Book By: Gar Kellom, Ed.
Review By: Shannon L. Young
Academic Advisory Center
College of Humanities and Social Sciences
Carnegie Mellon University
The generation of student development models that account for historically excluded minorities has become a priority during recent decades. Therefore a text that seeks to carve out a particular space for men’s issues may seem surprising in this climate. Yet Kellom’s anthology, Developing Effective Programs and Services for College, explores the unique needs of this majority population.
Here article authors successfully establish that even students who may be part of a majority experience the world through a specific framework of identity factors such as race, ethnicity, class, and sexual orientation. Further, colleges notice a growing “problem with enrollment, retention, and academic performance of college men [. . . which] is most acute among [minority] men” (p. 1). Statistics suggest that men are less likely to matriculate and are less likely to utilize support services. Capraro asserts, “It [is] conceded that objectively men as a group may still have power over women as a group, but subjectively it [is] observed that many individual men do not feel powerful” (p. 26). Mindful of these points, volume authors maintain that higher education professionals can not effectively design services unless we address questions of gender in our work.
This book first explores theory with topics that include gender identity development, men’s studies as an academic discipline, and the economic, cultural, and political factors men confront. Early essays contextualize the issues at stake for young men in higher education. Later the book focuses on practice as authors provide perspectives from student activities and health services to campus judicial systems. These latter articles examine how student affairs professionals can use gender studies to rethink how we deliver services to men.
A reader with little exposure to gender studies will find that the theory section elicits questions and contributes to an understanding perception of students’ gendered experience. I found the practice portion to be especially helpful with its concrete ideas for creating comfortable and effective professional interactions with young men.
This book requires the reader to think outside the box to clarify how ideas presented relate to advising since no chapters specifically focus on the advisor/advisee relationship or the role of academic services. Yet the absence of such information does not limit the usefulness of the text. Several chapters offer practical suggestions for the establishment of a trusting relationship with male students. One particularly helpful example included being conscious of word choices and how we phrase questions to gather information. Something as simple as saying, “How do you experience that? What’s that like for you?” (66) rather than “How do you feel about that?” may have made a difference with advisees who dislike discussing emotion. An appropriate next step for researchers in advising would include examining the experiences of young men as advisees and building a list of best practices for advising young male students. In the meantime, the book is a useful start for advisors who want suggestions for improving their services for young men.
Developing Effective Programs and Services for College Men
(New Directions for Student Services, No. 107, Fall 2004 ). (2004). Book by Kellom, Gar, Ed. Review By Young,
Shannon L. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. 112 pp. Price $27.00. ISBN #0-7879-7772-1