Monday, March 30, 2015

HBCU vs. PWI (Predominantly White Institutions)

HBCU vs. PWI debate misses the real point of higher education

When Olivia Sedwick made the financially-conscious choice to attend a historically black college over Baylor, Marquette, Xavier and Purdue, her decision surprised some she knew.

Olivia Sedwick speaks at the Chancellor's Champagne Brunch at 
Olivia Sedwick speaks at the Chancellor’s Champagne Brunch at Winston-Salem University.
But when Sedwick crept into her first class at Winston-Salem State University to find a black male professor helicoptering over students and spitting wisdom as fast as rapper DMX, she knew she had made the right decision.

“I fell in love with the school,” she says. “We talked about things that I had never had the chance to before coming from a predominantly white high school.”

For Olivia, attending a historically black college meant that she was finally able to explore her identity as a black woman and the sense of double consciousness that comes with it.

The experience has been life-changing.

So, when Black Twitter erupted into a caustic debate about predominantly white institutions (PWI) — schools of higher learning in which whites account for at least 50% enrollment — and historically black colleges and universities (HBCU) — post-secondary schools that were established and accredited before 1964 and whose principal mission was and is the education of African-Americans — Sedwick was unnerved.

She says the perceived academic inferiority of HBCUs in comparison to PWIs bothered her most.

Devin Sangster, a senior at Tennessee State University, agrees.

“I feel that my hard work and dedication to my academics is discredited by the assumption that my education is inferior to those that attend a PWI. It bothers me that this debate happens within our own community at all, because we fail to see the bigger picture,” Sangster says.

The bigger picture, he says, is the overall advancement of African-Americans.

I think people only discredit HBCUs because of how people view blackness. So, when you speak of black institutions, people kind of turn their nose up. People automatically elevate PWIs because they’re white colleges and there’s this idea that a majority-white school is quality

While HBCUs constitute just 3% of the nation’s institutions of higher learning, they graduate nearly 20% of black students who earn undergraduate degrees. And more than 50% of African American professionals and public school teachers matriculate from HBCUs.

In addition, approximately 20% of black students earn science and engineering bachelor’s degrees at HBCUs according to the National Science Foundation.

The report also highlights HBCUs as “important baccalaureate-origin institutions of future black science and engineering doctorate recipients, especially outside the social sciences.”

Still, the stigma that HBCUs are less rigorous and garner fewer post-graduate job opportunities persists. But why?

Nakia Williams, a senior at Indiana University-Bloomington, says that the recalibration of whiteness as the standard for success plays a profound role.

Nakia Williams, Ebony Holmes, Shayla Hill 
Nakia Williams, Ebony Holmes, Shayla Hill at Indiana University Bloomington.
“I think people only discredit HBCUs because of how people view blackness. So, when you speak of black institutions, people kind of turn their nose up. People automatically elevate PWIs because they’re white colleges and there’s this idea that a majority-white school is quality,” Williams says.

Williams, however, argues that institutions should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

In response to the question of why African-American students decide not to attend a HBCU, some PWI students point to name recognition — as well as the deficit of resources at such schools.

“I feel like you can pretty much go to every HBCU campus and you can say ‘UNC Chapel Hill,’ ‘Duke’ or ‘Yale’ and they’ll know exactly what you’re talking about,” says Joey Blake, a senior at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

“However — and I’ve definitely ran across this at UNC — talk to white students about different HBCUs and they won’t have any idea what you’re talking about. I feel like being on a PWI campus, as a black student, you kind of have that mindset ingrained to some degree. I think it does affect your perception of HBCUs from then on,” he says.

“If the endowments of all 105 HBCUs were added up, they’d still amount to less than 10% of Harvard University’s endowment, which at upward of $30 billion is the wealthiest of any college in the world.”

Beyond branding, UNC senior Matthew Taylor thinks additional hardships faced by HBCUs, including institutionalized racism, which manifests in things such as discriminatory public funding and a dearth of white benefactors, come into play.

“These systemic barriers have hindered HBCUs. General wealth is something that they just haven’t had,” Taylor says.

