forward on your campus. Be well and at peace, Patrick Tanner
MEN & MASCULINITIESKNOWLEDGE COMMUNITY LEADERSHIP TEAM Patrick Tanner, Chair
Director of Student and Enrollment Services Pennsylvania State University-York firstname.lastname@example.org Rick Lofgren,
Drive-In Conference Coordinator
Osvaldo Del Valle, Chair Emeritus
Tom L. Fritz, Awards Chair
Pongpunya Jack Korpob, Newsletter Editor
San Francisco State University email@example.com
Texas A&M University firstname.lastname@example.org
Northeastern University email@example.com
Barry A. Olson, Member
Terrell Lamont Strayhorn, Faculty-in-Residence Ohio State University-Main Campus Strayhorn.firstname.lastname@example.org
Laurel Dreher, Special Projects
Aaron W. Voyles, Special Projects Coordinator
Director of Student Conduct
Mentorship Coordinator Resident Director
Residence Hall Director Bowling Green State University email@example.com
Oregon State University firstname.lastname@example.org
Helen Matusow-Ayres, Mid-Manager’s Institute Vice President for Student Affairs Pratt Institute-Main email@example.com
James A. Lorello, Social Media Coordinator
Appalachian State University firstname.lastname@example.org
Christina F. Kaviani, Special Projects Coordinator
Shane Daniel Long, Region I
California Polytechnic State University– San Luis Obispo email@example.com
Southern Main Community College firstname.lastname@example.org
Brian Anderson, Region IV-E Representative Interfaith Campus Minister Loyola University Chicago email@example.com
Student Life and Leadership
Director of Student Development
Director of Business Administration North Carolina State University at Raleigh Barry_olson@ncsu.edu
Coordinator of Residence Education
Area Manager for Jester Center
Jude Butch, Region II Representative
Hawken Brackett, Region III Representative
Roger Williams University firstname.lastname@example.org
Sarah Lawrence College email@example.com
Leadership Programming Coordinator
Assistant Director of Career Development
Olaf Standley IV, Region IV-W Representative
John R. Paul, Region V Representative
Anthony Keen, Region VI Representative
Northeastern State University firstname.lastname@example.org
Cornish College of the Arts email@example.com
Coordinator of Academic Consultation
Men & Masculinities Knowledge Community Newsletter Summer 2013
University at Buffalo firstname.lastname@example.org
Director of Housing and Residential Life
Clemson University email@example.com
Residential Hall Coordinator & Residential Judicial Officer San Diego State University firstname.lastname@example.org
REFLECTING ON GENDER ASSUMPTIONS: HOW FEMINISM CAN INFORM OUR WORK A recent internet meme shows Iranian men donning traditional Iranian female clothing in an effort to protest a judge’s decision. The judge’s decision was to punish an Iranian man by making him wear women’s clothing. The men, in the internet pictures of protest, are reacting against the idea that looking like a woman is punishment. They feel that this implies that women are always being punished for not being men. Responses to the meme indicate that many Americans agree that this form of punishment should not take place, and that it furthers patriarchy while hindering gender equality. One of the most important tenets of modern feminism is gender equality, and this is a tenet adopted by new masculinities. However, there is an underlying societal gender normativity that contradicts our aversion to this Iranian sentencing. If the average member of a campus community, most of us included, happened across a random male walking across campus in a dress, we would make an automatic judgment. This judgment would vary from person to person, but the basis of the judgment would be that this random male is doing something wrong; he is breaking a rule. This idea that he is doing something wrong is based on our ingrained social beliefs, and these beliefs share a commonality with those of the judge who sentenced a criminal to dress in women’s clothing as punishment. Both of these socially constructed beliefs imply that women and femininity are so inferior to men and masculinity that it is shameful for a man to be associated with femininity. In order to move toward the gender equality for which both feminism and new masculinities strive, we must more closely examine our social beliefs and the assumptions that they create.
WHY I GOT INVOLVED WITH THE NASPA MULTICULTURAL INSTITUTE The most popular answer to any “Why did you get involved?” question is almost always, “Because someone told me I should.” Does this ring true in your life? For me, it does, and, yes, for the NASPA Multicultural Institute, it also does. But there was more to it than that. For years, I had been studying men (and for more years than that, I had been experiencing life as one!), and I wanted to figure out where we fit into the complex web of diversity. It seemed for so long that men were not gendered beings and instead, were confused, oafish creatures that futilely accepted that they had to act a certain way to “be a man.” I wanted to know how working with other identities could help me redefine the labels that come with manhood. I must admit, however, that I was apprehensive to work with the NASPA Multicultural Institute at first. What did I, a straight, white, male, have to offer to a conversation on multiculturalism? Even after joining, I was anxious about speaking up. Again, what could I add? Would my voice drown out others? But I came to realize that by fearing this, I was limiting my ability to learn, to make mistakes, to be corrected, and to be a part of the conversation. And that’s where we need men – in the conversation.
Did I mess up? Probably. I most certainly stumbled. I most certainly committed micro aggressions of which I was unaware. I most certainly was able to unconsciously select which issues I wanted to be passionate about in each of the learning outcomes, inherently knowing that I had not been directly impacted by most of them there (or being ignorant of their true impact). But I also got to present what I thought was important about how men can affect the conversation and positively change manhood and our As educated men who understand or are working to understand the role across identities. I had the chance to hear what others were complexities of our own masculinity, we must incorporate this saying about the identities they represented as well. introspection of gender equality into our work with students, coworkers, and employees. Thinking critically about social All of this brings me to an obvious, but deceivingly difficult, point: normative beliefs and their implications is imperative to our work. be a part of the conversation. It is easy in Student Affairs to Do we think differently about advising a female student who is passively participate, to wear a button, to retweet an article, or to entering engineering or a male student who is entering nursing? Do have your name on the roster of a Knowledge Community. But we afford different opportunities to student leaders based on their when you jump in and are uncomfortable, that’s when learning physical sex (which differs from gender) or sexual orientation? Do happens. Even though we all know that discomfort stretches us, it we choose employees for certain projects based upon whether they turns out to be much more difficult to act. Don’t stop at reading are male or female? Many of us answer no. Still, it is critical to our this article. Do more. Push the Knowledge Community further. work that we constantly examine our choices as they relate to There is a wonderful opportunity to embrace the male identity, to gender norms and equality. help us redefine manhood and to interact with the other identity Knowledge Communities in NASPA, and to be a part of a greater Just as we must think critically about our reactions to a random dialogue on multiculturalism, such as submitting a program male in feminine attire as it is associated with our reaction to the proposal to the NASPA Multicultural Institute. The Multicultural ruling by the Iranian judge, we must also think critically about our Institute takes place this year from December 5 to December 7, other ingrained assumptions concerning gender norms. Feminism 2013 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The call for programs is currently open informs our work by asking us to reconsider our assumptions and and does not close until August 5. Please consider submitting on strive for gender equality in the way that we think about campus behalf of the Men and Masculinities Knowledge Community, and if cultures. Men in student affairs need to learn from the feminist movement, and from feminist literature, but we can also learn from you need assistance with your submission, do not hesitate to contact me. You can review the learning outcomes and submit a masculinities scholars who incorporate feminism into their work. proposal here: http://www.naspa.org/programs/multi/cfp.cfm. Scholars like R.W. Connell, Harry Brod, Susan Sheridan and Sarah Riley, to name a few, are great introductions into scholarship about incorporating feminist thought into masculinity. Reading about the Aaron W. Voyles is an Area Manager at the University of Texas at Austin. He can be reached at email@example.com. issues and discussing our assumptions are the first steps toward developing campus cultures that not only embrace gender equality, but also spread it to the rest of society through our graduates. Olaf Standley is the Coordinator of Academic Consultation Services at Northeastern State University. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Men & Masculinities Knowledge Community Newsletter Summer 2013
osteoporosis, testosterone level, and men’s skin care (2013). This abbreviated list can help spark communication between your primary care provider regarding taking full control of your personal health and wellness. Remember, health and wellness does not have to be a daunting experience. Remain aware of your body and health, challenge yourself, support your friends and colleagues – but most of all, have fun. References Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2013). Leading causes of death. Retrieved May 30, 2013, from http:// www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/lcod.htm
HAPPY MEN’S HEALTH MONTH With the healthcare system focusing more on health and wellness prevention and education, men’s health is increasingly becoming more of a growing concern. With almost 600,000 fatalities a year (CDC, 2013), heart disease is the number one cause of death not only in the United States, but globally. Although the genetic makeup of men and women are different, for example, women have higher levels of high-density lipoproteins (HDL), or “good” cholesterol due to estrogen (Kline, 2012), it is important that we encourage each other to take care of ourselves and stay healthy during our most vulnerable years. There are many steps in which we can lead by example as we personally take responsibility for our health and wellness. First and foremost, make a plan and stick to it. Perhaps you are more comfortable making small goals on a daily or weekly basis such as balancing out a 2,000 calorie diet, taking a walk outside during your lunch break, or parking at the far end of a shopping plaza and walking the extra distance. Perhaps you work better with long -term goals such as reaching a specific weight goal or forfeiting the elevator for the stairs. Whatever your goals may be, conquer them with pride and do not be ashamed to start with small reachable goals and work your way up.
