Centers and institutes are important components of the academic, research, and service mission of a college or university. They play an important role in enabling multi-disciplinary and interdisciplinary programs and are a necessary part of a college or university’s infrastructure.

Centers and institutes have the potential for strengthening disciplinary programs by providing interdisciplinary course work, offering service learning opportunities, facilitating certificate programs, supporting degree program, enabling high levels of research productivity and providing external visibility for the college or university.

Here is a list of active Centers and Institutes at HBCUs:

Center for the Study of HBCUs | Virginia Union University

The Center for the Study of HBCUs, in partnership with the Southern Education Foundation (SEF), at Virginia Union University is a national research center whose vision is to become the country’s preeminent institution for the advancement of scholarship on Black colleges in the United States an beyond.

The national research center will conduct high-quality studies, serves as a connection and convener of the HBCU scholarly community, and disseminate publications that focus on the history, mission, and management of HBCUs.

Click here for more information

Center for Social Justice | Claflin University

Claflin’s Center for Social Justice embodies a number of Claflin’s guding principles, most importantly Commitment to Valuing People. At Claflin, people are valued by providing a safe, wholesome and healthy environment that fosters mutual respect, diversity, and inclusion. The Center of Social Justice at Claflin provides a platform of its mission to lead a national movement of change.

Click here for more information

Social Justice Institute | Philander Smith College

The work and mission of Philander Smith College is deeply rooted in social justice and equity – going back to its founding nearly a century and a half ago. Reimagined and reinvented in 2017 with strategic thought partners Auburn Theological Seminary and Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation, the institute works to transform the campus, the community and the world.

The Institute seeks to embrace and catalyze work in social justice across multiple domains: education, health, environment, community, economics, politics, identity, civil, criminal, religious, racial, gender, and age.

Click here for more information

Law Center | Southern University System

The mission of the Law Center is consistent with the rich heritage of the Southern University System. The Law Center stresses legal education of high quality for qualified students from diverse backgrounds.

The Southern University Law Center is proud of the tradition established by the original School of Law – to provide quality legal education commensurate with high professional standards. The vision that compels the Law Center to seek excellence in every aspect of its program also fosters an environment that stimulates the intellectual processes and promotes professional development.

The center offers a dual degree Juris Doctor/Masters in Public Administration (JD/MD) program in cooperation with the Nelson Mandela School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs at Southern University and A&M College.

Click here for more information

The John R. Lewis Institute for Social Justice | Fisk University

The John R. Lewis Institute is a continuation of the famous Race Relations Institute (RRI), which shaped so many conversation and policies during the 60s and 70s. The social, political, and economic issues that RRI founder Fisk President Charles S. Johnson identified during the 1940s are still critical to addressing and improving the existing disparities in the African American community.

This Institute includes a master’s program in social justice, in addition to certificate programs and undergraduate projects, research and forums.

Click here for more information

Center for Racial Justice | Dillard University

The mission of Dillard University’s Center for Racial Justice (CRJ) is to bring systemic change to the way policies is done in communities of color and to promote partnerships with law enforcement including police departments and sheriff’s office, graduate, and professional schools. The Center for Racial Justice will be a reservoir for lectures, research, advocacy training, civic engagement, and political participation.

Click here for more information

John Mercer Langston Institute for African-American Political Leadership | Virginia State University

The John Mercer Langston Institute for African-American Political Leadership (JMLI) at Virginia State University was created to honor the legacy of John Mercer Langston, the first African American Congressional Representative from Virginia and first president of Virginia State University.

JMLI’s mission seeks to assess, develop, and empower African American political leadership in the Commonwealth of Virginia through innovative programming, research, and advocacy. The Institute strives to promote an increased understanding of the historical significance, unique role and challenges faced by African American political leaders. A highlight of JMLI’s programming is the development and engagement of collegiate scholars who are interested in activism and pursuing careers in political science and public administration.

Click here for more information

– Updated November 9, 2020

(BALTIMORE, MD) – Coppin State University (CSU), a historically black university, has announced the dedication of a life-size, bronze monument of Fanny Jackson Coppin, the institution’s namesake. The monument will be erected in a prominent located on the campus on October 15, 2021. The institution invites guest to be a part of this history-making event where Fanny will have a permanent and physical presence.

