HCC's efforts, gains
Altieri noted that the number of certificates awarded to black students has dramatically increased.
At HCC, the number of certificates awarded to black students went from zero in 1995 to 22 in 2005.
Keller said certificates are treated as formal awards and can be included in a college's graduation statistics.
In 2002, HCC launched a campaign to increase the number of certificate programs available at the school, Altieri said.
Still, most two-year graduates hoping to transfer to a four-year school are required to have an associate degree.
Roy Coles, a black freshman at HCC, is pursuing an associate degree in business. He said he hopes to transfer to a four-year school.
"All my teachers help me," said Coles, 20, of Hagerstown.
Coles said he came to HCC from Virginia to run track.
"Most of the African-Americans, minorities, I see are athletes," he said.
Enrollment of black students at HCC increased by 40 percent between 1995 and 2004, from 169 students to 237, according to MHEC data. The state average for black enrollment increase was 37 percent during that same time period.
Altieri said the college has stepped up efforts to recruit minority students and has hired a part-time minority recruiter.
The MHEC's report commended HCC's ESSENCE and GEAR UP programs for having minority participation rates that were equal to or greater than that of the region's general population.
ESSENCE (Early Support for Students to Enter College Education) allows high school students to take college courses for credit. GEAR UP is another program aimed at encouraging high school students to pursue higher education.
The college's Multicultural Committee, made up of faculty, students and administrators, has spent the past two school years examining diversity issues on campus, according to documents obtained by The Herald-Mail.
The committee was formed to plan the school's annual Martin Luther King Jr. celebration, but has begun exploring broader diversity issues over the past year, according to the committee's minutes.
In December, the committee issued a report to HCC's Board of Trustees recommending that it work with department heads to increase minority enrollment and improve faculty diversity.
Altieri said the report was treated as an informational item and said the board would consider the report as the college develops its 2007 budget and annual institutional plan.