In 2002, national and local research studies were conducted about the performance of African American male students in college which led concerned administrators at The Ohio State University to implement an experimental effort to better understand and, if possible, to improve retention and graduation rates for this subpopulation of undergraduates.
The resulting program, which came to be known as the Black Male Initiative, represented a joint effort by the Office of Diversity and Inclusion (formerly the Office of Minority Affairs), the Office of Student Affairs, and interested individual members of the faculty and staff. Regular group meetings, frequent personal interaction with individual undergraduates, invited guest speakers, and academic support services each played a role, along with information gleaned from the experience of other schools and researchers. Mr. Todd Bell gave leadership and participated actively at the individual level with this emerging program. Significant improvements in student satisfaction, performance, and retention to graduation were quantitative measures of the program's success.
So that the campus as a whole might benefit from the lessons learned through the Black Male Initiative, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, established on campus a centralized location to concentrate efforts to increase the retention and graduation rates of African American men. The establishment of this Center was approved in 2004. A critical campus location was identified, initial funding was earmarked for the operation. Upon news of his untimely passing, his colleagues determined to name the center in his honor, his widow was consulted and approved the memorial, and the Todd Anthony Bell National Resource Center on the African American Male was opened in September 2005 in the historic Brown Hall at the center of Ohio State's Columbus campus.
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