Kline, L. (2012, March 13). Cholesterol differences between men and women. Retrieved May 2013, 30, from http:// www.bannerhealth.com/Services/Health+And+Wellness/ Ask+the+Expert/Heart+Care/ _Cholesterol+differences+between+men+and+women.h tm Network, M. H. (2013). Men's Health Week. Retrieved May 30, 2013, from http://www.menshealthmonth.org/week/ index.html
Anthony Frank Lacina is an Operations Coordinator at Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences University in Boston. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Next, take control of yourself and each other. As higher education professionals, many of us are accustomed to the “challenge and support” development theory. Work together for a common goal and act out the purpose of Men’s Health Week which is “to heighten the awareness of preventable health problems and encourage early detection and treatment of disease among men and boys.” (Men’s Health Month, 2013). Implement friendly challenges between you and friends which may include a team weight loss challenge, a point system for reaching the amount of fruits and vegetables consumed per day, or incentives for substituting water for soda, energy drinks, and sugar-filled coffee. Finally, do the dreaded activities that have been left on the backburner: make the dentist appointment, schedule a physical, and become cognizant of any changes in your body or behavior. Some recommendations for screenings, according to Men’s Health Network, include prostate, cholesterol, blood pressure, glucose, testicular cancer, mental health, breast cancer, Men & Masculinities Knowledge Community Newsletter Summer 2013
MOVING PAST DEFICITS: ENGAGING EMIRATI MALES TOWARD SUCCESS In the United Arab Emirates (UAE), university study for Emirati nationals is free. According to the country’s founding father, the late Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan “the best investment of our wealth is in creating cultured and educated citizens” (“Our Father Zayed”). The three federal institutions in the UAE: United Arab Emirates University, the Higher Colleges of Technology, and Zayed University all have an open admissions policy based on his vision. This policy, in combination with free tuition, helps alleviate barriers to higher education access that is often experienced by students in the United States. However, while considerable resources have been allocated to provide access to quality education, Emirati males only make up 30% of the student body at federal universities in the UAE (Ridge & Farrah, 2012). Although higher education access barriers have been accounted for, Emirati males remain underrepresented in UAE higher education. Local literature on Emirati males is not robust, but relevant trends have been uncovered that help illuminate a contextual understanding of Emirati males in education. One such understanding is they display a Rentier state mentality, which means the effort needed to earn a degree is not viewed as advantageous to secure work, as they can still gain employment minus a university degree (Abdulla & Ridge, 2011). Claims that education is a prerequisite for employment in the UAE loses its legitimacy, as unemployment rates are lower for males versus females despite the fact more Emirati females have earned university degrees than their male counterparts (Ridge, 2009; “Ministry of Higher Ed,” 2006); an alarming fact that has reinforced Emirati males Rentier state position. The education that Emirati boys and girls receive in the K-12 system has also led to an achievement gap according to gender with far reaching consequences for males once they reach university. For example, Emirati boys are more likely to have experienced poor prior educational attainment with a deficit in their command of the English language (Abdulla & Ridge, 2011). Though the UAE is situated in the Middle East where Arabic is the native language, English is the mode of instruction found at all the federal institutions. A disadvantage in English language ability impacts where Emirati males begin their careers at university. Consequently, a by-product of poor English translates into prolonged remedial English language training before matriculated university study i.e. a delay in enrollment for creditbearing courses that count toward degree completion. At Zayed University’s Abu Dhabi (ZUAD) campus, the remedial
Men & Masculinities Knowledge Community Newsletter Summer 2013
English language in-take for male students at the start of the academic year 2012/2013 was 205, 72% of its male student intake. One catalyst for this phenomenon is the stratification of Emiratis males and females, both educationally and socially. Educational expectations for both sexes are at opposite ends of the spectrum. Where Emirati females are expected to do well academically, Emirati males have low expectations placed on them, and are seen as at-risk for attrition due to absenteeism and poor academic performance (Abdulla & Ridge, 2011; Ridge, 2009). From a social perspective, males are further disadvantaged by familial expectations. To illustrate, Emirati families with young children in the home, who do not employ personal family drivers, task the males in the family with the responsibility of driving their siblings to school in the mornings and picking them up in the afternoons (Ribott, 2013). Despite the fact these males are university students, and accountable to their obligations as students, they are split between family and school. In order to balance the two, support from university personnel is paramount. However, Emirati males begin at a deficit and are further hampered by self-developed bad habits such as absenteeism and tardiness. At each of the federal institutions in the UAE, students must adhere to strict attendance guidelines. If students deviate from any of the universities attendance policies, they are at-risk of course failure. A recent report from ZUAD found 40% of the entire male student body was at-risk for course failure due to attendance during the fall 2012 semester (“Student Life & Leadership,” 2012). Ridge & Farah (2012) found once a student fails a course, they are less likely to continue their studies, which also is likely to result in a year of repeated schooling for these males’ future sons. Thus, a cycle ensues that endangers generations of Emirati males. To confront this crisis, regular, personalized one-on-one engagement, under the proviso of balanced student support and student accountability, has been the strategy employed by ZUAD’s Student Success unit. Engagement records at ZUAD show Emirati males are heavily engaged for academic-related and attendance-related issues (Ribott, 2013; “Student Life & Leadership,” 2012). Student Success personnel, therefore, prioritized as its goal to reduce the number of males at-risk of course failure due to attendance. Results have been mixed, as substantial gains have been achieved with non-matriculated male students in remedial English language training. However, matriculated students actually increased in total number of students at-risk for course failure as a student group. Over a three-semester period, males enrolled in remedial English language training, ZUAD’s largest student in-take entry point, have responded to Student Success engagement by posting lower at-risk figures each semester for fall 2012, spring 2012, and fall 2011, respectively (Ribott, 2013). This data revelation is telling, and suggests engagement efforts for Emirati males are effective, but have fallen short of the goal of attendance at-risk reduction for all Emirati males at ZUAD. One takeaway lesson is the disenfranchised culture that surrounds Emirati males in education can be impacted, as the student group of nonmatriculated students in remedial English language training displayed the capacity to respond positively to personalized oneon-one engagement. (Continued on Page 8)
REFLECTION FROM THE COLLEGE CONFERENCE ON MEN Before attending this year’s Conference on College Men at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, I attended the two previous CCMs at Indiana University Purdue UniversityIndianapolis and the University of Pennsylvania. This crossdisciplinary conference focusing on the topic of college men was created by a collaboration between NASPA and ACPA members interested in creating a space to dialogue about challenges facing college men. With each new conference iteration every two years, an unofficial conference theme emerges. This year’s thematic subtext highlighted the psychological toll entailed with one’s conformity to traditional male gender roles. Though many of the conference presentations focused on disparate college male populations and their respective experiences, a common topic surfaced regarding the theoretical and pragmatic implications of addressing young men’s emotional livelihood, as well as the internal emotional world of those practioners who develop and implement programs designed specifically around gender and masculinities. As individuals who work in higher education and who are devoted to the success of and address the ways in college men, we too, have been affected by hegemonic which our own male masculinity (for better or worse). Throughout formal socialization impacts conference sessions and settings at meals, personal and professional informal conversations amongst conference attendees relationships. “ entailed discussions of how to create and sustain a healthier model of masculinity for the young men with whom we work. It is my contention that in order to realize this new vision on our campuses, we have to appreciate and address the ways in which our own male socialization impacts personal and professional relationships. While attending CCM, I witnessed and was apart of such discussions, which I hope to depict here with my conference reflections.
