National Study Names Midlands Technical College in the Top 50 Colleges Awarding Two-year Degrees to African Americans

June 24, 2008

COLUMBIA, SC – June 24, 2008 – Midlands Technical College (MTC) is one of nation’s top 50 associate degree providers for African Americans, according to a recent national study published this month by Community College Week. The study also recognizes that Midlands Technical College awards more two-year associate degrees to African Americans than any other college in South Carolina.

“MTC is very proud of its role in providing a pathway to higher education and career training for minority and non-traditional students,” said Dr. Marshall (Sonny) White, Jr., MTC president. “We understand that education is the key to raising the quality of life for families, and the education at this college is targeted to assist individuals succeed in their chosen career fields.”

MTC has taken significant steps to address the issue of under-representation of African Americans, particularly males, in higher education. College outreach to minorities has increased, and special attention is being paid to linking higher education to future financial success and the ability to handle personal responsibilities. 

MTC is actively engaged in the process of opening the possibility of attending college in the minds of those who have not considered it, or who believe they may be unable to attend. The college also provides information on attending evening classes for students who work during the day, and on the availability of academic and financial assistance.

MTC regularly works with area churches and civic groups to promote higher education. The college has also partnered with a number of community organizations such as the Columbia Urban League and 100 Black Men of Greater Columbia to better reach the African American community.

One particular issue the college is addressing is the disparity of degrees awarded between black male and black female students. This reflects national data that show that the number of African American men who succeed in college is declining.

To address this particular issue, Midlands Technical College created the African American Male Leadership Institute (AAMLI). In addition to seeking to increase retention rates of African American males at the college, AAMLI is committed to developing leadership potential and promoting academic and personal success among African American males enrolled at MTC.

One of the institute’s participants, Darius Adams, said the program is a significant source of support and encouragement to black students. “I am just so grateful for Midlands Technical College,” said Adams. “That slogan: You can get anywhere from here is so appropriate. I truly feel that way now because when I got out of high school, I honestly was not prepared for the four-year university. But now I feel like I can tackle anything.”

“The AAMLI encouraged me to be a leader, encouraged me to want to learn more about black history, and of course, encouraged me to do the right thing,” said Adams. “It allowed me to meet other young black males who were on the same page as I am.”

A graduate of Brookland-Cayce High School, Adams graduated from MTC last month with an Associate in Science degree. He was one of three students in the state to receive the South Carolina Professional Association for Access and Equity scholarship. He was also one of three two-year college students in the Southeast to receive a stipend from the Southern Regional Council on Black American Affairs to attend their regional conference this year. Adams plans to attend USC in the health professions.

The college has a number of workshops, conferences, cultural enrichment activities and mentoring opportunities for black students. Faculty members are identified to provide tutoring to students in specific academic disciplines. College counselors work with targeted student groups to develop individual learning plans based on their chosen career goals and to identify possible barriers to successful completion of their goals.

Midlands Technical College hosts annual conferences designed to educate the community about the issue of under-representation of African American men in higher education and to provide students with key tools that enhance college success. The most recent conference was “African American Males in Higher Education: Creating a Vision for Academic and Career Success.” The keynote speaker for the conference was Alvin Darden, freshman class dean at Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA.