Program History & Objectives

Program History & Objectives


The Dr. Harley E. Flack Student Mentoring Program was established in 1992.  In creating the program, Dr. Flack, then the Executive Vice President/Provost, intended to address concerns that student satisfaction, retention and graduation rates of African American males were disproportionately low compared to similar statistics for their counterparts.  In collaboration with a cohort of dedicated faculty and staff members, Dr. Ted Johnson and Dr. Kimble Byrd officially created and coordinated the Dr. Harley E. Flack Male Student Mentoring program. 

As the population of Latino males matriculating at the university increased, similar concern as was expressed for their African American counterparts began to surface.  With this, the program opened its membership to Latino males. 

In the meanwhile, African American women seeking mentorship initially approached the male mentors for support.  With the persistence of Ms. Zarinah Knight (a student leader) and under the leadership of its first coordinator, Dr. Diane Hughes, the female component to the program – now named Ujima (a Swahili term meaning “collective responsibility”) – was established in the spring of 1995.  By the spring of 1996 Dr. Shirley Muller assumed coordination of the female component of the program and it was further developed under her guidance.  

Responding to the challenges that working class and first generation students faced, which are similar to the challenges faced by African American and Latina/o students, in 1996 the program grew further to open membership to all under-represented or underprepared students. 

The university formally institutionalized the program in the fall of 2008 with the hiring of a full-time Assistant Director of Mentoring and Academic Enrichment. 

Over the years, Ujima and the male component of the Harley E. Flack Student Mentoring program have been very successful in supporting Rowan University students from their first year to graduation.


Through mentoring relationships, academic support, and cultural enrichment activities the Dr. Harley E. Flack Student Mentoring Program will fulfill the following objectives:

  • Provide first-year students opportunities to connect with peers one-on-one and in groups.
  • Educate participants on their roles and responsibilities at the university as well as on opportunities available to them.
  • Train participants in developing clear personal and professional goals and a path toward these goals.
  • Provide participants opportunities for academic, personal and professional growth and excellence. 
  • Provide participants with opportunities to engage in service and/or service learning.
  • Provide participants with guidance in the pursuit of their degrees.
  • Train participants on being peer-mentors and on leadership
  • Offer participants leadership opportunities that are pertinent to their professional development.
  • Offer juniors and seniors career guidance and advice through mentoring relationships with university faculty and staff.
  • Challenge seniors to become aware of and develop the qualities of good leaders.