JACKSON, MSJackson State University (JSU) has announced today that the Margaret Walker Center, located on its campus has been awarded a $650,000 grant from the Mellon Foundation to help expand its capacity, enterprise and programming and that of the COFO Civil Rights Education Center.

“This significant investment in the Margaret Walker Center reveals that JSU and the Mellon Foundation share a common ground, and that is enhancing the lives of students and those of the surrounding communities by helping to provide opportunities and experiences that foster learning and stimulate intellectual thought,” said Thomas K. Hudson, Jackson State President. ”We appreciate the foundation’s ongoing support of the great work being done at our institution.”

The MWC landed a $450,000 grant from the Foundation in 2019, which was the springboard for the Center’s capacity building. The latest award will further bolster activities started three years ago, including the extension of the MWC Mellon Visiting Scholars; graduate assistantships; and proceeds for the 50th anniversary convening of the Phillis Wheatley Poetry Festival in November 2023.

“We are so excited that the Mellon Foundation has renewed its support of the Margaret Walker Center for another three years through the Higher Learning program. This funding has already been transformational for our work and promises an even brighter future for the Center and Jackson State,” said Robert Luckett, Ph.D., director of the Margaret Walker Center and professor of history.

The Foundation’s generosity has aided the MWC with producing an array of projects and collaborations, including the development and digitization of oral history collections, giving future generations access to information about distinct communities and cultures. The MWC has been abale to forge new partnerships with groups such as the LGBTQ Fund of Mississippi and the Invisible Histories Project, expand the Gibbs-Green 50th Commemoration Oral History Collection, and establish the Visiting Scholar and Graduate Assistant program. Soon, the COFO Center will boast its own oral history booth for recording interviews.

Funderburk, who oversees close to 1,000 interviews and the digitization of the Center’s research collection, said she was excited and humbled to hear news of the latest grant.

“Not only because it confirmed that I would be able to stay on at JSU as the Oral Historian for the Margaret Walker Center, but also because the news gave me a great sense of excitement for what we would be able to do in the next three years towards preserving Black history and stories,” said Funderburk.

Funderburk adds that the grant will allow her to collect and preserve Black oral histories and teach students both here and around the country how to conduct them in their communities.

About Jackson State University
Jackson State University, an HBCU and comprehensive urban research university, is to provide quality teaching, research and service at the baccalaureate, masters, specialist, and doctoral levels to diverse populations of students and communities using various modalities to ensure that they are technologically-advanced, ethical, global leaders who think critically and can address societal programs and compete effectively. For more information, visit www.jsums.edu.

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HUNTSVILLE, AL – Middle school and high school students can learn new technological skills this summer to design and build robots at Drake State Community and Technical College.

Some schools may not offer robotics as an extracurricular activity, but a summer camp at Drake State can give students the opportunity to develop critical thinking skills that could lead to careers in aerospace engineering, mobile app and software development and cybersecurity. Learn more about these free bootcamps below.

Meta Middle School Robotics Summer Camp
Thanks to Drake State’s 2022 Meta Community Action Grant, rising 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students will spend one week building and programming solar robots.
When: July 11 – July 14
Time: 8am – Noon
Where: Drake State (3421 Meridan St.)
Application deadline: extended to July 7

Apply to the Meta Middle School Robotics Summer Camp here: https://bit.ly/3nnuVaF.

MUREP Robotics Bootcamp for high school students
High school students can sign up for the Robotics Bootcamp through NASA’s Minority University Research and Education Project (MUREP). The bootcamp will expose students to the fundamentals of robotics and allow them to participate in a design challenge to build a basic radio-control robot chassis. There are few spots available.
When: July 9
Time: 8:30 am – 4:30 pm
Where: Drake State (3421 Meridan St.)
Apply for the MUREP Robotics Bootcamp here: https://bit.ly/3QYvVQi.

About Drake State Community & Technical College
Drake State Community & Technical College offers flexible, affordable university-transfer and technical degrees, certificates, adult and continuing education, and customized skills training to fulfill the diverse workforce needs of employers. Visit www.drakestate.edu for more information.

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SAN ANTONIO, TX – The National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development (NISOD) and Diverse: Issues In Higher Education have recognized St. Philip’s College as one of the 2022 Most Promising Places to Work in Community Colleges. This is the second time the college wins the award.

 

The annual award recognizes community and technical colleges committed to diversity through best-in-class student and staff recruitment and retention practices, inclusive learning and working environments, and meaningful community service and engagement opportunities. The national study employs a web-based survey approach to obtain information from NISOD member institutions.

