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Check Out Dr. Darryl Hylton’s Story

Today we’d like to introduce you to Dr. Darryl Hylton.

Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
During my enrollment in my doctoral program, I collaborated with my previous place of employment to create an opportunity to increase the retention and [eventually] graduation rates of African-American men, who traditionally have the lowest degree completion. The original idea was to create the First Year Seminar course for African-American men. Still, it was met with minor resistance from various constituents across campus due to fear of the course section being a form of “segregation.” Dictionary.com defines segregation as “the separation of people or things from the main body or group.” Using this definition as a foundation, I explained to my constituents that we were already “segregating” and providing specific support services for certain specialized populations (i.e., Bonner Scholars and Honors Program). With that rationale and the institutional research, it was finally accepted [with reservations] to begin in Fall 2019.

As an adult education practitioner, I understand the need to challenge and support students to become self-directed when critically thinking and analyzing situations in problem-solving. With this unique cohort of students, this student development theory was even more critical. Utilizing a blended course format teaching from a culturally relevant andragogical lens, I intentionally incorporated creativity, charisma, and leadership through group discussions, case studies, and reflective writing. It is important to me to provide spaces for students to use their words and voices to express their thoughts while navigating the educational system, negating stereotypes, and for many of them becoming the first in their families to graduate from college.

Student outcome data is critical with such a specialized course serving this population. Overall, our retention and student satisfaction were above average compared to their peers. Some of the quantitative data yielded include: 100% of students in the course earned a passing grade, 0% of students in the class were academically suspended from the Fall 2019 semester, and 71% returned to the university for the Spring 2020 semester.

Considering the significant positive outcomes, my co-founder/Chief Operation Officer, Mr. Jamie Enge, discussed how we could use this data and model as the foundation to create a nationwide movement and impact. Thus, on February 5, 2020, The Collegiate Black Male Network was birthed.

The five goals and objectives of The CBM Network are:
1. To support students matriculating towards degree completion.
2. To increase awareness of issues affecting Black men in society.
3. To connect students with resources to aid their personal and professional growth.
4. To develop students to be leaders amongst their peers.
5. To serve through various community service projects and initiatives to help elevate our communities.

Since our founding in 2020 and through our framework consisting of direct service to students and indirect services supporting colleges/universities and nonprofit organizations, we are creating a transformational experience that is changing the trajectory of the lives of collegiate Black men.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
It has not always been a smooth road. Starting a new business venture is exciting and scary, all in the same breath. One thing we’ve learned about nonprofit organizations is that it is a lot of paperwork. It’s so much paperwork, and you don’t even know what you don’t know until you realize you don’t know it (but need to). Additionally, as many know, nonprofits rely on contributions from individuals, foundations, and other grantmakers. However, as a newer organization, we do not have the minimum annual budget requirements, connections, or networks, making it hard for us to compete in the grant space.

We have so much we want to accomplish, and even though we are not where we envisioned we would be at this moment, we are right where we need to be. It’s all bout finding the balance between patience and progress. Having patience, knowing that all great things take time, but not getting too complacent and not progressing towards accomplishing our goals.

What are some things you do when you are not engaged in the work of The Collegiate Black Male Network?
In addition to serving as co-founder/Chief Executive Officer of The Collegiate Black Male Network, I also work full-time in higher education as an Academic Coach overseeing a scholarship program, a Double Dutch Aerobics fitness instructor, and a licensed REALTOR in the state of Maryland. When I’m not working, I’m serving as a Director of College Coaching for a nonprofit organization, Peer Forward, Inc., and a lifetime member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.

What makes you happy?
Mentoring makes me happy. Serving as the big brother/mentor for my mentees, helping them remove barriers affecting their success, and ultimately seeing them accomplish their goals brings me joy.

Contact Info:

Image Credits
The pictures of me and Jamie (in the blue and black polos) were taken by D’Andra Drewitt of SayDrewitt | Media

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