Charles Cunningham, Ed.D. '13
Counselor and College Success Instructor, Madison College
Charles Cunningham ’13 has found his niche in the world of higher education. His calling, he says, is “looking out for those who people often overlook: men of color.”
Charles, a graduate of the Doctoral Program in Educational Leadership at Edgewood College, was part of the team that founded the Mentoring Minority Male Scholars Program, or 3MSP, at Madison College in 2008.
“At the time, there was no concerted effort to really have a learning community with a faculty-student mentoring piece,” says Charles, who has been a counselor at Madison College since 2007. “I've always been a big believer in mentoring and the impact of mentors, especially educational mentors.”
Inspired by research done at the college and nationwide that showed how crucial it is for minority students to feel connected to their campus community, 3MSP was started to support male students of color at Madison College. Charles says that 3MSP helps “create a sense of belonging” for its student members.
Participation has doubled since 3MSP was created and, today, the retention rates of African-American male students in the program are higher than that of the general student population. In 2013, a similar group was started for women, modeled on the successes of 3MSP.
Charles’ experience in the Doctoral Program in Educational Leadership at Edgewood College has complemented his work with 3MSP. The process of building 3MSP fit well with his graduate work and research. “
The Edgewood College doctoral program gave me the confidence, knowledge, and the fortitude to effectively implement a program with impact on students’ academic successes. It gave me the tenets to help students in a more systematic way.” As he looks back on his time at the College, Charles Cunningham says, “It was fascinating and I loved it … I felt supported; I felt that people cared.”