“...we have to appreciate
Starting with Carlos Gomez’s opening keynote address / performance, he cited his own developmental path of defining and refining his sense of self as a gendered being. By also acknowledging the intersections of his racial / ethnic and class social group identity memberships, he created a lens with which he described the broadening of his emotional landscape. Specifically, he spoke about complimenting anger, as the only “acceptable” expression of negative affect, with identification of sadness and fear. Later in the conference, the other featured speaker, Dr. Robert Heasley, gave a unique talk masculine gender performance and sexuality. He spoke on the need for further Men & Masculinities Knowledge Community Newsletter Summer 2013
fluidity of masculine self-expression beyond “the binary” and rigid notions of gender presentation. In addition, he suggested that hetero-normative and heterosexist ideology regarding men’s relationships has hampered their abilities to create open and expressive male connections. The real strength of the conference was the concurrent sessions that incorporated varied views on college men seen today on our campuses. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to bring in the aforementioned theme of suboptimal psychological functioning with an analysis of current unconscious and conscious racial and sexist oppression. During my talk I hoped to illustrate the manifestation of race and gender as requisites for White male entitlement, privilege, and the related psychological costs of privilege within racism and sexism. After presenting my “...getting a change to conceptualization of this phenomenon, I facilitated an active build relationships discussion on its impact related to student affairs practioners working with other male with White college men. I left the discussion humbled by hearing conference attendees from so many audience members and their tireless work with this during informal down unique demographic. I was equally time greatly excited about the numerous direct interventions yet to be created and supplemented my implemented on behalf of White college men.
I attended engaging presentations on intersectionality of identity existing for college men (including veteran, Latino, gay, Black, and other identities). I also attended an innovative program about outreach, another on the creative utilization of Motivational Interviewing (MI), and finally one a comprehensive plan for developing a retreat for college men. As if the formal keynotes and sessions did not provide enough “food for thought” on the lived experience of today’s college man, getting the chance to build relationships with other male conference attendees during informal down time greatly supplemented my experience. Getting photo credit: @NASPAtweets to sit with a racially diverse group of men and hear about how they experienced their individual male development was a conference highlight. Together, we reflected on our sexual development and identity (both gay and straight). We spoke about our expanded emotional expression, especially to important male figures. In particular, we shared our understanding and meaning surrounding our first articulation of, “I love you,” to our fathers. We collectively opened up to each other (essentially as strangers) in the spirit of the conference’s re-visioning of healthy masculinities and it’s positive effects on the college men with whom we work.
Bejamin Neale, Psy.D. is a Post-Doctoral Fellow at the University of Illinois Chicago and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Page 6
A REFLECTION ON THE JOURNEY OF POSITIVE MALE IDENTITY DEVELOPMENT: FINDING THE FANTASTIC DIFFERENCE IN MALE IDENTITIES THROUGH POSITIVE MENTORSHIP The search for positive male identity is a confined, undocumented, and unparalleled journey for many young adult males. Kimmel (2008) refers to this stage of life as “suspended animation between boyhood and manhood… that lies between the dependency and lack of autonomy of boyhood and the sacrifice and responsibility of manhood” (p. 6). This journey to understand self, the male self or manhood, comes through years of questioning, scouring, awareness as well as moments of “rights of passage.” This article explores and describes three major concepts of the male journey: male rights of passage, male mentorship, and “something kinda fantastic.”
Male rights of passage: In many cultures, the ascendance from
boy to man comes at a coming of age ceremony or event, for example, the Maasai tribe of Kenya (the Trial by Spear), the Aborigines of Australia (the Walkabout), Jewish followers (the Bar Mitzvah), the Amish (the Rumspringa), the American Guy (the College/First job experience). One key question I have begun to ask is, “What ties these moments together and makes a ‘coming of age moment’ and do these boys actually become men over night?” Surely, we can all agree that boys do not go to bed one day and wake up as men the next, but I do believe that the rights of passage process is a valid tradition. As stated above, identity development does not happen in a period of days, but in lengths Men & Masculinities Knowledge Community Newsletter Summer 2013
of time and moments. Individuals with whom the male comes in contact may help mold his “male-self” from boy to man. Through a “rights of passage” experience, a boy is forced to encounter, discover, and reflect upon the truths of manhood. What these truths entail may depend on the culture and environment of the male, though hidden within these defining moments is one key element that is most crucial above all: the male mentors with whom the boy observes, interacts, and learns.
Male mentorship: In Wes Anderson’s film, The Fantastic Mr. Fox
(2009), Anderson depicts Alfred A. Knopf’s novel in stunning stop motion. In the film, Mr. Fox is depicted as a stunning, highachieving, clever and whimsical male character that is confident in his natural skills. Fox’s son, Ash, is a sullen, mildly depressive young male who wishes to prove himself to his father. Ash is the epitome of a stressed adolescent who is striving to find his identity as a young man. Throughout the movie, Ash never seems to measure up to his Father’s example. In fact, he flounders in his father’s extraordinary adventures, not to mention, Ash feels second rate to his perfect male cousin, Kristofferson. Toward the end of the movie, Kristofferson and Mr. Fox are put into a serious predicament. (Continued on Page 9) Page 7
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References Student Success at ZUAD also has an inventory of programs like Spotlight Student Success that aim to positively affect the culture Abdulla, F., & Ridge, N. (2011, March). Where are all the men? Gender, participation and higher education in the United of Emirati males in education. Spotlight Student Success Arab Emirates. Working Paper Series No. 11-03, Dubai recognizes stories of success that escape the traditional platform School of Government. Retrieved on May 29, 2011 from for how success is measured e.g. GPA, dean’s list, president’s list, http://www.dsg.ae/ etc., and acknowledges the positive impact students can have on their peers (Bean and Kuh, 1984). These narratives are celebrated with the entire ZUAD student body and display prevalent themes Al-Seghayer, K. (2012, November). Erosion of Saudi facultystudent relationships? Saudi Gazette. Retrieved on May such as male students who balance full-time employment with full 29, 2013 from http://www.saudigazette.com.sa/ -time studies, male students who are committed to service to the index.cfm? community, male students who have achieved complete academic method=home.regcon&contentid=20121106141931 turnaround from near dismissal from university, and male students with perfect attendance; in short, a lens from which to Bean, J. P. & Kuh, G. D. (1984). The reciprocity between studentview Emirati male student success. faculty informal contact and academic performance of university undergraduate students. Research in Higher Feedback from this initiative has been positive from both faculty Education, 21 (4), 460-477. and students alike, however, there is concern over a growing preference from ZUAD faculty not wanting to teach Emirati males, Hatherley-Greene, P. (2012, December). Cultural border crossing which is harmful to the faculty-student relationship dynamic. in the UAE. Policy Paper No. 6, Al Qasimi Foundation for Unlike in the West, federal universities in the UAE are gender Policy Research. Retrieved on May 29, 2013 from segregated. http://www.alqasimifoundation.com The UAE is a collectivist society where connection and relationship Lederman, D. (2012, February). When black men succeed. Inside to the group is important. Students in a study conducted in Higher Ed. Retrieved on May 29, 2013 from Fujairah, another Emirate in the UAE, described their ideal http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2012/02/06/studyteachers as people who were warm and caring (Hatherley-Greene, aims-learn-why-some-black-men-succeed-college 2012). According to Student Success data, ZUAD Emirati male students share similar sentiments, but highlighted difficulty in Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research (2006). Male relationship building with their faculty (“Student Life & and female persistence in secondary and tertiary Leadership,” 2012). In Saudi Arabia, a neighboring Middle Eastern education in the UAE: Current trends and policy options. country, Saudi male students also felt distance in their Office of Higher Education Policy and Planning. United relationships with faculty. While both faculty and students had Arab Emirates. plausible explanations for the distance, students have acknowledged rapport between faculty and students as vital to Our Father Zayed (n.d.). Words of wisdom. Retrieved on May 29, their time at university (Al-Seghayer, 2013). According to one 2013 at student, “I am more motivated to do well once I … chat with a http://www.ourfatherzayed.ae/eng/web.html#Words%20 professor because my motivation shifts to a more personal Of%20Wisdom level” (Al-Seghayer, 2013, par. 2). Not only is a faculty-student interaction associated with academic development, it is also Ribott, D. (2013, Feb.). Negative attendance behavior patterns at connected to a student’s personal development. (Terenzini & Zayed University, Abu Dhabi: Approaching potential male Pascarella, 1980). For ZUAD’s Student Success unit, the attrition through collaboration and change initiatives. opportunity to initiate a platform from which faculty-student Paper presented at NASPA – ACPA 7th Gulf Conference relationships can grow and prosper, and positively impact Emirati on Professional Issues, Zayed University, Abu Dhabi, UAE. male student success, led to the newly developed Students Speak. Students Speak is a program (slated to begin in fall 2013) where successful Emirati male students lead monthly talks for faculty aimed at building dialogue and creating solutions to complex experiences that serve as barriers to student success at ZUAD. The criteria for successful has been set to a high standard with a minimum 3.0 grade-point average, coupled with evidence of involvement on campus or in the local community, and a respectable attendance record. The criteria were adapted based on Shaun Harper’s research on African-American males success in university. In his work, he outlined the need to locate students from within the underrepresented group, who met the criteria of “achievers” to serve as guides, so other students could follow in their footsteps (Lederman, 2012). Instead of leading other students, identified “achievers” work with faculty to communicate what works in student success from their perspectives to positively impact faculty’s classrooms. By bringing both groups together, faculty and students, new insights will be discussed and developed that move beyond Emirati male deficits in education, and contribute to Emirati male student success.