“Collectively, we come to work with an attitude of being a ‘difference maker’ in the lives of our students,” said Dr. Adena Williams Loston, St. Philip’s College President. “These past 18 months gave us an opportunity to demonstrate how much we valued our workforce and their resiliency. This demonstration of caring for our employees caused us to launch our ‘We Care’ campaign. I believe this has contributed greatly to garnering us this recognition.”

Award recipients receive a specially-designed logo to promote the institution’s commitment to diversity during student and staff recruitment efforts, as well as during other times when they want to highlight their commitment to inclusiveness. The awarded colleges are also featured in Diverse’s new magazine, the only bi-weekly national publication focusing on matters of access and opportunity for all in higher education.

To learn more about the Most Promising Places to Work in Community Colleges award, visit https://www.nisod.org/mppwcc.

About St. Philip’s College
St. Philip’s College, founded in 1898, is a comprehensive public community college offering associate’s degrees and certificate, whose mission is to empower our diverse student population through educational achievement and career readiness. As a Historically Black College and Hispanic Serving Institution, St. Philip’s College is a vital facet of the community, responding to the needs of a population rich in ethnic, cultural, and socio-economic diversity. St. Philip’s College creates an equitable and inclusive environment, fostering excellence in academic and technical achievement, while expanding its commitment to diversity, opportunity and access. For more information, visit www.alamo.edu/spc/.

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INDIANAPOLIS, IN – Last Month, Martin University, Indiana’s only Predominantly Black Institution (PBI), received a $100,000 grant from the Anthem Foundation to launch a revised Community Psychology master’s program for health counselors and clinical addictions counselors. The organization and the institution are coming together to enhance the mental health and substance abuse disorder workforce to address the ongoing challenges impacting Indiana communities.

The program at Martin University will train students to counsel persons with mental health and addiction issues. The mental health/addictions counseling needs for communities of color have historically been underserved. While there are many contributors to this, one fact is that persons from communities of color preferred to be counseled by persons who look like them in a culturally relevant environment. By increasing the workforce of African American counselors, there will be more opportunities for Black clients to receive needed counseling services from someone who comes from the same culture as themselves.

People with a substance abuse disorder ofter have other mental health illnesses, the most common being depression and anxiety disorder. Studies show that more than 50% who have a serious mental illness also have substance use or abuse disorder. It is estimated that 10 percent of adults in the United States have a drug use disorder at some point in their lives. In Indiana, there were over 14,000 visits to the emergency room for substance abuse issues and 1,026 deaths due to drug misuse in 2018. It is estimated that in Marion County, there are at least 9,000 individuals with opioid use disorder and about 40,000 people who misuse opioids.

About Martin University
As Indiana’s only Predominately Black Institution of Higher Education, Martin University educates and develops diverse workforce-ready students in an inclusive, supportive and collegiate environment. For more information, visit www.martin.edu.

Partnership Gives Students Access to Graduate Degree Scholarship, Flexible Path to Career Growth

HUNTSVILLE, Ala.Drake State Community & Technical College announced a partnership with nonprofit, online Western Governors University (WGU), allowing Drake State students and employees to pursue four-year and graduate degrees in high-demand sectors critical to the Huntsville area and Alabama employers. A signing ceremony was held on Monday, May 16th on the campus of Drake State.

“Drake State and WGU provided me with an excellent education that has helped me enter my chosen profession and excel,” said Max Tunstall, Chief Nursing Officer at Athens-Limestone Hospital. “Drake State offered a structured program where the instructors provided in-person instruction and one-on-one assistance. This was helpful when learning information and skills to prepare me to enter the workforce. WGU also provided a personalized education that was flexible and allowed me to balance my career, family, and educational obligations.”

WGU will provide Drake State graduates and employees with flexible, personalized learning pathways to undergraduate and graduate programs in high-demand areas such as cybersecurity, nursing, education and business. Drake students will also be eligible to apply for a new Drake State Graduate Scholarship to aid in their WGU studies. WGU’s online programs are mentor-supported and designed to fit into busy work and home schedules, assisting in the goal of building a future-ready workforce.

Both Drake State and WGU strive to provide an affordable and accessible education,” said Dr. Kimberly K. Estep, WGU’s Southeast Regional Vice President. “We are delighted to partner with an institution that aims to better their students and graduates with opportunities to broaden their education and careers alongside WGU.”

