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Monday, April 10, 2017

Men of Color in College: Focus of March “Discovery Slams”

 Discovery Slams: Dr. J. Luke Wood
Stereotypes on level of intelligence, criminality and cultural differences.

These are some of the issues that men of color experience when pursuing a higher education and the message of Dr. Luke Wood’s presentation at San Diego State University’s March “Discovery Slams.”


For about 17 minutes, Wood spoke and answered questions about the research discoveries he and his colleagues–Drs. Frank Harris III & Marissa Vasquez Urias and other researchers–have made through the Minority Male Community College Collaborative.

“I was honored to have the opportunity to represent the College of Education,” said Wood, a faculty member in the Administration, Rehabilitation and Postsecondary Education department and Director of the Doctoral Program in Community College Leadership. “It is not often that I discuss our work with such an interdisciplinary audience. To have fellow academicians representing the sciences, social sciences, humanities and arts was very enjoyable.”

“Discovery Slams” takes place every month and gives three SDSU faculty the opportunity to give 10 minute talks about their research and answer questions from a “highly educated audience who may know next to nothing about the speaker’s particular discipline.”

Wood gave a brief synopsis of about 70 studies he and his colleagues have conducted on the experiences of 73,000 men of color in community colleges.

“The main messages included that stereotypes around intelligence, criminality, and culture influence the daily lives and experiences of men of color,” Wood said. “These stereotypes influence how educators interact with them, how their peers perceive them, and their apprehension to engage in the classroom for fear of reifying negative stereotypes about them.”

Wood also spoke about new research that focuses on the impact that hunger and not having a stable place to live have on black men who are pursuing a higher education.

“The most important message is that educators are the key to providing an environment of support for men of color,” said Wood. “However, the vast majority of them simply do not know what to do. It is essential that all educators, from preschool to doctoral education be trained in effective teaching and learning and relationship-building practices.”

Wood’s complete presentation can be viewed at the College of Science’s YouTube page.