Men & Masculinities Knowledge Community Newsletter Summer 2013
Ridge, N. (2009, August). The hidden gender gap in education in the UAE. Dubai School of Government, Policy Brief No. 12. Retrieved on May 29, 2011 from http://www.dsg.ae Ridge, N., & Farah, S. (2012, April). The 30%: Who are the males in higher education in the UAE. Policy Paper No. 3, Al Qasimi Foundation for Policy Research. Retrieved on May 29, 2011 from http://www.alqasimifoundation.com Student Life & Leadership (2012). Men’s program end of year report for 2011-2012. Zayed University, Abu Dhabi Campus, Abu Dhabi, UAE. Terenzini, R, & Pascarella, E. (1980). Student-faculty relationships and freshman year educational outcomes: A further investigation. Journal of College Student Personnel 21
David Ribott is a Student Success Specialist at the Learning Commons at Zayed University, Abu Dhabi Campus. He can be reached at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. Page 8
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Collaborate will be designed based on the "friendtor" experience between professionals which would be focused on motivating, sharpening and encouraging positive male professionalism, promotion of male mentorship of educators and students, and offer a more "band of brothers" approach to men's research and professional development. Through the professional connections I believe this film visually outlines the journey of a young man and initiative (PCI) male educators will be given the opportunity to the concepts of “rights of passage” and male mentorship. For learn/teach positive male mentorship. Through the preparation of many boys—or “guys” as Kimmel (2008) would say—Ash’s male educators on the need of positive male mentorship, we can character is the boy persona. Boys live a life of either trying to equip educators to mentor male students who are in need of resemble or avoid their core male (male role model). Whether it is positive contributors to their development. If you are interested in a father, uncle, coach or teacher, these are the mentors that boys being apart of either M&M’s or Collaborate please follow the links want to emulate. However, they seldom seem to reach this goal. below to the program that interests you. You may also email This can be called the lack of male maturity satisfaction because Logan Denney, the MMKC professional connections initiative many boys and guys have a generalized idea of male identity coordinator with questions at email@example.com. Pairings based on observation of the males in their lives. Males desire to will be made by August, 2013 and sent out by September 1, 2013 find acceptance, be included, and even desire to be like those they for the academic year. look up to and view as male role models. However, the key to unlocking positive male identity lies in Ash’s decision to grow in maturity during his “right of passage” moment. In the story, Ash strove to be like his father; in the world today, boys strive to be M&M’s: men. At times, it seemed that Ash had failed. He felt Pairings focused on new professionals underappreciated, overlooked, and disconnected, as do most and seasoned professionals. boys. Through his season of male introspection, Ash had the https://docs.google.com/forms/ opportunity to discover himself, and discover himself in his own different way. A pivotal part of the story comes when Ash’s d/1OXhYEPzm1i6pf15HedIf9oR6xXe_hmother says to him, “We are all different…but there’s something Irz_vH71noJVQ/viewform kinda fantastic about that isn’t there?” Ash is afforded the opportunity to save the day, which becomes his “rights of passage” moment. After successfully saving his cousin, Ash achieves the satisfaction of impressing his father, and his maturation is affirmed.
Male journeys are all different, but there is something kinda fantastic about that isn’t there? Male identity development is not a Collaborate: perfectly plotted line that establishes the true male, rather it is a Pairings focused on professionals wishing to season of uncovering, discovering, failing, even despairing, sharpen one another’s practice. finding, unwinding, and finally becoming the man whom he is called to be. During this season of introspection, male student https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1oTU6fEMTVNWKF development educators are to help guide this discovery. In order U4iDcYjozoWbDZtRi_2nYXDAWTQnOk/viewform to encourage positive male identity, male role models need to speak with strength and pure intentions. They need to demonstrate true care, express their feelings, and model an honor References that is beyond the casualness of today’s causal male. The fantastic journey of male identity development unfolds when professionals Kimmel, M. (2008). Guyland: The Perilous World Where Boys (mentors) choose to step forward in the journey with young men Become Men. New York, NY: Harper Collins. who desire to find themselves and show them they are fantastic.. Anderson, W. (2009). The Fantastic Mr. Fox (Motion Picture Film). Male mentors are in short supply today. For many, male Los Angeles, CA: Regency Enterprises. mentorship is an unknown concept. As identity educators, we must begin to understand the value of these moments in the lives Logan R. Denney is a Resident Director at Oregon State of young guys. Do we choose to actively intervene into young University. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. men’s lives, or do we passively “let boys, be boys?” In order to shape male identity, we must first alter our perspective as educators. Many male professionals can pinpoint a mentor who helped establish the concept of the male identity. Without the guidance of mentors, adolescent boys would be left to struggle through the process of identity development alone. Our challenge is to address the absence of male guidance, and replace it with intentional male mentors and role models. Men & Masculinities reader, you can be that positive mentor for these young men—the question is, will you? In order to respond to the need for positive male mentorship and interaction, the Men & Masculinities Knowledge Community will be piloting a Professional Connections Initiative (PCI) which will encompass two parts: a mentor/mentee component called M&Ms and a professional “friendtor” component called Collaborate. M&M's will be a mentor/mentee focused experience focused on role modeling, professional development and learning what it means to be a positive male professional in higher education. Men & Masculinities Knowledge Community Newsletter Summer 2013
Photo credit Maria Montano Photography, Faces Project
TWO TRUTHS AND A LIE: A CALL TO SUPPORT FOR MALE SURVIVORS I am a survivor of sexual assault. Each time I say those words to other men the reactions vary on a continuum from disbelief to shock to sad-understanding. Before you continue reading this article go to any of the leading journals in student affairs and search “men + sexual assault.” What did you find? Likely, most of the articles you found addressed sexual assault prevention efforts on campuses—focused on groups of men. Those programs have received much consideration and need as much attention as we can give them. What you probably did not find were articles on men as victims and survivors of sexual assault. Perhaps that is not a surprise for you, but it should be a cause for concern. Taking into account underreporting, the number of men who will be victims of sexual assault comes to one-in-six (1in6, 2013). That comes to approximately 23 million men in the United States. In discussing sexual assault, we often speak of debunking myths, assumptions, and lies, but I would like to deal mostly in truths in this space.
For a very long time after the assault I could not talk about what had happened to me. The assault had a direct though hidden effect on the ways in which I engaged my environment and the people around me. Throughout college, I struggled to work with men in authority positions, save a few folks. At the time, I attributed that struggle to the lingering internalized homophobia around my identity as a gay man, but in retrospect I can identify the emotions that surrounded those uncomfortable interactions with men in authority. Chief among these emotions was an irrational fear of being alone with professors, clergy, or administrators who identified as men. When I came out to my college choir director he stood up and hugged me—I remember a distinct increase in adrenaline and a series of fight-or-flight thoughts. It was because of these emotions that only those men I could come to see as colleagues, peers, and friends were permitted beyond my carefully constructed and reinforced guard. Perhaps that is why my work with other men—as with people of other genders—is relational. When I was finally able to speak First Truth openly and honestly about what happened to me, what became A Catholic priest sexually assaulted me when I was a junior in high important was the deep trust I could build with other men. What school during a retreat for boys who wanted to become priests. kind of relationships do our men need? How can we provide a Men & Masculinities Knowledge Community Newsletter Summer 2013
foundation of trust to them? Perhaps it is cliché, but we need to meet men where they are. For me, the support I needed was cumulative over nine years of school and life. Other survivors may need support at one or more points along the journey to healing. My suggestion then is to support the man in front of you, but also challenge him. Only in being challenged to realize that men can really be victims—not just in theory—was I able to begin healing. Second Truth A more general truth is that men can be victims and men can be survivors of sexual assault. Male survivors often hear that men cannot be victims for a number of reasons, ranging from involuntary erections during assaults to the “standards” of masculinity perpetrated by society. No bodily reaction or antiquated norm can create consent where there was none. The fact, though, that this truth needs to be told is important. Most, if not all, people agree that a woman can be sexually assaulted, but when it comes to men, our culture makes the assumption that men cannot be violated even without their express consent, which begs the question: if consent is given and can be given in all circumstances, is it even violation? Even more perverse and problematic is the extension of this assumption to both boys and men equally. The clinical term for sexual assault occurring before age 18 is “childhood sexual abuse” (CSA). In my experience—and I would wager in the experiences of other people—CSA is thought of as somehow less than the sexual assault of adults because a person could “move on” from it. I propose a further truth: sexual assault is sexual assault regardless of the age of the victim; violence is violence regardless of the age of the victim. One Lie A common lie states that because some men are survivors of sexual assault, colleges and universities should cease sexual assault prevention efforts among men. I often hear this as a retort from male students who try to use my identity as a survivor to prove why sexual assault prevention workshops are unfairly biased against men. Yes, men can be survivors of sexual assault, but that does not change the fact that men can also be the perpetrators of sexual assault. As true as I am a survivor as a man, so true was the person who assaulted me a man. We must continue educating men on the reality of sexual assault and ways in which men can change the culture of rape that exists in the United States. However, the challenge for us is how best to do so, but not at the expense of men of whom may be survivors. A measure of the success of sexual violence prevention programs is when men can reframe the discussion as a fundamental issue for men rather than as a “women’s issue” exclusively. I recently listened to a group of men discuss their work around rape culture. To a person they each discussed sexual violence in the terms of not wanting it to happen to the women in their lives. Though deeply moved by Men & Masculinities Knowledge Community Newsletter Summer 2013
the strength of their conviction, I had to ask myself one question: what about their brothers, fathers, and fellow men? We have an opportunity to address men in all the various ways they present: bystanders, perpetrators, victims, and survivors. This short essay is a call for support. The men your programs touch may not be simple onlookers to your message, but rather the survivors of sexual violence. Support them, support us. Much of the growth, development, and healing I have experienced is a result of being in an environment where I not only felt support to be who I am, but where I was affirmed in speaking my truth and my experience. Though there are certainly still times when it is difficult to discuss what happened, I have been able to reach a place where not only can I claim my identity as a survivor, but I can also use that identity to support and affirm others. My path to this moment began when I was told that I was not alone and when I was shown that healing was possible. I am committed to demonstrating this truth to others, particularly to my students, regardless of their gender. Will you join me? References 1in6 Campaign. (2013). Other guys like me. Retrieved from http://1in6.org/men/other-guys-like-me.
