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Three Public HBCUs Form Innovative Collaboration to Forge New Career Pathways for Their Students

$1.2 Million UNCF® CPI Cluster Grant to Create an HBCU Consortium on Transformative Teaching Practices for 21st Century Career Pathways.

WASHINGTON, DC (June 12, 2018) — Morgan State University, Norfolk State University, and Tennessee State University have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to create an HBCU Consortium on Transformative Teaching Practices for 21st Century Career Pathways. This groundbreaking and purposeful inter-institutional consortium will be centered on faculty development.

These three state institutions, known as the C3 Cluster, serve approximately 20,000 students and are uniquely positioned to collaborate on work that will have a direct impact on over 1,000 faculty members among the three campuses.

“This collaboration is designed to tease out best practices across three very large public HBCUs to enable our students to be even more successful in their chosen careers,” stated Dr. David Wilson, President of Morgan State University “Collectively, we represent over 20,000 students, so the methods that we pilot on our campuses, and the resulting lessons learned, should prove quite helpful to other institutions. HBCUs rarely collaborate on innovative initiatives.  I think partnerships like this one could be the beginning of our working more closely across a number of other areas as well.

The UNCF® Career Pathways Initiative, funded by Lilly Endowment Inc. through a $50 million grant, will enable selected Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Predominately White Institutions (PWIs) to address social and economic issues of minority graduation, unemployment and underemployment.  Over the next four years, the Consortium will engage in structured activities that fostercommunity, identifies and validates new innovations, amplifies and scales best practices, and disseminates learnings.

“For more than 80 years, Norfolk State University (NSU) has served as a pathway to prosperity and upward mobility for thousands of graduates.  We are also excited to join our cluster partners in forming the HBCU Consortium on Transformative Teaching Practices for 21st Century Career Pathways because we firmly believe that best teaching practices should be standard teaching practices,” states Dr. Melvin T. Stith, Interim President of Norfolk State University.  “NSU is proud to be a UNCF C3 cluster grant recipient. We see the future in our students and provide ground-breaking academic programs and a supportive learning community to help champion student success.”

The C3 institutions have similar academic profiles of their students, are geographically located in urban areas, and have strong alumni bases.  It is projected that the outcome of the Consortium will be a model for other schools of how to grow and learn in public.

“One goal of the C3 Cluster initiative is to serve as a model for collaboration among universities committed to student success.  Historically, Tennessee State University faculty and staff have always assisted students in developing career pathways to success.  The collaboration with Morgan State and Norfolk State is the perfect synergy, given the missions of the partners and the tradition of excellence that we all value,” says Dr. Glenda B. Glover, President of Tennessee State University.  “We are happy to serve as an equitable partner in the C3 Cluster initiative and sincerely appreciate our UNCF funder in granting the funds to continue our efforts to help students succeed through innovative pedagogy.”

While primarily focused on faculty, the C3 Cluster will extend their collaborative efforts to include additional members of their university communities.  Key to its work will be creating opportunities for alumni and employer partners to provide valuable input on preparing undergraduate students for post-graduate success.

“With African Americans disproportionately unemployed or underemployed, it is imperative that colleges and universities unite in support of better employment outcomes for all graduates, not just the privileged. This grant will further help faculty provide the preparation necessary to help African American college students and graduates acquire the skills and mindset necessary for 21st Century work,” said Dr. Brian Bridges, UNCF vice president for research and member engagement.

This collaborative effort will be highlighted during the 3rd Annual CPI Convening and Data Institute, themed “Purposeful Disruption.” The convening will be held July 23-25, 2018, in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. During this year’s convening CPI Partner institutions will have an opportunity to share promising practices and ideas on how they have been able to purposefully leverage disruptions within the higher education space to improve student outcomes. Please visit uncf.org/CPI to learn more about how UNCF is promoting progress, creating change and providing value tools to HBCU faculty.

For more information, please contact the C3 Cluster at c3cluster@gmail.com.

Morgan State University

Morgan State University, founded in 1867, is a Carnegie-classified doctoral research institution offering more than 100 academic programs leading to degrees from the baccalaureate to the doctorate. As Maryland’s Preeminent Public Urban Research University, Morgan serves a multiethnic and multiracial student body and seeks to ensure that the doors of higher education are opened as wide as possible to as many as possible. For more information about Morgan State University, visit www.morgan.edu.

Norfolk State University

Norfolk State University (NSU) is a public, urban, four-year, coeducational, comprehensive university located in Norfolk, Virginia. Norfolk State University was founded in 1935. The University, brought to life in the midst of the Great Depression, provided a setting in which the youth of the region could give expression to their hopes and aspirations. The University has eight academic colleges/schools and 49 degree programs that operate on one campus and today enrolls 5,421students.  Norfolk State University is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award the associate, baccalaureate, masters and doctoral degrees. Visit www.nsu.eduto learn more information about Norfolk State University.

Tennessee State University

With more than 8,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 25 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

About UNCF

UNCF (United Negro College Fund) is the nation’s largest and most effective minority education organization. To serve youth, the community and the nation, UNCF supports students’ education and development through scholarships and other programs, strengthens its 37 member colleges and universities, and advocates for the importance of minority education and college readiness. UNCF institutions and other historically black colleges and universities are highly effective, awarding nearly 20 percent of African American baccalaureate degrees. UNCF awards more than $100 million in scholarships annually and administers more than 400 programs, including scholarship, internship and fellowship, mentoring, summer enrichment, and curriculum and faculty development programs. Today, UNCF supports more than 60,000 students at more than 1,100 colleges and universities across the country. Its logo features the UNCF torch of leadership in education and its widely recognized trademark: A mind is a terrible thing to waste®. Learn more at UNCF.org, or for continuous news and updates, follow UNCF on Twitter, @UNCF and #UNCFCPI.


Larry Jones, University PR
(443) 885-3022

Monique LeNoir, UNCF Communications

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