- Developing Effective Programs and Services for College Men: New Directions for Student Services (Number 107)
Gender discourse in higher education, particularly within student affairs, is unarguably lopsided. That is, conversations and corresponding institutional responses have focused almost exclusively on the needs of and challenges faced by female students and women in academe. The continuous illumination of sexism and gendered institutional structures that disadvantage women is both necessary and important. The introduction of feminist perspectives and critiques has enabled practitioners and faculty to better understand the developmental needs and unique experiences of women, which in turn has led to the provision of essential resources and services on campuses across the country. While women's concerns merit ongoing consideration and perhaps even greater attention, we argue here, as we have done elsewhere, that current and future scholarship on gender must become more inclusive of college men. Sociologists and leading men's studies scholars Michael Kimmel and Michael Messner (2004) contend that men have long been treated as if we have no gender. A cursory glance at research and published perspectives on gender issues in higher education and student affairs would confirm this assertion. Thus, Developing Effective Programs and Services for College Men is a much-needed contribution to a longstanding gap in the literature.
Edited by Gar E. Kellom, Vice President [End Page 487] of Student Development at Saint John's University, this volume brings together a diverse group of scholars and practitioners who consider various aspects of men's development and college experiences. It was refreshing to see authors from a variety of institutional types, including Historically Black Colleges. The monograph emerged from the Reconnecting Males to Liberal Education symposium held at Morehouse College in 2001. Consistent with other New Directions for Student Services sourcebooks, notes from the editor precede the chapters in this issue. Kellom described the agenda and recommendations from the Morehouse symposium, including the need for stronger partnerships and additional scholarship pertaining to male collegians. He then offered a quick report of significant, but seemingly random trends and statistics regarding gender inequities that are unfavorable for college men. These data deserved fuller treatment and explication—this review would have been better situated in an actual chapter instead of the editor's notes.
In the first chapter, Obie Clayton, Cynthia Lucas Hewitt, and Eddie Gaffney discussed the enrollment disparities that exist between men and women in higher education. They described how and why men of color (particularly African Americans) and male students from low socioeconomic backgrounds are underrepresented in comparison to their same-race female peers. The theories and sociocultural frameworks in which their consideration is grounded elucidate the undercurrents of low matriculation rates among racial/ethnic minority male students; this is a definite strength of the chapter. Although the issues articulated therein are indeed exacerbated for African American men, in many sections sole emphasis is placed on that population at the exclusion of others. Notwithstanding, the authors offered a useful set of implications for research and policy at the end of the chapter, along with this cautionary note: "Policies that might help male students at the expense of female [students] should be avoided" (p. 20).
Rocco Capraro provided a masterful synthesis of historical and theoretical perspectives from the men's studies literature in chapter 2—the comprehensiveness of his review is both exemplary and noteworthy. He drew on seminal and contemporary works from major thinkers on masculinities and forged logical connections between male student development in higher education and widely accepted points of view from men's studies. Readers who lack prior exposure to literature on men and masculinities will find this chapter especially insightful. Chapter 3 is divided into two fragmented parts. In the first half, Cynthia Neal Spence posited that several lessons can be learned from women's colleges, particularly Spelman, regarding curriculum, pedagogy, and the creation of environments in which healthy, non-monolithic gender identities are developed. She situated this transferability primarily in the context of Morehouse...