Benjamin Z. Huelskamp is a Community Director at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He can be reached at email@example.com.
THE M4 INITIATIVE - MAKING MANHOOD MEAN MORE: AN EXPLORATION OF MANHOOD, MASCULINITY, AND BLACK IDENTITY
“Men are recognizing that they have been forced to conform to a very narrow and rather two-dimensional picture of maleness and manhood that they have never had the freedom to question.” -Andrew Cohen History Increasingly, manhood and masculinity are included in conversations about gender and gender identity. Colleagues in women’s and feminist studies have long argued for the need to include men in conversations about our gendered world and the images, perceptions, and misperceptions we perpetuate, both consciously and unconsciously (Olson, 1994, p. 1). Further, most colleges and universities claim to graduate global leaders, adults with character, or reflective people of integrity. However, many college-aged men report not being actively engaged in conversation about who they are and who they might grow to become. There exist significant disconnects between their knowledge of self, their ability to be critical of messages regarding men and masculinity, and their understanding of how they are affected by these phenomena. This issue is especially pronounced for college-aged Black men, who, arguably, are impacted by institutional and systemic racism, historic oppression, and pervasive negative imaging in the media. Staff in the Wake Forest University (FU) Office of Multicultural Affairs (OMA) recognized that Black male students would benefit from considering these intersections. We realized that men were not thinking critically about who they were as individuals, let alone in the context of others. Using Harper’s (2009) RaceConscious Student Engagement Practices and the Equitable Distribution of Enriching Educational Experiences as a theoretical foundation, Jonathan Cox, former Assistant Director, invited men to join their peers in answering the following questions: What does it mean to be a man? What does it mean to be a Black man? What does it mean to be a Black man at WFU? The OMA has offered the M4 Initiative each semester since fall 2010. Description The M4 Initiative: Making Manhood Mean More (M4) is a nineweek discussion group open to Black male undergraduate, graduate, and professional students at WFU. It is primarily facilitated by the Assistant Director of OMA with support from Men & Masculinities Knowledge Community Newsletter Summer 2013
other professional, Black men in the campus community. The curriculum includes a combination of book and article excerpts, films and other pop culture media to encourage meaningful exploration of issues of masculinity and manhood, centered around the question of "what does it mean to be a Black man?" Learning outcomes are for each student to: (1) understand social influences on the construction of manhood and masculinity among African-American men; and (2) understand contemporary issues facing African-American men. Each participant is provided an experience binder which includes a syllabus, assigned readings, pages for note-taking and space to keep a journal to reflect on the experience. Participants are expected to commit to the full, nine-week experience.
M4 does not discriminate on the basis of religion, ability, sexual orientation or gender expression. Curriculum M4 is designed to encourage increased awareness of issues related to Black men, personal reflection on one’s perception of masculinity and manhood, and critical thinking about one’s social positioning. During week one, facilitators provide an overview of what is to be expected of the experience, introduce key issues to be explored, and pose the question: “What Does it Mean to Be a Black Man?” Participants develop both their own and a group description of the “Ideal Man.” During week two, facilitators host a conversation about career aspirations and planning. Week three focuses on romantic relationships and male privilege. Participants spend time outlining the ways that they are afforded privilege in relation to women, the ways that heterosexual men enjoy privileges not afforded to homosexual or bisexual men, and the impacts that these have on romantic relationship development. Week four marks a shift, where participants move from focusing on individual social positioning to institutional issues affecting Black men on a macro level. Conversation ranges from overrepresentation in prisons and underrepresentation in colleges, homophobia and both physical and mental violence against gay men, and statistics on other phenomena related to Black men. (Continued on Page 18) Page 12
MASCULINITY, DISCOMFORT, AND LIBERATION: USING FILM TO GUIDE DISCUSSION Movies provide educators with the opportunities to demonstrate behavior and highlight issues that are both current and seemingly ancient. Issues of racism, sexism, homophobia, and the like are often brought to life on the big screen, where injustice is acted out, wrongs are made right, and the viewer ultimately has the chance to ‘stand in another’s shoes”, if just for an hour or two. The film 12 Angry Men (Lumet, Donovan, and Rose, 1957; Friedkin & Donnelly, 1997) uses a courtroom and a case involving a young Hispanic male accused of murdering his father as a setting for an intense drama. In the original 1957 film, Henry Fonda serves as the man to initially stand alone in a sea of doubt. His doubt leads to intense discussions, and as he explains his perspective over and over, more jurors begin to change their minds. How often do we engage men in such dialogue of perspective? How well are we, as student affairs practitioners, equipped to deal with the dialogue? Of course, thankfully we are not deciding fate of a young man, but the value of this intense dialogue is immense. This article focuses on the importance of embracing the discomfort in engaging men in dialogues about race, sex, gender, homophobia, and masculinity.
used the movie in management courses to facilitate dialogue through the use of movie vignettes. He discusses the importance of dialogue, and more importantly, how dialogue is taught. “The true challenge of dialogue is developing this common framework from which to explore existing or new ways of looking at issues” (McCambridge, 2003, p. 389). When discussing masculinity, instead of hearing engaging dialogue, we often hear crickets – nothing. Our students on campus are corralled in many places where these discussions can take place, from the residence hall to a student organization to a fraternity. Our challenge is to provide a framework for discussion and dialogue that pushes men out of their comfort zone of silence, and into a zone of genuine conversation. Once we get them in a room together, we need to lead them through the process.
Thirty minutes into the film, Henry Fonda’s character offers the jury a compromise to follow their vote if they are all in agreement by secret ballot. The vote comes back, and another man votes against the group. Joseph Sweeney’s character makes a powerful statement: “This gentleman has been standing alone against us. Now he doesn’t say that the boy is not guilty, he just isn’t sure. 12 Angry Men forces individuals from differing backgrounds into a It’s not easy to stand against the ridicule of others. Now, I want to room to discuss the merits of a case – a case they have to decide, hear more.” as it is their civic duty. McCambridge (2003) frames how he has (Continued on Page 19) Men & Masculinities Knowledge Community Newsletter Summer 2013
ON THE IMPORTANCE OF REFLECTION This past year has been a very busy year and through it all, my prayer and reflection has suffered for it. And yet, in a moment that occurred this past Easter, all of that changed rather quickly. Because this past Easter, my wife told me that we were going to be parents. We were eating leftovers after everyone had left, sand she gave me a card with a giant whale saying to a little whale “I’m so excited…” When I opened the inside of the card, it read, “to be a Dad.” Confused I looked up to my wife and she said, “Surprise, I’m pregnant!” Ever since our wedding day, my wife and I have hoped for children, but we know through friends that pregnancies are delicate and miraculous experiences. We never wanted to get our hopes up, or at least not too high. Now, after several positive visits to our doctor, I have begun to prepare myself for fatherhood. For those who know me, that means a lot of prayer and reflection through my journaling process. It also means I’m doing a lot of research on fatherhood. However, I had gotten out of the habit of writing and wasn’t sure how to start again.
looking for. Being a relational person, and campus minister, I was looking for a book on how to bond and create a relationship with this newest member of my family. So my spiritual director suggested I get back into journaling. This journal became my refuge, and I soon realized that my entries became a series of letters to my unborn child. My wife and I are waiting to find out the sex of our baby and so at first, I wasn’t sure how to write the letters/journal entries. I fell into the mental trap of thinking that my thoughts should be defined by the gender/sex of my child. But I quickly realized it didn’t matter. Furthermore, I found that I don’t have a preference for whether it is a girl or a boy. Either one would be a blessing and a miracle to me.
