The International Colloquium on Black Males in Education is an annual, international gathering that serves as a space to exchange ideas and perspectives concerning the global dynamics of Black males in the educational pipeline. First held in 2012, it is a community-building experience that brings together world-class scholars, high-impact practitioners, policy makers, funders, students, and concerned citizens across the globe.
The Colloquium offers a diverse array of programs that serve to elicit intellectual thought, discussion, and ideas that can be implemented to serve and improve the experiences of Black males throughout the world. Participants are encouraged to discuss the wide range of educational issues that arise across the educational pipeline (i.e., university and PK-12) as well as share ideas and innovative practices in different disciplinary fields (e.g., history, sociology, and STEM) that take into consideration how forces such as globalization and the internationalization of education affect the educational trajectories of Black males.
Held over multiple days, the Colloquium offers a vast array of programming and educational opportunities to engage its wide array of participants. A variety of keynote presentations, lectures, discussion-based roundtables, and a cultural- enrichment opportunity focused on the racial and educational inequities of the host city are all made available to event participants. In addition, the Colloquium also hosts a series of Pre-Colloquium events geared toward building capacity in local communities to serve the needs of Black males in education.
Every effort is made to develop outreach opportunities that engage constituents (e.g., parents, community organizers, students) that might not normally participate in a research gathering, but can greatly benefit from learning how research can empower them to work with Black males in education. The operational philosophy of the Colloquium is to engage with and give back to the communities that serve as hosts. The Colloquium leadership actively fundraises to ensure these Pre-Colloquium activities are available at no cost to participants.
YEARS OF INTERNATIONAL GATHERINGS
DAYS OF DYNAMIC, IMPACTFUL EXPERIENCES
The International Colloquium on Black Males in Education is hosted by the Organizational Disparities Laboratory at Michigan State University and the Todd Anthony Bell National Resource Center on the African American Male at The Ohio State University.
The inspiration for the inaugural Colloquium, entitled, “Global Research on the Black Male Educational Pipeline Colloquium: International Perspectives to Inform Local Solution,” came to us in 2009. Along with Dr. Raul A. Leon, who was a PhD student at the time, we were invited to write an entry for the International Encyclopedia of Education, “Male Underachievement in Education Across the Globe: A Shift in Paradigm for Gender Disparities Regarding Academic Achievement.” For the article, we highlighted that girls in both the United States and England were outperforming boys academically (Jha & Kelleher, 2006). This topic was part of a larger narrative and educational debate surrounding the schooling experiences of boys (Weaver-Hightower, 2003).
In the mid-1990s, concern was mounting and attention was increasingly being placed on the educational performance of males. Concern in the United States was echoed in countries such as England and Australia, where this issue reached national crisis status. In England, girls surpassed boys at “A level” on the General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) examinations for the first time in 2000, stoking national anxiety (Myhill, 2002). A new practice-based focus on boys was accompanied by an empirical research component. Weaver-Hightower (2003) defined this transition toward the study of males as the “boy turn.”
Despite the relatively nascent nature of research on males, most of the research at the time was dominated by the study of the experiences of African American/Black boys and males in the United States. As we undertook the task of writing the publication, we wondered what it would be like to bring together a cadre of scholars from communities across the world to examine Black male experiences in education from a variety of lenses. Thus, the Colloquium was born.
Since 2012, we have been delighted to see the Colloquium grow alongside the many scholars and practitioners who are working diligently to examine and improve the experiences of Black men and boys in education globally. Our hope is that every Colloquium attendee and participant leave inspired, equipped, and motivated to improve the educational dilemma for Black males through research, practice, and policy.
Jerlando F. L. Jackson, PhD
Michigan State University
James L. Moore III, PhD
The Ohio State University