Roy Jones

Roy Jones, executive director of Call Me MISTER, will discuss the impact of black male initiatives at the 2016 National Historically Black Colleges and Universities Conference hosted by the White House.
Image Credit: Clemson University

CLEMSON — Roy Jones, executive director of Call Me MISTER at Clemson University, will serve as a panelist at the 2016 National Historically Black Colleges and Universities Week Conference in Arlington, Virginia, Oct. 23-26. The conference provides a forum for college presidents, faculty members, students, senior federal agency partners, foundation partners and stakeholders to address priorities related to promoting excellence, innovation and sustainability in historically black colleges and universities.

These priorities provided the framework for President Barack Obama’s Presidential Executive Order 13532. Jones’ panel discussion, “Black Male Initiatives at HBCUs: Lessons Learned,” will see him highlight Call Me MISTER as one of four black male initiatives that have experienced measurable success in enhancing the development and achievement of black male students. Jones said the colleges and universities that will be discussed and represented at the conference are an integral part of Call Me MISTER.

“These institutions are the life blood of Call Me MISTER,” Jones said. “Their success is ours and vice versa, so to be among their leaders to share what works and discover what doesn’t is a valuable opportunity for our program.”

Jones’ appearance as a panelist is just one of the breakout sessions in a conference that will cover a variety of topics, from building sustainable partnerships to framing new pathways to science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The conference will introduce educational innovations and evidence-based practices that align with the national higher education agenda, but it also acts as a forum that fosters private partnerships that will reinforce the importance and impact of participating institutions. The presentations and dialogue are meant to encourage collaboration among participants.

The conference has a particular interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) professionals of African descent and their connection to historically black colleges and universities. These institutions provide a large portion of African-American graduates who go on to receive doctorates in science and engineering.

These subjects are only as important as the skills educators require to teach them, according to Jones. He said he looks forward to hearing from other participants at the conference, but just as much he is excited to represent a program that places so much importance on the role of African-American educators and the ripple effect they can have on youth across the nation.

“I, along with many others at Clemson University, believe that Call Me MISTER provides an effective, proven model for guiding educators of color who can then produce and influence great leaders,” Jones said. “The growing number of historically black colleges and universities that utilize that model is evidence of that.”

Call Me MISTER works to increase the number of available teachers from a broader more diverse background, especially among the lowest-performing elementary schools. The program began at Clemson University in 2000 with a goal of placing more male African-American elementary teachers from diverse cultures and backgrounds in the classroom. Since then, the program has graduated 203 MISTERs who are now teaching in South Carolina schools and has expanded to include 19 other universities and technical colleges in South Carolina, as well as programs in eight additional states.