So my letters became focused on the values and experiences I want her or him to have. How I hope she or he was going to be curious and adventurous. How I hope she or he would be strong and determined, but willing to be flexible to the changing needs of their life. Most importantly, I hope she or he would be able to experience love and a small amount of pain to understand the difference between good times and bad. I’m not making an argument that our society should be genderless and that raising boys and girls should be identical. What I am saying is that the So as I struggled with this, my wife received several books from friends, but few of them were books for me. Doing a quick Google values, and even more so the experiences we instill in our search, I found multiple books, but most fell into two areas: books children, should not be dictated by their gender. that read like car maintenance guides or books that appeared to My journaling process has also made me rethink the ways that I be for coaching a sports team. Even the chapter in “What to have begun to approach my work in higher education. In a Expect When You are Expecting” focused primarily upon sex, or lack thereof, with my partner as opposed to fatherhood advice. All wonderful article by LZ Granderson, he challenged us to think about how raising boys should not be seen as any easier than of these books serve a purpose, but not exactly what I was
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raising girls. And in the comments, one person stated that raising a boy is easy; it is raising a man that is so daunting. As I prepare for my child, I also think of how best to “raise” the college men who walk through my door seeking advice and counsel. How can I best draw out their goals, their emotions, and their experiences to help create a life that they want to lead after they graduate. Whether it is through small group dialogues, faith based sharing groups, large scale programs with big name speakers, or in a oneon-one counseling session, the fact that we are doing this work matters. Just a few weeks before finding out I was to be a dad, I heard Jason Laker speak at our MMKC awards banquet at NASPA 2013. One of the lessons that I took away from his speech is that I can’t take students to where I’m also not able to go. Thus, while there will be many life lessons I’ll try to instill in my child, she or he already taught me the importance of reflection. And the next time I tell a student to take their questions into prayer and reflection, I won’t feel like such a hypocrite!
Brian Anderson is the Interfaith Campus Minister at Loyola University Chicago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
PHALLIC FALLACY: DECONSRUCTING MANHOOD Penis. Yes, I said it. Penis.
that impacts all documentation from that point forward (birth certificate, medical records, etc). Not only that, very little is mentioned in our society about a spectrum of sex – whereby our reproductive parts don’t match the traditional diagrams shown to us in health education classes. What happens if someone is born with a penis and ovaries? What if our chromosomes aren’t matched XX or XY? What if our hormones are triggered differently, thereby affecting our body hair, breast size, or muscle mass? There are many articles related to what we call ‘intersex,’ but I found that the student-centered website from the Intersex Initiative to be solid yet simple for those who seek an initial understanding. Have you ever wondered why your genitalia doesn’t necessarily look exactly like the pictures in the textbooks? Could it perhaps be that we are as varied in our anatomy as we are in our many other identities? Raising such questions may become controversial or alarming to some (does that mean that I’m not a ‘man’?); my effort is not to bewilder but to educate. We can all benefit from becoming more inquisitive about the things that seem so simple on the surface. We have made assumptions about what qualifies a person to be a man, but could those assumptions be incorrect? I encourage you to dig in and do your own research about sex. While you may not become an expert overnight, my hope is that you can further understand your own identity and of those in your midst. In a future article, I’d love to discuss the connected concept of gender, but did not want to confuse one for the other. Both are rich topics and require a bit of patience to more fully understand. Much like our transition from adolescence to adulthood, there sometimes need to be ‘growing pains’ as we change and reform our concept of self over time.
It’s what most people think differentiates men from women, boys from girls. When doctors examine ultrasounds, they look for the Brian Medina is an Area Coordinator at Frostburg State existence of a penis. When parents share their joy to friends and University. He can be reached at email@example.com. family about their newborn, most ask, ‘is it a boy or a girl?’ – Penis. However, this is not the end of the story, at least not for those better versed in the topics of sex and gender. Hillary Lips has a great textbook titled Sex & Gender: An Introduction that captures far more than I can describe in this succinct article. I had the opportunity to volunteer as a Teaching Assistant for a class, Sex Differences: Psychological Perspectives, which used the book I just referenced. In recent years, I have grown passionate in my attempt to understand the rich concepts of sex and gender in our society – something that falls outside of my core responsibilities as a hall director within a state institution. Some of you reading this article may recall your own journey through adolescence and young adulthood. Maybe you had parents who had the 'sex talk' early into puberty. Maybe you remember the health education classes that really only skimmed the surface on the topic of sex – I personally recall being separated for the ‘boys have penises’ and ‘girls have vaginas’ talk in middle school. Returning to my initial statement – is having a penis really what makes a man or a boy? Biology and chemistry majors know that our bodies are much more complex than one anatomy part. Hormone levels, chromosomes, and other genetic markers all play enormous roles in our development. I discovered that there is a preferred phrase used for our assumed sex – ‘sex assigned at birth.’ By this, I mean that doctors initially look at our anatomy (penis or no penis) and thereby assign a sex Men & Masculinities Knowledge Community Newsletter Summer 2013
“NOT ABOUT THAT LIFE”: BLACK MALE ENGAGEMENT IN RESIDENTIAL LIFE Purpose The purpose of this article aims to convey positive and negative encounters of two low socio-economic African American male students who served in residential life during their undergraduate tenure. We look to inform residential life professionals how these reflections can have implications for practice in student affairs. The three main focus points of this article are: financial implications, leadership, and cross cultural experience. Residential life participation may provide financial accommodations, build community through leadership development, and increase the overall experience for Black males. Residential life impacts a large number of students living on campus (Kuh, et. al, 2008). It is often the first and last interaction a student receives on a daily basis in the beginning of one’s collegiate career. It serves as the nexus between academics, culture, and social capital divisions among gender, ethnic, and academic differences males have in higher education. This article is for staff members within residential life and thus includes but is not limited to: student leaders, Resident Assistants, Assistant Resident Directors, Resident Directors, Assistant Directors and anyone who maintains face-to-face interaction with Black Males living within a collegiate residence on behalf of a higher education institution. This article will also serve as insight to Black males living within residential buildings. Residential Life Departments are charged and designed with enhancing the academic experience of those living in on-campus student housing. These are multifaceted departments, with profound mission and vision statements, working to meet the developmental needs of college students ranging in different population sizes and demographics every single day. The Participants Both participants, Donte and Marcus, are involved with residential life at a predominantly white institution. Marcus is a residential assistant. Donte is a student leader. Both of these students conveyed racialized experiences within residential life that should be discussed. From their personal convictions, this article communicates a myriad of topics concerning the Black male experience. Many of their peers and supervisors did not inquire about the social and professional complications and achievements Donte and Marcus experienced. Harper (2011) confirms many Black males lack a safe space to convey their feelings on racial interactions to a supervisor within residential life. It reestablishes the notion of Black males’ opinions not being valued. It is good to have African American leadership (Harper, 2011). It opens a comfortable doorway for mentorship “engagement, unfiltered feedback, and trustworthy perspectives” (Harper, 2011, p.190). Donte and Marcus both reported an African American staff member living within residential quarters on their respective Men & Masculinities Knowledge Community Newsletter Summer 2013
campuses reaching out to them about participating in residential life. Marcus conveyed the impact of a resident director encouraging and supportive in his endeavor of becoming a RA. Marcus spoke of a faculty member living in an apartment within the residence , inviting him to dinner to discuss student leadership opportunities. Donte and Marcus both grew up in South Los Angeles and had limited resources available in their public school experience. They both recall teachers, administrators, and peers setting high expectations for them. Unfortunately, in their collegiate experience, they both felt as if they were under intense scrutiny for being Black males. Irizarry (2009) states the deficit model “… stems from negative beliefs and assumptions regarding the ability, aspirations, and work ethic of systematically marginalized peoples” (p.2). As students from South Los Angeles, the two were instantly labeled to be associated with drug dealers, athletes, and failures. The negative “social imagery” (Howard. Et al, 2012) portrayed of black males, made the two uncomfortable in their interactions with students in residential life, both staff and residents. The social imagery Donte and Marcus possessed of Black males challenged stereotype threat. Their examples were not intimidating, violent, and feared hypersexulaized black Male (Howard et. Al, 2009). At this point, Donte and Marcus focused on opposing the “stereotype threat” (Steele & Aronson, 1995, p.798) imposed on them by students and staff of the PWI. Reasons for involvement Donte and Marcus cited financial assistance as reasons for wanting to participate in residential life. Harper (2012) stated, “Many students drop out of college because they cannot afford to pay tuition and other educational expenses” (p.11). Marcus exchanged his services for free housing and meals as a RA. Donte received a $250 stipend at the end of each academic term for being a student leader. These financial benefits and reductions increased the chance of the two students graduating by alleviating “financial stress” (Harper, 2012).