“Partnering with WGU will create an exciting new pathway to four-year and graduate degrees for Drake State students and alumni in high-demand careers in the Huntsville area,” said Dr. Patricia G. Sims, Drake State President. “This collaboration will provide more Drake State students and alumni, like Drake-WGU alumnus Max Tunstall, with a new educational pathway to further advance their careers and increase earnings, security, and opportunity for their families. We are grateful for this new opportunity for Drake’s students and Huntsville area employees and employers.”

Drake is WGU’s first community college partner in the State of Alabama. At present, there are 1,300 WGU students in Alabama and over 1,700 graduates in the state.

For more information about the schools, visit wgu.edu and drakestate.edu.

About Western Governors University (WGU)
Established in 1997 by 19 U.S. governors, Western Governors University (WGU) is an online, nonprofit, competency-based university with career-aligned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in—IT, teaching, business, and healthcare—designed to help working professionals fit an online university education into their busy lives. WGU now serves more than 136,000 students nationwide and has more than 272,000 graduates in all 50 states. Celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, WGU is recognized as a highly effective postsecondary education model. Tuition is around $8,000 per year for most undergraduate degree programs.

WGU was recognized as a 2021 Center of Excellence in Nursing Education by the National League for Nursing. In 2021, WGU was recognized as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense (CAE-CD). WGU’s School of Information Technology was awarded a CAE designation by the National Security Agency (NSA) for its B.S. in Cybersecurity and Information Assurance program. WGU is also an Amazon Career Choice. Learn more at wgu.edu.

About Drake State Community and Technical College
Established in 1961, Drake State Community and Technical College is a historically black community college located in Huntsville, home to the fast growing, highly technical aerospace and defense industry, including the NASA Marshall Flight Center, US Army Redstone Arsenal, Cummings Research Park, and the soon-to-be relocated Federal Bureau of Investigation Headquarters. Drake State offers flexible, affordable university-transfer 2-year and technical degrees, certificates, adult and continuing education, and customized technical skills training for the skilled force needs for Alabama and Huntsville area employers.

In 2021, Drake State was awarded a multi-year $1.2 million grant from NASA’s Minority University Research and Education Project (MUREP). MUREP provides financial assistance via competitive awards to minority-serving institutions to increase the number of racial and ethnic minorities and women in science and engineering fields. In 2022, Drake partnered with North Alabama’s largest healthcare employer to create the Huntsville Hospital LPN Launch Program Powered by Drake State. The popular initiative will welcome its first Licensed Practical Nurse students this fall.

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The original campus of the historic Mississippi Industrial College that closed in 1982, located in Holly Springs, Mississippi.

HOLLY SPRINGS, MS – Rust College has announced the receipt of a large grant that will aid in the restoration of Mississippi Industrial College (MIC), an HBCU which closed in 1980s. The National Park Service recently awarded $16.2M in grants to help preserve African American civil rights history. Of the $16.2 million, Rust College has been awarded $500,000 for the restoration of the historic Carnegie Hall which sits on the campus of MIC. MIC, which is located adjacent to the campus of Rust College, closed in the 1980s and the building have since stood unoccupied and deteriorating. In 1979, a short time before the doors to MIC closed, four of the buildings – including Carnegie Hall, – were entered in the National Register of Historic Places. In 2008, Rust College assumed control of the buildings in an attempt to save them from further deterioration. Since President Taylor’s arrival in 2020, it has been her vision to restore the MIC campus back to life and make it part of the Rust College campus community.

Carnegie Hall has major architectural and social significance in the state of Mississippi. Originally funded by a donation from Andrew Carnegie, Carnegie Hall was built in 1923 and contained the largest auditorium and performance venue in Mississippi that was open to blacks and it was known as the Carnegie Auditorium. Even in its current condition, Carnegie Auditorium remains one of the best examples of Colonial Revival architecture in Holly Springs, Mississippi. An earlier stabilization project at Carnegie Hall was funded in part by a Mississippi Department of Archives and Heritage Community Heritage Grant.

Ivy R. Taylor, Rust College President

“The intertwined histories of Rust College and MIC are worthy of preservation. These recent awards, including $155,000 for a campus masterplan focused on preserving Rust College’s historic assets are welcome investments in the past and the future of these HBCUs. Our students and the entire Holly Springs community will benefit from a restored Carnegie Auditorium to showcase the area’s artistic and cultural heritage,” said President Ivy R. Taylor.

