OPINION: USF tackles gender performance gap in fresh way

USF’s partnership with Mentor Collective is aimed at narrowing the gender gap in college performance. ORACLE PHOTO/LEDA ALVIM

USF’s Office of Student Success has partnered with Mentor Collective to initiate a mentorship program aimed at narrowing the gap between male and female college performance in 2022.

This mentorship program is a great additional resource for students, and USF should be applauded for spotting a performance gap and making the efforts to close it.  

At USF, a study found that women graduate at higher rates, and in better standing, than men. From 2014 onward it identified several gaps between genders in college performance. 

The study showed male students are 62% more likely to receive one D or F and 76% more likely to have a 2.0 or lower GPA.

In response to these findings, USF partnered with Mentor Collective to match mentee students with peer mentors to support their transition to college life. The program isn’t just academic, it also aids students in making connections on campus.

These mentors are a resource for students to find study groups and peers in their same major or focus to help academically. The current group of mentees was selected through invitations to members of summer and fall cohorts from 2020 and 2021, according to USF’s press release.

The gender gap is not special to USF.

About 74 men received a college degree for every 100 women in the U.S. in 2021, according to a study by Brooking’s Institute. Women are also 10% more likely to complete a bachelor’s degree than men in the same programs.

USF is tackling the issue where they can make a difference.

“We know there are 15 or 20 different reasons — social, biological and cultural — that help explain why men are struggling by the time they reach college,” said William Cummings, a professor of humanities and cultural studies who chairs the Status of Men Presidential Advisory Committee.

“Most of the things on that list are beyond our control and we can’t change them. We need to focus on the core result, men are not as successful because they don’t complete enough credit hours as quickly as they should. That’s where we need to direct our effort and resources.”

Whether the reasoning is within their control or not, USF has found a tangible way to assist a group of students who are falling behind, and should be lauded for their efforts.

Every student deserves a chance at a successful college experience.