Soccer and the Spirit of the Quinnite Nation

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Michael J. Sorrell

Athletics at small colleges are important for a variety of reasons. At their core, and when taken in their proper context, collegiate sports can be a source of school pride and enhanced campus experiences. However, as the competition for students has become more intense, one of the most popular arguments for intercollegiate athletics is that they can be used to augment campus diversity and recruitment efforts. The thinking goes that by adding certain sports, a school can bolster enrollment by attracting both athletics-minded students and ethnic minorities to campus more easily than through any other initiatives.

On the surface, there is nothing wrong with such a rationale or motivation. Nevertheless, if not properly planned and executed a school can find itself betraying its mission and values simply for the sake of meeting enrollment targets. There is a fine line between noble and well-intentioned compromises and those that would negatively infect one’s institutional culture.

I raise this issue because of what is occurring on the campus of Paul Quinn College. Our enrollment has jumped 55% in the last year and 200% since the spring of 2010. Additionally, the College has its largest Hispanic enrollment in history with 19% of the school’s student body qualifying under this designation. Such growth has coincided with the addition of men and women’s soccer teams and renewed interest in basketball and track. A jaded soul might look at these numbers and declare that we made some type of Faustian bargain in order to grow our campus. However, nothing could be further from the truth.

At Paul Quinn, our athletics programs are an extension of student activities and in complete alignment with our institutional culture. We discontinued football, the Athletic Director is our Dean of Students, every varsity athlete is required to play two sports, and no one receives full athletic scholarships. Instead of adding sports to grow the enrollment, we have done the exact opposite. Sports were added when the College could afford them or when our students requested them.

We have adopted Babson College’s mantra of “entrepreneurial thought and entrepreneurial action.” This extends to how we approach student life, including athletics. Our students are told from the first day of new student orientation that if they would like to pursue an idea or activity, they should submit a proposal to either the Dean of Students or myself. The proposal typically includes their rationale for the activity and an initial attempt at a budget. Each submission is evaluated on its quality and soundness. If the idea is consistent with our culture, the activity is approved and a staff member is assigned to coach the student through the implementation process.

It is as a result of this process that Paul Quinn came to have a varsity soccer program. Four years ago, we received a proposal from a student named Gio Macias. Gio had been a high school soccer star and wanted to continue competing at the collegiate level. Following the directive that all our students have been told, Gio submitted a proposal outlining his vision for a soccer team. In addition to being a soccer lover and entrepreneurial, Gio was also an undocumented citizen who was going to struggle to meet his financial obligations to the College as the years progressed. Instead of allowing this to occur or feigning the inability to do anything about it, we took a different path. We approved the proposal, gave Gio an institutional scholarship to serve as the inaugural head coach, and began our path to build nationally competitive men and women’s soccer programs.

Gio graduated last spring and we have hired a new coach, Jesus Vazquez. Coach Vazquez has built upon the foundation that Gio laid. For the first time in school history, Paul Quinn is fielding full rosters for both teams. While we are thrilled with the on-field progress that the teams are making, we are even happier about the way our soccer players have immersed themselves in all things Quinnite Nation and become integral parts of the Paul Quinn community.

The students at Paul Quinn College will continue to be pushed to think and act entrepreneurially and to develop their own activities. By remaining committed to this formula, the institution is assured that it will not become driven by goals that are inconsistent with the best interests of its students and culture. Such a methodology also ensures that we will always leave room for the Gio Macias’s of the world. And at the end of the day, we think that is not such a bad thing.

Michael J. Sorrell is the 34th President of Paul Quinn College.

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Giovanni Macias, first from left and Juan Solis, second from right

How it all Started

It was in the spring of 2012 that the heartbeat of Paul Quinn College soccer first gained its pulse. That semester, a few of my friends and I decided that we would take President Sorrell up on the offer to support student-created initiatives. Each of us was passionate about the game of soccer and had an interest in playing at the college level.

We began by signing up for a five-on-five indoor league as the “PQC Tigers.” We trained ourselves and would often invite other students and Paul Quinn staff to come see us play every Friday night. As the season progressed people were getting more interested in PQC soccer and we would draw crowds of 15 to 20 people during our games (sometimes including President Sorrell and his family). Although we did not win much that season, we achieved something greater then winning a title: we started a revolution. A student-led organization was striving to become an official sport recognized by the College.

Fall 2012 was a big jump for PQC soccer; it grew from just 6 players to 15. That semester we signed up for an actual 11 vs. 11 league. We also fundraised for our uniforms, registration, and transportation. Through resilience, commitment, and hard work, a foundation for PQC soccer was established. The support showed by staff, faculty, family, and friends made me feel happy and grateful.