In 1865, Fanny Jackson was appointed to the Institute for Colored Youth (now Cheyney University of Pennsylvania), a Quaker school in Philadelphia. Within four years, she became head principal, from which position she influenced two generations of young people. In a letter to Frederick Douglass in 1876, she explained her commitment: “I feel sometimes like a person to whom in childhood was entrusted some sacred flame… This is the desire to see my race lifted out of the mire of ignorance, weakness and degradation; no longer to sit in obscure corners and devour the scraps of knowledge which his superiors flung at him. I want to see him crowned with strength and dignity; adorned with the enduring grace of intellectual attainments.”

Her school was centered on this dream. She explained the curriculum to include an Industrial Department, established a Women’s Industrial Exchange to display the mechanical and artistic works of young women, and founded a Home for Girls and Young Women to house workers from out of town. Moreover, she persuaded employers to hire her pupils in capacities that would utilize their education.

Fanny Jackson Coppin was born a slave in Washington, D.C., she gained her freedom, graduated from Oberlin College in Ohio, and founded the Philadelphia Institute that was the forerunner of Cheyney State University.

Coppin was founded in 1900 at what was then called Colored High School (later named Douglass High School) on Pennsylvania Avenue by the Baltimore City School Board who initiated a one-year training course for the preparation of African-American elementary school teachers. By 1902, the training program was expanded to a two-year Normal Department within the high school, and seven years later it was separated from the high school and given its own principal. In 1926, this facility for teacher training was named Fanny Jackson Coppin Normal School in honor of the outstanding African-American woman who was a pioneer for teacher education.

“Love wins when everything else will fail.”
-Fanny Jackson Coppin

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NC COuntDOWN TO COLLEGE

North Carolina’s annual campaign to support college access is during the month of October and is named NC Countdown to College. Activities during the month support high school seniors in completing three important college enrollment steps: residency, FAFSA, and applications. 

What is traditionally called College Application Week has been extended to two weeks this year: October 19 – 30th, 2020. During these weeks, many NC colleges and universities wave their applications fees.

If you’re an out-of-state, transfer or grad student,  some schools enjoy the opportunity to expand their fee waivers to you. However, those choices are made by the individual institutions and NC Countdown to College or the HBCU Campaign Fund does not have information on which schools might expand their waivers to other groups. Contact the specific institutions’ admissions office.

For more information, visit cfnc.org/apply-to-college/nc-countdown-to-college/.

NC Residency

North Carolina residents can qualify for in-state tuition, state grants, and certain financial aid. Those must show that they are a resident of North Carolina. Complete the residency determination below.

 

 NC RESIDENCY DETERMINATION SERVICE >

FAFSA

Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) gives you access to the largest source of financial aid to pay for college

FAFSA APPLICATION >

College applications

College Application Week is here. The HBCU Campaign Fund and its Division of College Recruitment and Scholarships would like to help students submit online applications for admissions to various NC HBCUs.

APPLICATION HUB >

Dr. Ontario Wooden, new provost and senior vice president for academic affairs at Alcorn State University

LORMAN, MS – Alcorn State University (ASU) has announced a new provost that will pave the way for student success and faculty excellence after a nationwide search.

Dr. Ontario Wooden began his tenure as the University’s provost and senior vice president for academic affairs on Tuesday, September 15. As provost, Wooden will be responsible for facilitating the effective and efficient delivery of academic and support services across the campus, which includes management and oversight of all academic schools, the registrar, research and graduate studies, 1890 Research/Extension, Library, Institutional Research, and Institutional Effectiveness and Assessment/Accreditation. Wooden will serve as a member of the President’s Executive Cabinet and reports directly to President Felecia M. Nave.

“We value Dr. Wooden’s successful experience as a higher education administrator, an accomplished teacher, and a scholar,” said President Nave. “Ontario’s keen academic vision, focus on student success and faculty excellence, commitment to access combined with his collaborative approach to leadership and shared governance elevated his candidacy among a group of over 40 truly stellar candidates for Alcorn’s provost. I am confident he will work well with the leadership team, faculty, and staff to greatly benefit our university community as we continue to advance our national and global reputation.”

