Founders Hall

Founders Hall on the campus of Athens State University.

A new agreement between Athens State University and Drake State Community & Technical College will create a transfer pathway for African-American men interested in pursuing a teaching career, according to a press release.

The partnership agreement was signed Thursday by Dr. Philip Way, president of Athens State University, and Dr. Patricia Sims, president of Drake State.

“Working together with organizations like Athens State University, we are providing our students with more ways to pursue and achieve their goals,” Sims said.

As part of the agreement, African-American men pursuing an associate of science degree at Drake State can choose to participate in the Minority Male Pathway Initiative and be eligible to receive scholarships to cover tuition, books and housing, with funds provided through a grant awarded by the state of Alabama. Once they complete their two-year degree at Drake State, a streamlined process is in place to transfer their education to Athens State University, where they will finish their four-year training.

Participants must agree to teach in Alabama for two years after graduating from Athens State.

“The primary objective of the Pathway Initiative is to recruit and prepare minority students majoring in education at Athens State University to become highly-qualified, strong teachers and leaders,” said Dr. Darlene Turner-White, Minority Male Initiative Program Coordinator and College of Education faculty member at Athens State University. “Not only do we aim to give an underrepresented population a pathway to a teaching career, but we as a college aim to step up our efforts to recruit, support and mentor these men.”

The Minority Male Initiative was recently launched by Athens State to improve the pathway for students of color to become teachers in North Alabama school districts. Data on teaching and the diversity of teacher candidates on a national level shows male African-American teachers are under-represented in the workforce. These findings hold true in the North Alabama region, which spurred Athens State University’s College of Education to develop a program to help increase the number of diverse teacher candidates and fill the local community’s need for male teachers of color.

“Athens State is founded on partnerships — pathways linking community college students with opportunities in our upper-division programs and relationships with regional employers,” Way said. “We are therefore pleased to create this partnership with Drake State that will easily allow students to finish their teaching degrees and enrich the area’s educators.”

Visit for more information about the Minority Male Pathway Initiative.

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