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Mission Statement

Cal Poly Pomona’s Project SUCCESS is a mentoring program created due to the recognized national need to address African American, Latino, and Native American males’ success rates to persist and graduate from college. In its second year of operation, Project SUCCESS assists Cal Poly Pomona (CPP) African American, Latino, and Native American male first-year freshmen and first-year transfer students.  Through mentorship and intentional connections with CPP faculty, staff, alumni and the community, Project SUCCESS helps students successfully navigate the educational process. Furthermore, Project SUCCESS will contribute to the CSU Graduation Initiative 2025 which focuses on increasing 4-year graduation rates and eliminating the achievement gap between underrepresented minority students and their peer counterparts.

Project SUCCESS Goals

  • To develop and sustain a culturally-relevant mentoring program that advances the success of African American Latino, and Native American males across the educational pipeline
  • To increase first year persistence and retention of African American, Latino, and Native American male students enrolled at Cal Poly Pomona.
  • To increase African American, Latino, and Native American male participation in academic support programs
  • To sponsor the Project SUCCESS Leadership Series, specifically designed for the advancement of African American, Latino, and Native American male student success
  • To engage participants’ family and parents in the process of learning and engagement for African American, Latino, and Native American males’ success by participating in the annual Project SUCCESS Preview Conference Day

Project SUCCESS Requirements and Expectations

  • Must be a full-time (12 units each term) registered Cal Poly Pomona student for the entire 2017 – 2018 academic year
  • Must be an entering first-year Freshman or first-year Transfer student at Cal Poly Pomona
  • Must fully complete and submit the attached application
  • Expected to maintain a minimum of 2.0 cumulative grade point average (GPA) during the program, with the goal to achieve no less than a 2.5 cumulative GPA
  • Must enroll in the Ethnic & Women's Studies (EWS) 200, or other designated independent studies course for Project SUCCESS each term
  • Expected to participate in regular grade checks throughout the academic year.
  • Must commit to attending ALL of the Project SUCCESS Community Gatherings, Events, and Kin group meetings throughout the academic year
  • Must be willing to meet one-on-one with mentors, faculty and staff on a regular basis


Need for Project SUCCESS

Data provided by The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS)

Males Retention at Cal Poly Pomona for the fall of 2010 cohort


African Americans

Latino/ Hispanics


Year 1:




Year 2:




1.   Less than ⅓ of Black and Latino undergraduates graduate within six years (Swail, Redd, & Perna, 2003)

2.   There is a shortage of black male role models and mentors (Harper, 2006)

3.   Hispanic students are the largest growing minority in the United States (Yosso, 2006)

4.   Women will continue to outnumber men on college campuses (Gohn & Albin, 2006)

5.   Men of color are constantly stereotyped by professors and classmates and exposed to culturally irrelevant perspectives (Harper, Davis, McGuire, Berhanu, 2015)


Project SUCCESS Philosophy

We believe in a student-centered approach that surrounds our students with upperclassmen, graduate level, and faculty, staff and alumni support. Through an assets-based framework our intentional first year experience fosters community-based learning (Kuh, 2008). The program’s culturally relevant philosophy is designed to support retention and persistence for men of color with a focus on cognitive, social, and institutional factors (Swail, Redd, Perna, 2003). Our mentors serve as in-class agents and out-of-class agents to validate our students, which is contingent upon their ability to be involved academically and interpersonally (Rendon, 1994). We recognize the invalidation that can often occur through Eurocentric curriculum that does not celebrate the background and communities of our students (Freire, 2000). And thus, we focus on the talents, strengths, and experiences that students of color bring with them to higher education (Yosso, 2005).

  1. Freire, P. (2000). Pedagogy of the oppressed. Bloomsbury Publishing.
  2. Kuh, G. D. (2008). Excerpt from high-impact educational practices: What they are, who has access to them, and why they matter. Association of American Colleges and Universities.
  3. Rendon, L. I. (1994). Validating culturally diverse students: Toward a new model of learning and student development. Innovative higher education19(1), 33-51.
  4. Swail, W. S., Redd, K. E., & Perna, L. W. (2003). Retaining minority students in higher education. Hobokan.
  5. Yosso, T.J. (2005). Whose culture has capital? A critical race theory discussion of community cultural wealth. Race, Ethnicity and Education, Vol. 1, pp. 69-91.



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