Wooden comes to Alcorn after serving as associate vice chancellor for Student Success and Academic Outreach at North Carolina Central University (NCCU). In his 12-year career at NCCU, he has provided leadership in multiple positions that include associate vice chancellor for Innovative, Engaged, and Global Education, interim associate dean of the School of Education; and associate professor of Education. He was also the acting associate vice chancellor for Institutional Research, Effectiveness, and Planning, and served as dean, and associate dean of University College.

“I, along with my wife, Kimberly, and song, Liam, are honored to become a part of the Alcorn family,” said Wooden. “Every person I have spoken with speaks about the “Alcorn family.” It is not lost that I am joining a special team, a unique tradition, and a place full of caring and devoted faculty, staff, and students. I am thrilled to be a part of the oldest public historically black land-grant institution in the country. One of my research interests is college student access and success. Continuing this focus at Alcorn is exciting.”

Wooden partnered as an affiliate graduate faculty in higher education at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock for five year. Further, he served in multiple roles at Albany State University and Indiana University Bloomington (IUB). He earned a doctorate in higher education from IUB in 2004, which is where he also earned a master’s degree in the same area of study in 2002. Wooden earned a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education from Albany State University in 2000.

Despite today’s challenges, Wooden remains dedicated to ensuring Alcorn’s continued accreditation while providing the best educational opportunities for its students.

“We must continue to work diligently to ensure that we complete a new strategic plan, receive continuing from SACSCOC and other specialized accreditations, complete a comprehensive review of our academic programs to ensure our offering of leading-edge degree programs, as well as strengthen our administrative academic operations. We will also develop as a set of key performance indicators to measure our progress and success. Amid all of the new constraints that we face, we will stay focused on providing outstanding educational opportunities for our students.”

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About Alcorn State University
Alcorn State University, a Historically Black College and University, is a comprehensive land-grant institution that celebrates a rich heritage with a diverse student and faculty population. The University emphasizes intellectual development and lifelong learning through the integration of diverse pedagogies, applied and basic research, cultural and professional programs, public service and outreach, while providing access to globally competitive academic and research programs. Alcorn strives to prepare graduates to be well-rounded future leaders of higher character and to be successful in the global marketplace of the 21st century. For more information, visit www.alcorn.edu.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) announced on August 6, 2020, the award of more than $3.5 million to 11 Mississippi universities and community colleges for student support services. This award includes three historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs).

The Mississippi institutions were eligible to take advantage of an extended U.S. Department of Education application deadline offered to schools located within federal disaster areas. The Student Support Services (SSS) Program awards represent first year funding of an anticipated five-year grant program.

“The Student Support Services Program funding gives these Mississippi schools resources to help students navigate post-secondary education requirements, which will be further complicated by the coronavirus pandemic over the next few semesters,” said Hyde-Smith, who serve on the Senate appropriation subcommittee with jurisdiction over federal education programs.

“I’m grateful our universities and community colleges affected by disasters, like flooding and severe storms, were giving additional time to quality for and win these grants,” she said.

The SSS, one of eight federal TRIO Programs, works to increase the college retention and graduation rates through programs to help students meet basic college requirements. The assistance may include grant aid to current SSS participants receiving federal Pell Grants.

The Mississippi schools receiving FY2020 SSS Program grants include:

  • Alcorn State University – $392,322
  • Copiah-Lincoln Community College – $338,971
  • Hinds Community College – $329,897
  • Holmes Community College – $337,287
  • Jackson State University (two grants) – $523,776
  • Mississippi State University – $292,898
  • Mississippi Valley State University – $305,957
  • Northwest Mississippi Community College – $334,571
  • Pearl River Community College – $372,972
  • University of Southern Mississippi – $306,037

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PETERSBURG, VA – Virginia State University (VSU) has announced a new venture focused on increasing African American political leadership across the Commonwealth of Virginia. During a press conference on Tuesday, October 13, 2020, the University announced the creation of the John Mercer Langston Institute for African American Political Leadership (JMLI).