The College announced, via a press conference, that soccer would be an official club sport in Fall 2013. Over the summer of 2013, I was named the head coach. From there I worked hard to build the program and for it to have a positive impact on the College.

Two years have passed since that time and PQC soccer continues to grow stronger each day. I am just happy to now see student-athletes coming to Paul Quinn to play a sport that we all love. To me, that will always be my biggest reward.

Giovanni Macias is a Team Leader in the Management Training Program at Target and a graduate from Paul Quinn College.

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PQC Soccer: My Return

My name is Juan Solis and my journey as a Paul Quinn Tiger began as my senior year in high school was coming to an end. Giovanni Macias approached me to offer the possibility of prolonging my soccer career at Paul Quinn College.

Gio explained to me in detail the vision, plans, and goals he had in mind to establish a strong soccer program that would mark a new era for Paul Quinn. I was intrigued by his will and grit to begin something that would change the lives of not only himself but also everybody in the entire Quinnite Nation.

Gio and I quickly began my registration so that I could be a part of the Summer Bridge program PQC offers. Our college president, Dr. Michael J. Sorrell, helped make this possible. That summer was when we began recruiting and making preparations for the upcoming fall season.

The season came along in the fall and we did not have a full soccer roster, but we worked with what we had. We never backed down from a challenge and even though times were tough we managed to fight through it and finish the season. The season did not go as we had planned and many players decided to not continue. In addition, I was offered to play for another school.

I was all set to go on and play in Ohio; however, Gio reached out to me once again and put in me in contact with the new coaches Jesus Vazquez and Michael Delgado. They informed me of the changes being made in the program and I liked what they were doing and where they were headed. I was updated while I was away and I quickly made arrangements to come back to Paul Quinn and finish what we started. My biggest desire is to contribute in any and all ways that I possibly can to the program that opened the doors for me and granted me a chance when no one else would.

Juan Solis is a student at Paul Quinn College.

Should HBCUs Shrink Enrollments?

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Gregory D. Price

Notwithstanding their ongoing effectiveness and relevance in an era in which the descendants of American Negro Slaves have many postsecondary educational options, the newly released and publically available College Scorecard data by the US Department of Education enables some interesting research, policy, and existential questions regarding our nation’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).[1] If one views graduating from an HBCU as an investment that increases the likelihood that one earns more than one would as just a high school graduate, then, in the parlance of economists, graduating from an HBCU can be narrowly viewed as a “Labor Market Treatment.”

Consider in this context a student who attends and/or graduates from an HBCU, receives some form of federally subsidized student aid, and is 6 to 10 years out from attending/graduating. Such is the criteria for capturing earnings in the Scorecard data, and for a given college/university, the earnings of students are estimated and can be compared against the typical earnings of a high school graduate, which the Scorecard cites as $25,000/year. It is this comparison that provides insight into the “Labor Market Treatment” of those attending/graduating from an HBCU. The scorecard provides a percentage estimate of how much of an HBCU’s attendees/graduates earn more than those of a typical high school graduate.

Relative to HBCU attendees/graduates, one can think of high school graduates as some sort of college investment “counterfactual,” or the labor market earnings HBCU attendees/graduates might have achieved had they not expended the resources to attend/graduate from an HBCU. Thus for a given HBCU, the fraction of its attendees/graduates that fare worse in the labor market relative to high school graduates provides an estimate of how many of them would have been “better off” to take the counterfactual route and not attended/graduated from that HBCU. It is in this context that Scorecard data can inform whether or not HBCUs enroll/graduate too many students and should consider “shrinking” their enrollments.

As an example, I shall appeal to the Scorecard data to consider if student enrollments are possibly too high at three HBCUs: Spelman College, which is consistently the highest ranked HBCU, as well as Morehouse College and Langston University—two HBCUs I am currently affiliated with. Querying the Scorecard data online for each HBCU, one finds that for Spelman, Morehouse, and Langston, the percentages of attendees/graduates that earn more than a typical high school graduate are approximately 65%, 58%, and 43% respectively. One stark implication here is that if one views attendance/graduation from an HBCU as a narrow “Labor Market Treatment,” then in the case of Spelman, Morehouse and Langston, the investment is not worth it for approximately 35%, 42%, and 57% of attendees/graduates, respectively. Using the example of this crude case study, if each of these HBCUs were solely interested in optimizing the labor market outcomes of its attendees/graduates, Spelman, Morehouse and Langston should shrink their enrollments accordingly.