Earlier this spring, Rust College received its first congressional special project appropriation recommended by Senator Roger Wicker. This $1 million allocation was awarded to facilitate creation of the Ida B. Wells Social Justice and Interpretive Center on the MIC campus in the Booker T. Washington Hall building, which is also on the National Register of Historic Places. These efforts are both apart of President Taylor’s larger vision to restore the MIC campus which will be a $35+ million-dollar renovation with the potential to offer new and innovative academic programming to Rust College students, and to serve as a place to restore the arts and meet the needs of the Holly Springs community and surrounding area.

“The African American Civil Rights grants are critical to helping preserve and interpret a more comprehensive narrative of the people, places, and events associated with African American Civil Rights movement,” said NPS Director Chunk Sams. This years’ National Park Service grant awards will benefit 44 projects in 15 states and support the continued preservation of sites and history related to the African American struggle for equality.

President Taylor and the Rust College Board of Trustees will continue to engage stakeholders in the efforts of revitalize MIC and integrate it into the Rust College campus community. Preservation of MIC campus will provide space for students and community organizations and this $500,000 award is a critical step toward realizing this plan. Rust College is continuing to build momentum around preserving the MIC campus and is planning and outdoor celebration on the campus later this summer. This event will be open to community stakeholder, investors and historians to celebrate the momentum happening with restoring one of our historic HBCUs.

“This project is support through an African American Civil Rights grant, provided by the Historic Preservation Fund, as administrated by the National Park Service, Department of Interior.”

About Rust College
Rust College is the oldest most prestigious historically black college in Mississippi founded in 1866 by the Freedmen’s Aid Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Offering degree programs in business, education, humanities, science and mathematics, and social science, Rust College equips and inspires students for excellence and service in their communities and throughout the world. Located in Holly Springs, MS, just 35 miles southeast of Memphis, Tennessee, Rust College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award associate and baccalaureate degrees.

For more information about Rust College, call (662) 252-8000, ext. 4915 or visit www.rustcollege.edu.

About Mississippi Industrial College
Mississippi Industrial College was founded in 1905 by the Colored Methodist Episcopal Church. Bishop Elias Cottrell wanted to found a college for Negro youth which would inculcate Christian ideals, provide a practical education, and make better citizens. The first classes were held that fall. For the next 77 years the school fulfilled that mission, expanding to teacher education, the ministry, and the liberal arts. The 1960 MIC Key, shows that the overwhelming number of graduates majored in elementary education; physical education and mathematics also had high graduation numbers. In addition, MIC offered programs in auto mechanics, home economics and commercial subjects. As with many historically black colleges, MIC lost students when they were allowed to attend formerly all-white schools. Changing expectations of a new generation of black students led to greater enrollment losses at MIC. After federal funding was cut in 1981, MIC was forced to close in 1982.

About the National Park Service
More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America’s 423 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at www.nps.gov.

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BLUEFIELD, W.VA – Bluefield State College has been approved for university status. The college is the last four-year public college in West Virginia to earn the title, joining its fellow HBCU, West Virginia State University in Institute. Bluefield State has completed all of the requirements to become a university.

The West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission’s board, which oversees the four-year school, voted unanimously to approve the BSC’s request on Thursday. The next step is for the BSC Board of Governors to meet to approve the change, which will take place sometime next week.

Robin Capehart, Bluefield State College President

In December, the commission allowed Bluefield State to start offering master’s in business administration or MBA degrees, BSC’s first graduate degree program in the college’s history.

Colleges must meet several criteria to reach university status, and that includes offering at least one master’s-level degree program; having an approved mission statement that provides for the offering of graduate programs; obtaining the approval of the Higher Learning Commission to offer any master’s degree program; and, having at least two-thirds of its faculty holding a terminal degree.

According to the Bluefield Daily Telegraph, becoming a university was one of the goals of Capehart when he took over the reins in January 2019, as well as bringing back on-campus housing, with both goals accomplished and more housing coming.

Capehart said the university status means an “opportunity to step up our game” and become more of a regional school and a competitive school.

About Bluefield State College
Bluefield State College, a historically black institution, is to prepare students for diverse professions, informed citizenship, community involvement, and public service in an ever-changing global society by providing an affordable, accessible opportunity for public higher education through certificate, associate, bachelor, and master degree programs. For more information, visit www.bluefieldstate.edu.

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Drake State Community and Technical College is offering a free professional development training course for middle school and high school science teachers. For one week, teachers will earn a $500 stipend for participating in a fun-filled, educationally packed immersion into NASA inspired curriculum. Plus, the training meets professional development CEU requirements. The program will equip teachers with tools that will enable them to design and implement lesson plans that are connected to NASA’s goals and mission.