The JMLI at Virginia State University is devoted to developing, empowering, and cultivating African American leadership in the Commonwealth of Virginia through innovative training, policy collection and assistance, programming, research, and networking according to the University.

According to Dr. Wes Bellamy, Chair of the VSU Department of Political Science, “This Institute will help develop a pipeline of Black political leadership across the state and ensure that the voices of those who are often unheard will be represented. We hear loud and clear the need for change, for new voices, a thirst for understanding political structures, and people eager to make a difference. The JMLI Institute is here to do just that.”

VSU President, Dr. Makola M. Abdullah says, “As we look at the current political climate, it is imperative that clear avenues for Black political development are available. VSU has consistently worked to ensure that our students are prepared and equipped to viable assets to society in the Commonwealth and beyond. The JMLI will serve as an additional voice and pathway to make that happen.”

The JMLI will also host a formal institute to develop Black political leadership in February 2021. Registration for the institute will be available in December 2020.

John Mercer Langston was an American abolitionist, attorney, educator, activist, diplomat, and politician. He was the first president of Virginia State University and the first dean of the law school at Howard University.

For more information about the JMLI, click here.

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About Virginia State University
Virginia State University, a public, comprehensive 1890 Land Grant institution and historically black college/university, is committed to the preparation of a diverse population of men and women through the advancement of academic programs and services that integrate instruction, research, extension, and outreach. The University endeavors to meet the educational needs of students, graduating lifelong learners who are well equipped to serve their communities as informed citizens, globally competitive leaders, and highly effective, ethical professionals. For more information, visit www.vsu.edu.

CHICAGO, IL – Members of the Illinois Congressional Delegation are urging Congress support for more funding for minority-serving institutions, including Predominately Black Institutions (PBIs). In a letter written to the Congress of the United States, Illinois officials are asking for additional funding to provide much-needed emergency relief to Illinois students from economically disadvantaged neighborhoods amid the ongoing pandemic. 

“HCF appreciates and supports members of the Illinois Congressional Delegation for their sincere call to action for more funds for minority-serving institutions, especially Predominately Black Institutions (PBIs),” said Demetrius Johnson, Jr., president and CEO, Founder of HCF. “As stated in their letter to the Congress, Illinois is home to Chicago State University (CSU), the only U.S. Department of Education designated public four-year PBI. For years, CSU has invested in the African American and Minority population throughout Chicagoland and the U.S., providing educational access to economically low-income students.”

The CARES Act allotted $18 million for the Strengthening PBIs Program, of which CSU was allotted just under $150,000. Amid the pandemic, CSU provided students with housing during the Illinois Stay at Home Order and covered the cost of student devices for online coursework. Through PBIs, Such as CSU, can foster conditions for equity by supporting and educating students, primarily African-American and low-income students, to enhance economic mobility.

“Our organization stands by its founded mission, which is to support every “Black” designated institution that is vigorously in operation, including Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Predominately Black Institutions (PBIs), and Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs),” said Johnson. “We fully stand behind the members of the Illinois Congressional Delegation and CSU to urgently ask Congress to pass another measure that will give PBIs more access and the assurance that they need to provide the necessary resources and prepare for the uncertainties of the upcoming academic year.”

PBIs, as defined in the Higher Education Act of 1965, has a student population that is comprised of 50 percent of low-income individuals or first-generation students. In addition, the Higher Education Act ensures that PBIs maintain lower expenditure levels to enable the acceptance of high percentages of students within these categories.

Text of the letter to Congress from the Members of the Illinois Congressional Delegation, can be found here.

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About Chicago State University (CSU)
Chicago State University (CSU) is a pubic, comprehensive university that provides access to higher education for students of diverse backgrounds and educational needs. The University fosters the intellectual development and success of its student population through a rigorous, positive, and transformative educational experience. CSU is committed to teaching, research, service and community development including social justice, leadership and entrepreneurship.

About HBCU Campaign Fund (HCF)
The HBCU Campaign Fund (HCF) is a nonprofit advocacy educational organization that is mission to support the significance and raises funds for scholarships, initiative programming, and for private and public HBCUs and MSIs. HCF remains today as a strong advocate for students and higher education. For more information, visit www.hbcucampaignfund.org.