Of course, the case for attending/graduating from an HBCU is not necessarily, and ought not be, solely based on how much attendees/graduates earn in the labor market. To invoke the labor market earnings of HBCU attendees/graduates as the only meaningful evaluation metric is to reduce HBCUs to mere vocational training institutes, which runs counter to the aims and prerogatives Enlightenment, which situated colleges/universities as places where the intellect would be cultivated independent of, maybe even in spite of, practical consequences so as sustain human progress that depended solely upon reason. This ideal of course clashes with the empirical reality that the real cost of attending/graduating from a college/university has exceeded the rate of inflation over the past 30 years, rendering a major in say Anthropology a tough sell for many, as it has no obvious labor market payoff relative to say a major in Accounting. Indeed, one motivation for the construction of the Scorecard data was to provide data to engage in accountability exercises for colleges/universities—what value do they add for students?

In an educational policy environment where tangible evidence of post-graduate effectiveness is dominant and taken uncritically seriously, the HBCU Labor Market Treatment estimates from Scorecard data reported here suggest that at least some HBCUs may have to consider shrinking their enrollments so as to maximize their effectiveness. Of course, doing so would pose existential challenges because the optimal size for some HBCUs according to this metric could be too small to warrant keeping the doors open at all. To paraphrase Jean Paul Sartre, “Every society selects its dead.” If HBCUs are only relevant as a “Labor Market Treatment,” the task of selecting which HBCUs should cease operating is a dreadful one and requires, in my view, a serious consideration of what their central aims/purposes are and ought to be, beyond the tangible and coarse cost-benefit analytics of vocational labor market outcomes.

Of course, one must recognize the “ceteris paribus” nature of the Scorecard data, and be committed to testing HBCU treatment effects more seriously, and I have already contributed to this literature. Nonetheless, the 43% issue is potentially troubling and suggests there are too many students enrolled who do not tangibly benefit from graduating from HBCUs like Langston, Morehouse and Spelman.  For how many HBCUs is this true? If so, is shrinking enrolments at HBCUs a sensible strategy to maximize the returns for those students who would benefit most?

This same argument holds for more selective universities. If one looks at the labor market returns for Yale University graduates, less than 100% earn more than the typical high school graduate. This suggests that institutions like Yale also have “too many students.” To see this, go the link below:

https://collegescorecard.ed.gov/school/?207209-Langston-University

[1] The data are available at https://collegescorecard.ed.gov

Gregory D. Price, Ph.D is Professor of Economics and Interim Dean of the School of Business at Langston University and an affiliate of the Penn Center for Minority Serving Institutions. 

 

 

A New World: What My HBCU Offered That My PWI Didn’t

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Patrisha E. Aregano

As an American Indian woman from a small, federally recognized Indian tribe in upstate New York, I had big dreams of going to a great university. I was accepted into a well-known predominantly White institution (PWI) in central New York, where I earned my undergraduate degree. Later, I earned my master’s degree from Norfolk State University, which is one of the nation’s historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs). The choice was simple; anybody who knows me knows I have a love and proclivity for culture. After all, experiencing different cultures helps educate a person, not only academically but socially as well.

And only now, as I settle comfortably into my new job as coordinator for Norfolk State University’s living-learning communities, do I feel that I can adequately describe my feelings toward both my PWI and HBCU experiences. There is a striking difference, and I am dismayed to report that I had been conditioned to think that my experiences at my PWI were acceptable and somehow inspiring. Yet had I not gone to Norfolk State University, I may never have learned what it truly means to uplift a student.

Coming from the north, I was unfamiliar with southern hospitality, and as I began my first semester at Norfolk State University, the kindness on the campus overcame me. I felt so much compassion from fellow students. Students began inviting me to study with them, and we would typically meet in residence halls or the library and bring food to share while we challenged each other’s ideas while still creating cohesion as a community. The professors were great and they always wanted their students to succeed, but to be a part of a group of peers who equally wanted to see me succeed was unlike anything I had previously encountered.

Conversely, my PWI was tensely competitive to the degree that I kept every one of my grades private. I often felt targeted, especially when it came to Q&A sessions after presentations. In my opinion, PWIs seem to promote the mainstream American ideology of individualism, whereas HBCUs tend to foster collectivism, but I didn’t realize this until I attended Norfolk State University.

There was a point early on at my HBCU where I had the “this group cares about me” epiphany while working on a group paper together. There were four of us, each had a computer, and we read our 25-page paper line-by-line in Google Drive, checking grammar and transition statements. It took us four hours, and it was a devotion to unity I had never previously experienced in a small group. I had been influenced prior to my HBCU to think that a group paper was made up of parts from individuals, pasted together in an organized fashion, and after the paper was handed in for a grade there was talk of who dropped the ball. At my HBCU, I realized this competitive and individualist practice could be replaced by one of cooperation and support.