Another opportunity that enticed the students came forward in leadership development. Each student learned to be a better peer leader. They experienced diversity training which opened increased their social capital amongst students of different demographics, including but not limited to: religion, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, and socio-economic class.
process. Most processes involve application essays, resumes, letters of recommendations, and most importantly GPA’s to even be considered for interviews. Some residential life programs are great at recruiting students of color but often times do not retain many of these students, specifically Black males, throughout the entire RA process.
Donte and Marcus also used their newly acquired social advantages to organize events on behalf of others based upon their residential community’s interest. The leadership experience promoted interactions with various genres of human beings. It allowed access to the interests of their peer residents. “Engagement in structured activities and leadership opportunities outside of the classroom is generally deemed beneficial for all students” (Harper et. al, 2011, p.181) and Black males are not the exception. In fact, Black males have the least amount of academic success than any other gender and race combination (Harper, 2012). To counter, it is imperative Black males get involved. “African American males who are actively involved in campus organizations and hold leadership positions in student organizations have better experiences…” (Harper et. al, 2011, p.181) in college and will be able to serve as role models and examples of excellence.
It is important to note that the work does not stop with just outreaching to Black males, but supporting them throughout the process. Residential life departments must become intentional about supporting and retaining the Black males that have successfully been hired for positions in the upcoming school year. These students cannot succeed if the environment in which they work is filled with stereotypes and unjustified perceptions of Black males (Harper et. al, 2011). References Blimling, G. S. (1998). Navigating the changing climate of moral and ethical issues in student affairs. In D. Cooper and J. Lancaster (Eds.), Beyond law and policy: Reaffirming the role of student affairs. New Directions for Student Services, 65-76. San Francisco
Implications for Engagement Harper, S. R. (2012). Black male student success in higher At predominately white institutions, where students of color are education: A report from the national Black male college fewer in number and underrepresented groups exist, it is achievement study. Philadelphia: University of challenging to make students feel at home and engaged in the Pennsylvania, Center for the Study of Race and Equity in community. More specifically, Black males might find themselves Education. as “the only one” on the floor or in the building (Harper et. al, 2011). In communities where this is prevalent, hall staff must again Harper, S. R., Davis, R. J., Jones, D. E., McGowan, B. L., Ingram, T. N., be intentional when engaging with black males as to not single & Platt, C. S. (2011). Race and racism in the experiences them out and make the space more uncomfortable, but of Black male resident assistants at predominantly white recognizing their situation and offering support. universities. Journal of College Student Development, 52 Residence Hall Staff can support black male students in several (2), 180-200. ways by continuing to: (1) Facilitate quality programming around the students academic, personal, and social needs. There is no Howard, T.C., Flennaugh, T.K., & Terry, C.L. (2012). Black Males, need to re-write the will here, just being thoughtful about Social Imagery, and the Disruption of Pathological including the black male experience in a halls programming Identities: Implications for Research and Teaching model. This can come in the planning and logistics for programs. Educational Foundations, 26 (1-2), 85-102 (2) Creating programming opportunities on gender and diversity issues are important, allowing male students a space to talk about issues of masculinity, race/ethnicity and sexuality. Harper (2011) found that many RA’s used Hip-Hop Music as medium for talking about issues of diversity and finding a common ground for all residents to share in. Hip-Hop is great, but not the only means for engaging black males. Residence hall staff should heavily also rely on the skills and activities acquired from their fall diversity trainings and workshops.
Kuh, G., Cruce, T., Shoup, R., Kinzie, J. (2008) Unmasking the effects of student engagement. The Journal of Higher Education. Vol 79 No. 5 pp.540-563 Irizarry, J. (2009) Characteristics of the Cultutral Deficit Model: Alternatives o Deficit Perspective. The Gale Group Steele, C.M., & Aronson, J. (1995). Stereotype Threat and the intellectual test-performance of African-Americans. Journal of personality and Social Psychology, 69 (5): 797811
(3) Mentorship is another way to offer support to black males in the halls. Hall staff should be intentional about identifying the black males residents and building relationships that do not Wilson, M. E., & Hirschy, A. S. (2003). Walking the thin line: The tokenize students. Inform them you want to serve as an additional challenges of policy enforcement for resident assistants. resource. Staff members wear many hats as students, Journal of College and University Student administrators, role models, teachers, counselors and policy Housing, 31(2), 22-30. enforcers (Blimling, 1998; Wilson & Hirschy, 2003). It takes time and effort to build a mentoring relationship between students and Miles Goodloe is a Honors College Living Learning Community staff, but it is possible. Coordinator at Drexel University and can be reached at (4) Help students navigate the RA recruitment process to become successful Resident Assistants. At predominately white intuitions, residential life departments understand the need and importance of having racial diversity and representation across staffs and residential communities, but without proper promotions and marketing it is very difficult to get black males into apply to the Men & Masculinities Knowledge Community Newsletter Summer 2013
Dennis Denman is a Residential Education Director at Washington State University and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
media, and to review the experience as a whole. Feedback of M4 from participants “Meeting up with Black men that were different but all intelligent made me feel more comfortable about being at WFU. Sometimes I feel like I don’t belong, but this made me feel like I did belong.” “Simply interacting with other Black males was meaningful. More often than not, we as males find ourselves not talking about the issues that we confront on a daily basis. We may deem it being ‘sensitive’ or ‘womanly.’ But by participating in the M4, we were able to shed light on the misconceptions that we have upon ourselves. We were able to open up and share our thoughts with other men without being confronted with condescension or ridicule. We could be completely honest and we could discuss topics important to our future success.”
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Conversation during week five spans the Black family and fatherhood and reflecting on messages regarding responsibility that participants received during childhood and adolescence. Week six finds participants revisiting statistical information about Black men in college shared initially during week four, and delving further into dialogue about what it means to be Black and male at WFU. Spirituality and religion are the focus of week seven. During the eighth session, men join women participating in WE3: Women Encouraging Empowerment through Exploration at an etiquette dinner. Finally, in the ninth session, participants engage in conversation about navigating society without compromising their identity. They develop an action plan indicating how they will incorporate the new knowledge gained into the rest of the college experience and in their lives going forward. Facilitators also challenge participants to become more involved at Wake Forest and in the surrounding Winston-Salem community. Facilitation Options There are several ways to achieve the learning outcomes associated with M4. At Wake Forest, we have employed both the non-credit bearing short course and discussion group method of engagement. The nature of the content across both types of delivery has remained the same, while expectations for participants’ outside reading and reflection have varied. In the short course, participants were asked to read a combination of scholarly and popular culture articles, and spend time recording their responses. It became evident that this created a burden for most students, and facilitators decided to replace out-of-session readings with shorter articles and film clips which could be digested and explored during meetings. Colleagues at academic institutions where curricular innovation is encouraged may consider offering M4 for-credit (most likely in collaboration with faculty in a relevant and progressive department). Assessment Facilitators administer an evaluation at the conclusion of each session, asking participants to offer critical feedback of the topic covered. The facilitators meet weekly to review evaluations of the previous session, discuss the session and to plan for the upcoming session. An online evaluation of the full experience is emailed to students to complete within two weeks of the final session. The evaluations are used to determine the relevance and value of the topics, guest facilitators, assigned readings and Men & Masculinities Knowledge Community Newsletter Summer 2013
“When you consider what it means to be Black, how others perceive you as a Black male and the way that you, in turn, treat others, all of what we discussed has a major impact. From the role of Spirituality to the relationships that we have with others and even the way that we eat in a business setting, I believe that each idea was important…” Implications for Further Action We have been thoroughly impressed with the positive impact that participation in the M4 Initiative has had on the lives of Black male students at Wake Forest. We plan to continue calibrating the curriculum and revising content to meet the changing needs of our student demographic. Facilitators are currently exploring “next steps” for past participants, working to identify opportunities for men to continue learning about and reflecting on their experiences as Black men at WFU and in the world. Facilitators intend to share M4 as a best practice with colleagues who are looking for ways to engage Black men on their campuses. Further, we hope to determine whether M4 is applicable (in some form) across other demographic groups, and if we should pilot a version for Latino men at WFU. Finally, we will begin mining the assessment data collected to date, in hopes that there is good learning for our faculty colleagues as they engage men in the classroom and work to support their holistic development. References Harper, S. (2009). Race-Conscious Student Engagement Practices and the Equitable Distribution of Enriching Educational Experiences. Taken from the University of Pennsylvania website. Retrieved from http://works.bepress.com/ sharper/ on June 20, 2013. Olson, G. A. (1994). bell hooks and the Politics of Literacy: A Conversation. Journal of Advanced Composition, 14 (1), pp. 1-19.
