All Articles Tagged "HBCU"
Purely coincidental (maybe it has something to do with all the graduations happening), but we’ve done a lot this week about college education and HBCUs. But here’s an interesting angle: more white students are enrolling at black colleges. Is this something you’re noticing?
According to The Root (by way of The Washington Post), “As more African-American students attend majority white institutions, there are more available slots open at HBCUs for non-black students and more possibilities for diversity on the campuses.”
A couple of Howard University students interviewed for the article (black students) express reservations about more white students going to HBCUs, while a white student interviewed said she thoroughly enjoyed being “unique” and felt like she learned a lot. One white freshman notes, however, “I would only suggest it to another white person if I knew they had a strong self-esteem and were outgoing enough to make friends easily. Being the minority is something ‘white people’ are not used to.”
The article notes that there are rules about encouraging diversity at HBCUs so that they can continue receiving certain funding. So, for example, at Howard, five percent of the student body is white, and at Delaware State University, it’s 13 percent.
So what do you think about more diversity at HBCUs? Are you OK with more white people at black colleges?
Dr. Dre ruffled some feathers recently when he joined forces with Jimmy Iovine in donating $70 million to the University of Southern California to create the Jimmy Iovine and Andre Young Academy for Arts, Technology and the Business of Innovation. Some feel that Dr. Dre’s portion, $35 million, would be better used at a Historically Black College or University.
Walter M. Kimbrough, the president of Dillard University, expressed his disappointment in Dre’s decision via an op-ed piece published in the LA Times. “…What if Dre had given $35 million—his half of the USC gift and about 10% of his wealth, according to a Forbes estimate—to an institution that enrolls the very people who supported his career from the beginning?
What’s your opinion on the matter? When celebrities give, are they responsible for giving back to the Black community first before giving to others?
Read more at Essence.com
I don’t think anyone can deny the resources and connections you can gain from attending an Ivy League university. Currently, most of the notable figures in business, politics, and finance have an Ivy League background, including our President and First Lady. Most MBA students at the Ivies have their choice of employers, since some of the most prominent firms recruit exclusively at these universities.
Then after landing a job, an Ivy Leaguer can maneuver easily through the business world since he has a network of post-graduate school mates just like himself that are gaining influence in their new-found environments. He also can reach out to graduates from many years past if he needs a favor. Fellow alums are usually willing to oblige solely based on the alma mater they share.
However, one of the attributes that makes this group of schools so exclusive, is that only a chosen few can be admitted. In fact, each year admissions to these schools get tighter and tighter. Harvard is the most stringent, accepting only 5.8 percent of its over 33,531 applicants. Here’s what Rachel Toor, an author, college-admissions counselor and former Duke University admissions officer had to say about the Ivy League acceptance situation: “More people are applying for the same small number of elite colleges than there ever have been. There are a gazillion applications for every spot….Everyone wants to keep their admit rate low because that makes you more selective, which gives you a higher place on the college rankings. People in admissions say they don’t pay attention to rankings, but of course they do.”
So although it’s not impossible to get into these universities, if you’re an average or even above average student you will find it very challenging without any “special” admissions assistance. Wouldn’t it be great if there were a university where you could get some of the same benefits, for about half the cost, and actually have a good chance of being admitted? Well, I’d recommend Howard University. In my opinion, it’s one of the most underrated business schools in the United States, based on the opportunities the school offers. As a graduate from Howard’s business program I cannot deny that I’m biased. However, I’ve had years to examine and scrutinize its benefits as well as its shortcomings.
Type HBCUs in a Google search box and the search engine quickly suggests items asking if the institutions are “still relevant,” “racist,” or “good.” The assertion that colleges and universities created to combat racism and educate Blacks when other institutions denied them entry are now racist is more than a little ridiculous. The judgment of whether they are good or not depends on what you value. These institutions don’t have the same amount of resources as behemoth state universities or Ivy League institutions, but they still manage to produce the likes of Spike Lee and Oprah Winfrey.
