Faculty conversations: Austin Jackson
As the director of the My Brother's Keeper program, Austin Jackson facilitates connections between students in the Residential College in the Arts and Humanities and at-risk black males in Detroit.
The My Brother's Keeper Program was established in 1990 by retired English professor Geneva Smitherman in response to the outcry from parents about the state of black males in that time period.
"With the crack cocaine epidemic and the economic recession, many black male students were falling through the cracks," Jackson, assistant professor in RCAH, said.
The My Brother's Keeper program instead provides an alternative. It is an early intervention initiative focused on at-risk black males in Detroit Public Schools, by providing these students with college-aged mentors. The program has been with RCAH since 2008 and has serviced about 20 Detroit students per semester.
Jackson teaches several classes including one on civic engagement that is associated with the My Brother's Keeper program.
Jackson also was offered a book contract through MSU Press. With co-authors and fellow professors Curtis Stokes and Rita Edoze, he will write about Malcom X, who is from Lansing, and how his life and legacy in the state of Michigan are not particularly well known.
"What I enjoy about my work at MSU, and in particular the Residential College in the Arts and Humanities, is that we take seriously the idea of connectivity and inclusiveness," Jackson said. "We recognize that learning just doesn't start and stop in the classroom."