Alta Mauro, M.S. is the Director of the Office of Multicultural Affairs at Wake Forest University and can be reached at email@example.com. L. Wesley Harris Jr., LPCA, NBCC is the Assistant Director of the Office of Multicultural Affairs at Wake Forest University and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Jonathan Cox, M.Ed. is a Doctoral Student in Sociology at the University of Maryland and can be reached at email@example.com. Page 18
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Within student affairs, we often times emphasize the ideas of multiculturalism, individualism, and keeping an open mind. This man demonstrates how sometimes, we simply need to provide a space for doubt, disagreement, discomfort, and ultimately, the willingness to listen. It’s not easy, but ‘wanting to hear more’ leads to growth and, ultimately, change.
can help others understand what was said through paraphrasing and restating, but also to continually ask for feedback. It is our job, as practitioners, to lead the dialogue through unbiased participation, and to avoid sharing our personal opinions too freely.
Using a film like 12 Angry Men can provide the necessary conduit for great discussion and debate. The final scene demonstrates The end of the movie demonstrates how personal records, or how two men, Henry Fonda and Lee J. Cobb, can be so different, baggage, can change the way we view situations in life. As jurors but also remarkably similar. Both men were on a quest for justice, begin to change their minds about the guilt of the young man, on opposite sides. In the end, they found themselves to be on the based on irrefutable evidence and, the discussions that took place, same side. We must look for opportunities to find common one juror, played by Lee J. Cobb, lashes out, only to find that he is ground, and know that, while dialogue can lead to discomfort, it now the last man standing in the way of a verdict of not guilty. also leads to liberation. The man is so convinced of the boy’s guilt, but not because of References fact, but rather because of his soured relationship with his own son. This personal revelation leads to an emotional breakdown, and he realizes that his assumptions are not only wrong, but Freire, P. (1970). Pedagogy of the oppressed. New York, NY: The based on his own animosity. He ultimately changes his verdict, but Continuum International Publishing Group. is left a broken man. In an act of empathy, Henry Fonda helps the man with his coat, demonstrating a sense of comfort. This Friedkin, W. (Director), & Donnely, T. A. (Producer). (1997). 12 powerful scene seems to be a goal in student affairs: the Angry Men [Film]. (Available from Orion development of the whole person through thought provoking Home Video, 1888 Century Park East, Los Angeles, CA experiences and discussions. 90067) Our male students must have an understanding of self, this can be the bedrock to assisting others in growth, but also in defining who they are as a gendered being. Social behaviors often act as warning lights within development. When warning signs blink, the student sees this as an issue that may be brewing, and shuts down or acts out. Administrators, hopefully, see these same warning signs, and have the opportunity to identify the problem and address the issue. Our task in student affairs is to engage students, as growth occurs within the margins of doubt. Watt (2007) calls these the ‘difficult dialogues on race’, as they push our students to the edges of what they think they believe. The discussions, though, are not limited to race. Masculinity is the perfect fit, as it involves the social construct of what it means to be a man. Development surely happens when men of all races and students who identify with other sexual orientations feel challenged by people with differing viewpoints and values. It could be enhanced even more when other students begin to embrace dialogue.
Lumet, S. (Director), Fonda, H. and Rose, R. (Producers). (1957). 12 Angry Men [Film]. (Available from Orion Home Video, 1888 Century Park East, Los Angeles, CA 90067) McCambridge, J. (2003). 12 Angry Men: A study in dialogue. Journal of Management Education, 27:3, June, 2003. pp.384-401. Watt, S. K. (2007). Difficult dialogues, privilege, and social justice: Uses of the Privileged Identity Exploration (PIE) model in student affairs practice. The College Student Affairs Journal, 26:2, Spring 2007. pp. 114-126.
Barry A. Olson, Ed.D. is the Scholar-Practitioner in Residence for the Men and Masculinites Knowledge Community, and the Director of Business Administration for Campus Life at NC State University. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Woody N. Joseph is a Community Director for Campus Life at NC
How do we engage men in these dialogues? Friere (1970) believed State University. He can be reached at email@example.com. that “people develop their power to perceive critically the way they exist in the world with which and in which they find themselves” (p. 83). The power of dialogue comes from the discomfort of seeing the world through the eyes of another. Too often, we cower from this approach, as we assume that discomfort is bad or unhealthy. As men often feel unsafe, they become defensive when faced with this discomfort. However, it can be Hello and thanks for reading the Summer 2013 Edition of the liberating. Creating a safe space is crucial to opening dialogue, MMKC Newsletter. This is exciting for me because it is my first and encouraging disagreement, discomfort, and honesty. edition published as the KC’s newest Newsletter Editor. My second Safe spaces can be created anywhere, by anyone. A safe space is reason is because I had the great opportunity to receive many created when participants are led, not preached at. It is created articles (as you will notice the length of the newsletter for the when participants can speak freely, and are appreciated for summer) that really touch upon why I joined this KC and why I speaking up, regardless of what they say, or their point of view. wanted to take more of a leadership role within the KC. This can be difficult to nurture, but we can be successful by first If you enjoyed this issue of the MMKC Newsletter, please consider establishing ground rules for participation. Such ground rules submitting an article for our future editions. Please follow us on include the necessity to be honest and genuine, to speak for yourself and no one else, to acknowledge what was said in a Facebook and Twitter and don’t forget to join the MMKC Listserv. nurturing way, but also to be reminded that disagreement and discomfort are not only okay, but necessary. When we establish these rules, men are more likely to speak their minds and know -Jack Korpob that they truly can say what is on their minds. Strong facilitators
A MESSAGE FROM THE MMKC NEWSLETTER EDITOR
Men & Masculinities Knowledge Community Newsletter Summer 2013
THE PURPOSE OF THE MEN & MASCULINITIES KNOWLEDGE COMMUNITY The purpose of the Men & Masculinities Knowledge Community (MMKC) is to provide a venue for discussion, research, and the distribution of information about men’s gender identity development, in the context of college campuses. The goals of the MMKC are:
ARTICLE SUBMISSION GUIDELINES 1.
Articles should be no less than 300 words and no more than 1500.
All articles should be relevant to the mission and purpose of the Men and Masculinity Knowledge Community.
Articles should include the name of the author, job title, email and school affiliation.
Anyone with an article that is time sensitive should inquire with the Technology Chair for deadlines.
Please take the time to proof and edit your work.
All work should be saved in .doc (Word) format.
To make gender identity(ies) a salient lens for viewing and working with male staff and students.
To develop and distribute resources that will enhance student 7. affairs professionals’ ability to respond to the needs of male 8. students
To inform the profession about new research and practices regarding the development of masculine identities as manifested in people in general, and men in particular (e.g. inclusive of masculinities performed by Trans/Queer, women.)
To offer technical and creative assistance to colleagues as they develop programs and services for male students.
To assist Student Affairs professionals in navigating the tensions between male privilege and men’s personal needs (e.g. challenge and support,) including support through the professionals’ personal frustrations in this regard.
To create guides to best practices in teaching male students about diversity, gender identity, and other critical issues affecting their personal growth.
hotos and artwork should be sent as high quality .jpg files. All submissions must be sent to the Newsletter Editor, Jack Korpob, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please stay tuned for future submission deadlines!
To promulgate and/or distribute men’s issues and development scholarship for use in graduate preparation programs.
This KC was founded upon a pro-feminist, anti-racist, gayaffirmative agenda with the hope of providing resources to increase multi-cultural competence among male students by providing the NASPA membership with tools to invite and engage men into this process. The underlying assumption is that men in general are interested in social justice, capable of enacting it, and that they need language and a connection to the process.