Are they relevant? HBCUs represent three percent of colleges in the United States and are responsible for 21.5 percent of the bachelor’s degrees awarded to Black professionals. This small slice of the higher education pie churns out 60 percent of all engineering degrees earned by Black students, educates half of the country’s Black teachers, and produces 40 percent of all Black health professionals.
HBCUs are certainly something special. I asked graduates of these historic institutions to help me identify exactly what that certain something is. Here’s what they had to say.
There’s a major college competition heating up. Morgan State is set to defend its title at the Honda Campus All-Star Challenge (HCASC). It is an intense academic competition for students from Historically Black College and Universities (HBCUs). The National Championship Tournament (NCT) will take place April 7 and 8 on the campus of American Honda Motor Co, Inc., a culmination of the year-long program.
More than 250 students from 18 states represent 48 HBCUs. They have spent many months training for their chance at the National Championship by participating in pre-NCT matches.
The students participate for the opportunity to win a share of the more than $300,000 in institutional grants awarded annually by Honda. According to a press release, the two-day competition tests students’ knowledge of history, science, literature, religion, the arts, social science, and popular culture.
Here’s how it works: The competitors will be split into eight divisions and will compete in a modified round-robin format. The top two teams from each division will advance to the “Sweet 16” and will compete in a single elimination playoff. The final two teams that emerge from the playoffs will battle for the title of National Champions and the grand prize of $50,000. The grand prize, along with the other institutional grants, will support academic activities at the participating HBCUs.
The competition has been going on for 24 years, awarding more than $7 million in grants. HCASC is one of Honda’s largest and longest running philanthropic initiatives in the United States.
Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) weekend brings in a lot of festivities and cash flow to North Carolina but what is it doing for black businesses? That’s what one journalist from the Charlotte Observer insists on knowing.
Established in 1912, CIAA is the oldest African American athletic conference in the nation. Each year, athletes from a list of Division II historically black colleges and universities on the East coast gather in the name of competition.
But let’s get to the real reasons why many people attend CIAA weekend… the parties. To describe it, CIAA is to Charlotte what the Essence Festival is to New Orleans. Or if you haven’t been to the Essence Festival, it’s like what Howard homecoming is to Washington DC. And if you haven’t been to Howard’s homecoming weekend, I’m wondering how you’re getting Internet service under that rock you’ve been living under! (Go Bisons!!)
Charlotte’s CIAA weekend attracts almost 200,000 black patrons looking for a good time and places to spend their money. But other than a few parties during the day and even more parties at night, there is little invested in black businesses. Many of the parties take place at upscale hotels uptown.
When columnist Glenn Burkins asked Mike Butts executive director of Visit Charlotte, the sales and marketing arm of Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority, how CIAA was benefiting Charlotte’s black businesses, Butts replied that the subject has never come up during any of meetings he has attended.
This is disappointing since the tournament pumps tens of millions of dollars into the local economy and there is no focus to get these dollars into the hands of black business owners with so many HBCU grads and black initiative supporters in town at the same time.
It appears that the Visit Charlotte advisory board and the CIAA Committee have missed the mark. CIAA has been hosted in Charlotte since 2005 and many black business owners, according to the Observer, have seen little to any direct benefits, while they struggle to attract clientele and connect with other businesses.
With the CIAA host city contract up for bid after 2014, hopefully light will be shown on this issue during the negotiations and lead to more engagement of black businesses in the future. This weekend, I for one will do my part at CIAA to patronize as many black businesses as I can and attend several African-American-promoted festivities — all in the name of research.
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This Monday, several Maryland Historically Black Colleges and University (HBCU) students and supporters bused into the Maryland State Capitol Building and demanded more funding from the state. Seven buses arrived with students from Bowie State, Coppin State, Morgan State University, and Maryland Eastern shore and students rallied on the front lawn and listened to leaders speaking on behalf of the institutions.
The rally was part of a continued effort to get results from the lawsuit filed in 2006, which claimed that Maryland has inequitable policies and practices that promote white public institutions and marginalizes HBCUs. Maryland HBCUs have collectively asked the state for $2.1 billion in funding. According to DiverseEducation.com these funds would go towards enhancing the infrastructure, increasing “high-demand” education programs, and allowing a “critical mass” of talent into these institutions.
Closing arguments were heard in October and there has yet to be a ruling on the issue. HBCU presidents in attendance said that lagging financial support has resulted in low graduation rates, inadequate programs, heavy reliance on adjunct professors and suffering academic programs.
The Legislative Black Caucus of MD also made mention that this was not only a financial issue, but presented issues of social and political injustice.
Tylar Brock, president of the student government association at Bowie State, succinctly reiterated the need for change, “We have been called upon to fight not only for the resources and support of financial aid, but also to increase our graduation and retention rates. Additionally, we need funding to allow our first-time students who have joined the BSU academy and give them an opportunity to walk across that stage.”
As an HBCU graduate, the topic of funding is always at the forefront of black schools. And having also attended a non-HBCU school I am quite aware of how funding can provide a variety of opportunities and resources not seen in many black colleges. However, there are SO many benefits that can make attending HBCUs worthwhile. Hopefully these Maryland schools are successful with the courts in their pursuit of more funding.
Colleges and universities are standalone institutions. When you graduate, your diploma says you went to one particular school. But colleges also tend to fall into categories that group them into a special place in higher education. For example, the party schools. The liberal arts schools. The Ivy League. The colleges with great sports programs.
And the HBCUs.
Last week, we tweeted this NPR interview between John Silvanus Wilson, the new president of Morehouse, and “Tell Me More” host Michel Martin. The interview covered a wide range of topics — from the financial struggles that HBCUs face to the low level of alumni giving to the need for operational improvement at black colleges where the financial aid office gets the most criticism from alums.
But the big question is this: Do we still need HBCUs?
A former executive director for an Obama initiative on historically black colleges and universities, Wilson said this about the continued need for these institutions: “They continue to serve a special function. We have a better time graduating students. It is a more nurturing environment, in some cases.”
But, he said, “It is because, as many people are recognizing across higher education, black and white, the value proposition and the financial model, particularly for liberal arts institutions – they are under a lot of stress.”
HBCUs at one point provided an opportunity for African Americans to go to college when other schools wouldn’t allow it. Now that the options are broad, students still choose the HBCUs for the unique experience they offer.
But, according to Wilson, HBCUs haven’t done, what women’s colleges have done. Women’s colleges, at one point,offered opportunity to a group that wouldn’t otherwise have had a chance at a college education. But today women’s colleges are thriving where HBCUs struggle.
“So you see Wellesley and Smith and Mount Holyoke doing major capital campaigns, just like … the more sophisticated institutions in higher education,” said Wilson. “You have to remain sophisticated, and you have to remain up-to-date with the current definition of institutional strength in higher education. That has not happened to the same degree with HBCUs, and I would say that with the all-male institutions we lag in that respect as well.”
According to one reader, Tiarra Currie, who talked with us on Twitter about this topic, she chose Syracuse and Columbia’s Teacher’s College, in part, because what she heard from HBCU alumni convinced her it wasn’t the right environment for her.
“When I hear tales from HBCU students, the most common commentary is unorganized, lack of financial aid, and homecoming,” she told us in an email.
As a women’s college grad, my personal experience was one that was, to use Wilson’s word, current. The roles and needs of women have evolved, both individually and in society. Women’s colleges, in my experience, have tried and — in many ways — succeeded in keeping up with that.
If you went to an HBCU, I’d be curious to hear if you think black colleges have done a good job of keeping up with their evolving student body.
But by no means, does that imply that women’s colleges, or any college, for that matter, has it figured out completely. The New York Times reported just a few days ago that colleges and higher education associations are making it a “priority” to better meet the needs of a student population that’s a little older and more interested in part-time coursework, online classes, and other untraditional options. By taking these steps, they hope that graduation rates will rise.
Moreover, the job market is making a college education seem extraneous. New Labor Department research shows that nearly half — 48 percent — of people with a four-year degree are doing a job that doesn’t require one. However, The Christian Science Monitor points out that people who have a college degree make more money.
“At the same time, the story of economic progress is one of continuous development of new tools and the skills to use them – and good jobs will flow to nations that can keep pushing further down this path,” writes the article.
So the issue isn’t whether we need higher education. It’s whether that education is meeting modern needs. Which has less to do with HBCUs or women’s colleges or party schools. It’s a transformation that all schools of every stripe have to make to meet the challenges of the modern world.
From Black Voices
Think HBCU alumni, and a familiar refrain of names usually comes to mind — Morehouse’s Spike Lee, Howard’s Debbie Allen, Tuskegee’s Tom Joyner. They headline a historic list of artists, athletes, politicians and community servants that have shaped American culture, and defined the black American experience.
While historic and lengthy, the lineage of black college alumni also plays a distinct role in shaping today’s negative-trending narrative on these institutions. The best graduates, like their relevance, are things of the past.
But Black colleges continue to produce exceptional talent across a wide-range of industries and professions. Here’s a primer on HBCU alumni you need to watch out for in 2013 –- and those esteemed HBCU alumni whose careers they most closely resemble.
Read the rest at Black Voices
Alum Keshia Knight Pulliam may have just added $1 million to Spelman’s coffers with her fundraising efforts, but the school is still concerned with how it’s budgeting and spending its money.
Last week, the school announced that it would be cutting the funding for its intercollegiate sports program, instead investing that money in wellness programs. The sports program, Spelman President Beverly Daniel Tatum, told The Root, only benefits 80 students, where the wellness program will reach 2,100. Of the 80 negatively-affected students, 20 have graduated and 20 will graduate in 2013. The sports program for those 80 students was costing $1 million.
“The wellness program is a free resource for students created more than three years ago, where students can meet privately with the wellness coordinator, set up a personal fitness program and take classes,” the website reports.
For many students, participating on a sports team is a big part of the college experience. For others, it’s makes the college experience possible, providing scholarships and other support.
But Spelman is looking at this through a different lens. The school is renovating its decades-old gym to accommodate more students, revamping its physical education program, and reconsidering its cafeteria menus. President Tatum points out the high rates of obesity and hypertension among African Americans in her comments to The Root. The article cites Health and Human Services stats showing that “four out of five African-American women are overweight or obese.”
On the flip side, of course, are the benefits of offering women sporting opportunities. This year, we commemorate the 40th anniversary of Title IX, a set of education amendments signed into law by President Richard Nixon that allowed for a number of gender-equalizing policies. A writer for Wired, Kay Moore, attended the espnW Summit recently, where Title IX was celebrated. Among the things that the amendments allow for are more sports programs for women. (Also included: a written rule forbidding discrimination against young women who are or were pregnant, among other things.) The benefits to girls and women are myriad.
“According to testimony before Congress, for girls who engage in sport, 50% are less likely to suffer depression and breast cancer, 80% are less likely to have a drug problem, and 92% are less likely to have an unwanted pregnancy,” Wired says.
In other words, the government has supported female athletics for four decades and its benefits have been touted. Title IX, and its funding, also became an election issue, with the GOP making it one more proposed cut during an imaginary Romney/Ryan administration.
But Spelman, in a move that addresses the specific problems facing its student body and the black community, has decided that health is the critical issue that its budget must tackle. What better way to spend a ton of cash that to set loose upon American society 2,100 educated black women to tell their mothers, sisters, aunts, friends and children that they need to think about health and wellness on a daily basis? To share the health lessons they learned in college with others?
“This is nothing less than the wholesale re-imagining of the place of fitness in our society,” says Gawker. “What Spelman is doing is acknowledging that fitness is not a competition… It is not too much to ask that every college graduate in America leave school with the knowledge of how to do basic exercises properly, how to design a basic personal fitness plan, and how to avoid eating themselves into an early grave.” Word.
While it would be nice to have both the sports and the wellness program, if you have to choose one, it should be the one that provides the greatest good for the greatest number. In this case, the benefits of Spelman’s program go beyond its gates, touching all those that will come in contact with the empowered, fit and healthy women that pass through its enhanced wellness program.