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White House Initiative on HBCUs visits the NC10

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  • Last week, @YDietra @WHI_HBCUs spent three days holding listening sessions with the #NC10. "I really appreciate this opportunity to hear from you," said Trent to students. #nced
  • A year ago, #NC10 was just an idea. After on-campus visits, convenings, briefs, and a lot of working groups, @JEFordNCTOY said, "Clearly they see themselves as a unit.... This demonstrates collective power and the possibilities that exist." #nced
  • The visit with the #NC10 was organized by @Hunt_Institute. @YDietra @WHI_HBCUs met with students, presidents, and chancellors; explored challenges and opportunities with the NC Legislative Black Caucus Foundation; visited @BennettCollege @NCCU. #nced

Last week, the White House Initiative on Advancing Educational Equity, Excellence, and Economic Opportunity through Historically Black Colleges and Universities arrived in North Carolina to learn more about the NC10, our state’s 10 historically Black colleges and universities.

Dr. Dietra Trent, executive director of the White House Initiative, met with students as well as presidents and chancellors, explored challenges and opportunities with the NC Legislative Black Caucus Foundation, and visited Bennett College and NC Central University. The three-day visit was organized by The Hunt Institute.

Dr. Dietra Trent, executive director of the White House Initiative on Advancing Educational Equity, Excellence, and Economic Opportunity through Historically Black Colleges and Universities visits the NC 10 in June 2022. Mebane Rash/EducationNC

“I really appreciate this opportunity to hear from you,” Trent said to students. She followed up by asking them to share with her the greatest value or lesson they learned at their HBCU that they would carry with them for the rest of life.

“Today is really a testament for how much effort the NC10 have put into forming a real collaborative,” said James Ford, executive director of CREED. “When you look at where they were last year and how much interaction they had, clearly they see themselves as a unit. Several convenings and meetings and working groups later, this demonstrates collective power and the possibilities that exist.”

What is the NC10?

The NC10 includes:

  • Shaw University in Raleigh (1865).
  • St. Augustine’s University in Raleigh (1867).
  • Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte (1867).
  • Fayetteville State University (1867).
  • Bennett College in Greensboro (1873).
  • Livingstone College in Salisbury (1879).
  • North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro (1891), the largest HBCU in the United States.
  • Elizabeth City State University (1891).
  • Winston-Salem State University (1892).
  • North Carolina Central University in Durham (1910).

While the NC10 share a common heritage, the public and private institutions are small and large, rural and urban, religious and secular, independently established and land grant.

A little more than a year ago, CREED, under Ford’s leadership — along with the Hunt InstitutemyFutureNC, and EducationNC — engaged the HBCUs individually and collectively to listen to them and assess challenges and opportunities going forward.

This report, “Fertile Ground: The Stories of North Carolina’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities,” documents the history of each of the 10 through present day.

From April to August 2021, on-site campus visits were held at all 10 HBCUs. Ten points of interest emerged: institutional assets, windows of opportunity, faculty and staff, governing structure, infrastructure, student population and experiences, evaluation and metrics, COVID-19, funding, and structural racism. Following the visits, these recommendations were issued by CREED.

This federal and state policy scan by the Hunt Institute uses data and research to highlight the success of HBCUs in enrolling and graduating students who are often left at the margin, including low-income, transfer, and students of color.

Two convenings of the NC10 were held in 2021, and ahead of a convening in 2022, a working group has been meeting monthly.

What is the White House Initiative on HBCUs?

President Joe Biden established by executive order the White House Initiative on Advancing Educational Equity, Excellence, and Economic Opportunity through Historically Black Colleges and Universities in the U.S. Department of Education on September 3, 2021.

Biden named Trent the executive director of the Initiative in February 2022 and announced appointments to the board of advisors in March 2022.

According to the website, “the Initiative is dedicated to a Government-wide policymaking effort to eliminate barriers HBCUs face in providing the highest-quality education to a growing number of students.” The work of the Initiative will be organized into three primary areas of focus:

Courtesy of the White House Initiative on HBCUs

Learn more about the HBCU Scholar Recognition Program, the National HBCU Week Conference, and the Federal Interagency Working Group.

Here is more about investments from the White House for HBCUs, and here is more information about resources for HBCUs given recent security threats.

Highlights of the listening session with the NC10

Mebane Rash

Mebane Rash is the CEO and editor-in-chief of EducationNC.