When: June 13-17
Where: Drake State, 3421 Meridan St.
Time: 8:30 am – 2 pm

“This is a wonderful opportunity for teachers to learn about industry best practices and trends in the science and engineering world,” said Dr. Marina Kinsbury, Director of Sponsored Programs. “The program will expand their knowledge in STEM education and help prepare students for careers in engineering.”

Those interested in participating can sign up online at https://form.jotform.com/221216920976155.

About Drake State Community & Technical College
Drake State Community & Technical College offers flexible, affordable university-transfer and technical degrees, certificates, adult and continuing education, and customized skills training to fulfill the diverse workforce needs of employers. Visit www.drakestate.edu for more information.

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Budget Outlines Important Investment in Students and Public Institutions

The proposed budget will support college affordability and focus on closing equity gaps in Illinois education.

CHICAGO, IL – The HBCU Campaign Fund (HCF) applaud Illinois Governor JB Pritzker’s fiscal year 2023 budget proposal that outlines significant investment in Illinois’ higher education institutions and students. Illinois four-year universities, which includes Chicago State University (CSU), Illinois’ only designated Predominantly Black Institution, would receive a 5% increase in funding for fiscal year 2023 relative to this year’s current budget. The proposal would also add an additional $1.8 million to CSU’s appropriation for the current fiscal year 2022. If approved by the General Assembly, the budget would provide critically needed resources for the University and CSU students.

Governor Pritzker’s budget also strengthens financial aid for students by, among other things, increasing funding for the Illinois Monetary Award Program (MAP) grants for low-income students by $122 million.

Governor Pritzker’s pushed the proposal for the fiscal 2022-23 budget investment early last year to provide stability for higher education institutions in Illinois, including CSU.

“Governor Pritzker’s budget recognizes the unparalleled value of higher education to the Illinois’ economy,” said Zaldwaynaka Scott, Esq., President of Chicago State University. “Our data shows that each year CSU adds $1.6 billion to the Illinois economy and a strong return-on-investment for our students. As the University remains laser focused on equitable education and workforce development, this investment will allow CSU to further strengthen its economic impact as well as our student success.”

“I would like to express sincere gratitude to Governor Pritzker for his continuous attentiveness of how much a crucial impact and value that higher education has on the state of Illinois and its economy,” said Demetrius Johnson, Jr., Founder, President & CEO of HBCU Campaign Fund. “Chicago State University is a necessary jewel to the Black community of Chicago, and we must not neglect how much economic support and return of investment CSU nourished for its students and the state of Illinois. CSU continues to focus on providing equitable education and workforce development that allows CSU to supply to underserving and low-income students. I dearly commend President Zaldwaynaka Scott on her outstanding leadership, and we thank the Governor for his continued investment in a brighter future for the students in Illinois.”

Last year, CSU released its inaugural Economic Impact Study, conducted by economists, that demonstrated the institution is driving force in the Illinois economy by adding $1.6 billion in income to the Illinois economy, supporting 17,525 jobs, and providing a strong return on investment for students and Illinois taxpayers.

HCF President Johnson stated that the organization is elated to continue to play the role as a strong advocate and supporter of Chicago State University.

Click here to view Governor Pritzker’s Budget Fiscal Year 2023.

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PINE BLUFF, AR – The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB) Office of Recruitment is preparing to host it annual Lion Fever day on Friday, April 1, 2022, from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m.

Lion Fever Day is UAPB’s biggest high school preview days, and is designed to allow high school juniors and seniors an opportunity to see various parts of UAPB campus life and experience speaking with college advisors personally in an effort to gain details about his or her desired area of major. Activities will include a college fair, campus tour, a chance to hear the university’s marching band and view performances form select Greek organizations.

Interest students or school groups that would like to participate must RSVP by clicking here. The event is free and open to the public.

For more information about Lion Fever Day, contact UAPB’s Office of Recruitment at (870) 575-8963.

About the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff
The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff is a public comprehensive HBCU 1890 Land-Grant Institution. The University embraces its land-grant mission of providing cutting edge research, teaching, outreach, and service programs that respond to the social and economic needs of the state and region. Its mission is to promote and sustain excellent academic programs that integrate quality instruction, research, and student learning experiences responsive to the needs of a racially, culturally, and economically diverse student population. Ultimately, the University is dedicated to providing access and opportunity to academically deserving students and producing graduates who are equipped to excel through their contributions and leadership in a 21st century national and global community. For more information, visit www.uapb.edu.