Dr. Harley E. Flack Student Mentoring Program
The Dr. Harley E. Flack Student Mentoring Program at Rowan University is an academic success and retention program which provides participants academic, personal, and professional support throughout the course of their undergraduate career at Rowan. Through personalized mentorship, academic support, professional guidance, co-curricular activities, and leadership initiatives, the program has successfully supported participants in achieving their goals and full potential as students at Rowan University.
The Dr. Harley E. Flack Student Mentoring Program aims to improve the academic and professional success, retention rates, and graduation rates of active program participants. The program's focus is to enhance students’ overall university experience; support students in developing core academic, personal, professional and cultural skills; and foster in students some core civic and leadership proficiencies that will serve them personally and professionally.
The Dr. Harley E. Flack Student Mentoring Program was established in 1992. In creating the program, Dr. Flack, then the Executive Vice President/Provost, intended to address concerns that student satisfaction, retention and graduation rates of African American males were disproportionately low compared to similar statistics for their counterparts. In collaboration with a cohort of dedicated faculty and staff members, Dr. Ted Johnson and Dr. Kimble Byrd officially created and coordinated the Dr. Harley E. Flack Male Student Mentoring program.
As the population of Latino males matriculating at the university increased, similar concern as was expressed for their African American counterparts began to surface. With this, the program opened its membership to Latino males.
In the meanwhile, African American women seeking mentorship initially approached the male mentors for support. With the persistence of Ms. Zarinah Knight (a student leader) and under the leadership of its first coordinator, Dr. Diane Hughes, the female component to the program – now named Ujima (a Swahili term meaning “collective responsibility”) – was established in the spring of 1995. By the spring of 1996 Dr. Shirley Muller assumed coordination of the female component of the program and it was further developed under her guidance.
Responding to the challenges that working class and first generation students faced, which are similar to the challenges faced by African American and Latina/o students, in 1996 the program grew further to open membership to all under-represented or underprepared students.
The university formally institutionalized the program in the fall of 2008 with the hiring of a full-time Assistant Director of Mentoring and Academic Enrichment.
Over the years, Ujima and the male component of the Harley E. Flack Student Mentoring program have been very successful in supporting Rowan University students from their first year to graduation.
Through mentoring relationships, academic support, and cultural enrichment activities the Dr. Harley E. Flack Student Mentoring Program will fulfill the following objectives: