Black college students at a computer.

This month’s roundup looks at a controversial hire that has everyone talking, the creation of the first-ever endowed professorship in Queer Studies at a Historically Black College or University, and several new programs that support HBCU students interested in careers in sports medicine, music and philanthropy.

May 12, 2022 — June 7, 2022

Making Moves 

A newly-hired administrator at Morehouse College sparked debate among alumni, staff and the general public. Paula Resley was appointed Chief Brand Officer and Vice President of Strategic Communications, Marketing and Admissions of the all-male institution. 

“Paula’s experience and expertise, particularly in digital engagement, will help Morehouse continue to expand its international visibility and amplify its crucial voice,” Morehouse’s president, David A. Thomas, said in a press release.

Summer seems to be the season of hiring as Dillard University selects its new president. Rochelle Ford, dean at Elon University, will become the eighth president of Dillard. 

“I wanted to make sure in my career I was able to create environments where young people had a safe place to fully experience their past and their present and their future because that’s what I was given going to an HBCU,” said Ford.

Ford will begin her new job on July 1. 

Groundbreaking Endowed Professorship

Dr. Evelynn Hammonds has been appointed the inaugural Audre Lorde Visiting Professor of Queer Studies, the first-ever endowed professorship in Queer Studies at a Historically Black College or University. Named after celebrated poet and civil rights and women’s rights activist Audre Lorde, the endowed professorship is attached to the Comparative Women’s Studies Program, housed in Spelman’s Women’s Research & Resource Center. 

“It is such a tremendous honor for me to return to Spelman College as the Audre Lorde Visiting Professor of Queer Studies,” said Dr. Hammonds. “Lorde was an extraordinary writer, activist and friend whose work changed my life. It is such a privilege to be able to carry on her work at my dear alma mater.”

New Programs to Support Student Success

The NFL and four HBCU medical schools are banding together to increase the number of medical professionals in the league. The NFL Diversity in Sports Medicine Pipeline Initiative will start with two students per team. 

From changing the game played on the gridiron to creativing game-changing success in the music business, an immersive, three-week course of study at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum could set the stage for students at Tennessee State University to become the future of Nashville's music industry. The program aims to connect TSU students to musical stars like Breland, Oladokun and Post Malone, digital and streaming brands including YouTube and Spotify, Coachella and Stagecoach festival organizer Goldenvoice, plus music groups like BMI and BMG.

Meanwhile, Virginia Union University announced the opening of a new technical center focused on the study of drones in cooperation with a Texas-based aerospace company. The Center for Technology and Innovation opens this summer.

Students at the Bowie State University College of Business can now gain unprecedented non-profit management experience in a new philanthropy fellowship program

“In 2020, Americans gave $471 billion to education, health, and other causes,” said Dr. James Hyman, assistant professor of public administration in the College of Business. “Our Fellows program will enable students to derive a better understanding of the business of philanthropy and prepare them for jobs within the sector.”

The student fellows will be mentored by a C-suite executive and required to attend monthly seminars to provide a vehicle for mutual sharing, group projects and guidance.

Money, Money, Money

The United Negro College Fund (UNCF) announced a four-year initiative to help students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities access and complete college. The new $60 million initiative, aptly named the HBCU Transformation Project, has three main objectives: to conduct deep institutional transformation work, to provide shared services that can benefit institutions and to share the lessons and best practices that can improve outcomes for all HBCUs. The UNCF is partnering with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) and the Partnership for Education Advancement to provide one-on-one success coaching services over four years for 10,000 prospective HBCU students.

“We want these institutions to be sustainable,” said Harry Williams, President of TMCF. “We want them to be here another 150 years.”

The initiative includes an inaugural group of 20 HBCUs. The goal is to impact every HBCU.

Rapper Travis Scott is impacting the lives of 100 HBCU students through his $1 million donation. The students were the recipients of the Waymon Webster Scholarship Fund, which was named after Scott’s grandfather, a longtime HBCU educator.  

Speaking of funding, Mississippi Congressman Bennie G. Thompson presented two HBCU presidents, Dr. Carmen J. Walters of Tougaloo College and Thomas K. Hudson of Jackson State University, a check for $1 million for the Reuben V. Anderson Institute for Social Justice. The funding comes from the 2021 Community Projects Special Appropriations for HBCUs.

News of Note

Howard University Hospital reached an agreement with the the D.C. Nurses Association after a 9-month-long labor dispute. The union said this new agreement advances patient care and demonstrates a commitment to easing the staffing crisis. Approximately 300 nurses staged a one-day strike in April over what they said were low pay and inadequate staffing levels. 

And UNCF is hosting a summit on HBCU Transformation next week at the Atlanta Airport Marriott Gateway. This year’s conference theme is “Delivering on the Promise of Black Higher Education.”

This news roundup focuses on the trends impacting Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) and other Minority Serving Institutions (MSI). Each month, we highlight the policy, process and programmatic changes happening nationally and among these institutions and how the colleges and universities are responding to them.

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