Even so, HBCUs do not shy away from controversial issues. In class, we covered racial topics with in-depth frankness, and I had a voice and was able to convey real concerns without feeling ostracized. Our classrooms felt comfortable and open to discussions about a variety of ethnic disparities. I mention this because the supportive environment at my HBCU wasn’t because we avoided difficult topics. In fact, it was just the opposite. On the other hand, my PWI never touched on similar topics and there was always this movement to “save the non-Whites,” as if non-Whites were dysfunctional.

My experiences lead me to make two suggestions. First, HBCUs should place a stronger emphasis on recruiting American Indians to be part of their communities. Many cultural congruencies exist between Black and American Indian traditions. For example, both cultures involve extended family when raising children, and HBCUs promote a community-based family feel. Second, American Indians have shared experiences that historically marginalized populations are familiar with in a dominant society. Therefore, I recommend that fellow American Indians seriously consider attending an HBCU to learn about the similarities that exist between our histories and worldviews.

Patrisha E. Aregano is the coordinator for the Office of Learning Communities at Norfolk State University and she is pursuing an Education Specialist (Ed.S.) degree with a concentration in International Higher Education Leadership from Old Dominion University.

Addressing Achievement Gaps in the Context of Developing Global Competencies

In The World is Flat (2006), Tom Friedman discusses the need for Americans to not only acquire the tools and experiences that will promote their roles as citizens and employability as adapters, synthesizers and collaborators, but also to take responsibility for their own lives, careers and economic security. This implicit call for developing human capital recognizes the importance of reversing the low levels of human capital the United States has experienced since 1975, which Friedman suggests is further compounded by the existence of gaps at many levels, including: a numbers gap, a knowledge gap (education gaps both between high- and low-performing students and within these student populations), an ambition gap, a funding gap and an infrastructure gap. Growing debates regarding these gaps reflects several concerns, including the idea that the United States will be increasingly unable to effectively compete in the global marketplace if these gaps are not systematically addressed.

A new book recently completed with colleagues (Promoting Global Competence and Social Justice in Teacher Education: Successes and challenges within local and international contexts) addresses the knowledge gap, particularly from the perspective of re-conceptualizing the purpose of education to include the attainment of global perspectives and competencies that can contribute to reducing educational gaps both at the high and low end of the achievement distribution. This perspective can inform how MSIs and other higher education institutions operationalize their role in closing the knowledge gap, particularly since

few practicing teachers in the US are prepared to handle the demands of educating students for our changing global context and many do not possess a nuanced, global perspective with regard to their subject areas or pedagogical strategies. The lack of a global outlook limits teachers from accessing available tools with which they can encourage their students to consider multiple perspectives, think critically or cultivate respect and tolerance for diverse peoples and cultures. To address this concern, my colleagues and I discuss here are three types of internationalization experiences that teacher candidates and practicing teachers can integrate in their repertoires:

  1. Opportunities for study abroad, which advocates the development, implementation and evaluation of international experiences
  2. The use of technology-based experiences that facilitate international experiences between practicing teachers and teacher candidates in different parts of the world
  3. The promotion of glocal experiences (i.e., the study of diverse communities in the villages, towns and cities in which students live)

To be sure, these efforts will complement those already underway, including the Lieutenant Governor’s Association support for the creation of a national policy on international education; the Council of Chief State School Officers’ advocacy for preparing students for a global society in which they will both reside and shape; the National Association of State Boards’ recent report urging institutions that prepare and train teachers to expose their candidates to global perspectives; and the Partnership for 21st Century Skills advocacy for global awareness as one of several competencies students should acquire. These organizations are joined by the National Research Council, the Committee for Economic Development, and the Asia Society, who advocate for and support the development of curriculum and instruction in world languages (particularly those that are less common) and sustained interventions that enable the cultivation of global competencies. Towards this end, it is imperative that US schools of education and by extension, teacher educators charged with the training and development of teacher candidates, also cultivate these competencies.

Growing consensus regarding the importance and utility of these strategies for promoting global competencies suggests the need for relevant frameworks, that actively consider what global competence means within a particular institutional context and employing this knowledge to situate curriculum, instruction and assessments within existing and new disciplines (potentially around global studies). It is through these and other efforts, through which minority serving and other institutions, regardless of whether they are public or private teaching or research institutions, can meet the challenges of developing global competencies and reducing pervasive achievement gaps among our students.

Parts of this article are excerpted with permission from Promoting Global Competence and Social Justice in Teacher Education: Successes and challenges within local and international contexts. Lexington Books: Rowman and Littlefield Publishers.

Dr. Beatrice Bridglall is Director, Office of Special Projects, Office of the Secretary of Higher Education, New Jersey.