In an unsettling illustration of Taylor’s point, Essence published an article citing the gross imbalance in endowments between HBCUs and PWIs:

“If the endowments of all 105 HBCUs were added up, they’d still amount to less than 10% of Harvard University’s endowment, which at upward of $30 billion is the wealthiest of any college in the world.”

What HBCUs lack in economic resources, however, they often make up for in strong faculty support.

Theophilus Woodley, Dustin Pickett, David Butler at 
Theophilus Woodley, Dustin Pickett, David Butler at Winston-Salem University graduation.
Dustin Pickett, a Winston-Salem State University alumnus and first-year graduate student at Duke University, said that the administrative culture was definitely more supportive at his HBCU than his PWI.

“At Duke, there’s this presumption that, if you’re there, then you should be able to figure things out on your own. Whereas, at Winston — I mean, most people came from the same high schools as these kids, I myself came from an IB school — but I was still given that care, I was still given that special attention that I needed, there was still that family culture.”

Khyran Shank, a senior who transferred from North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University to the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, agrees that it’s easier to make connections with professors on HBCU campuses.

“It’s definitely a more loving environment. At an HBCU, you get a great connection with your professors,” Shank says.

Shank and Pickett also agreed that there is a general sense of affinity between black students at HBCUs that is not necessarily as prominent on PWI campuses.

So, what made these men both go on to PWIs?

They say they wanted to be well-rounded.

Both institutions offer something different for students. In the same way that attending a PWI does not negate a students’ blackness, attending an HBCU does not negate his or her future potential.

“Whether you go to an HBCU or whether you go to a PWI, as long as you’re making it, as long as you’re going out and making an impact in your community, I don’t think it really matters,” Pickett says.

“I think we need to get to a point where we can move past the conversation of which is better and know that we’re all just trying to better ourselves.”

Jaleesa Jones is a senior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Your typical underachiever, Jaleesa is working towards a degree in communication studies with a concentration in media studies and production as well as minors in journalism and screenwriting. She is the current President and Campus Correspondent for Her Campus UNC, a branch of, the number one online community for college women. She is also an arts reporter for the Daily Tar Heel and a member of the Carolina Association of Future Magazine Editors. In her spare time, she enjoys listening to spoken word poetry, binge-watching Law & Order: SVU and debating everything from respectability politics to celebrity news. You can follow her random outbursts on Twitter @newLEESonlife.
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Friday, March 27, 2015

HBCU enrollment discouraged at Charter School

Mitchell: Mom says charter school discouraged son's choice of historically black college

Posted: 03/25/2015, 07:36pm | Mary Mitchell

Recently, historically black colleges and universities got a much-needed lift from an unlikely source.

“Empire” star Taraji P. Henson revealed in a magazine interview that she decided to send her 20-year-old son to Howard University after police at the University of Southern California racially profiled him.


In response to the allegations, the chief of security for USC issued a statement saying “he was deeply disturbed” that Henson’s son felt “profiled because of his race,” the Associated Press reported.

After several violent incidents involving white police officers and young black males, it isn’t surprising that the racial tension has made its way to college campuses.

Last week, Virginia Department of Alcohol Control officers slammed Chicagoan Martese Johnson, a black University of Virginia honor student, face down on the pavement after he was turned away from a bar.

Such incidents are likely to cause some students to give HBCU a second look.

That’s why Maiesha Rose, the mother of a senior at Chicago Bulls College Prep, is appalled by the way her son was treated after he decided he wanted to attend an HBCU.

“I am a graduate of an HBCU, and my son was told that he could not apply to an HBCU until he applied to other schools,” said Rose, a City of Chicago employee.

“When I asked why, the initial response was HBCUs don’t give enough money,” she said.

Chicago Bulls College Prep, a Noble Network Charter School, opened on the West Side in 2009.

Constance Brewer, chief external affairs officer for Noble, said staff members do not make judgments based on whether a college is an HBCU, private, public or religious institution.

“We use data to help parents make choices, but it is up to the parents in consultation with their child to choose which path is right for them,” she said.

Brewer claims that out of 572 African-American seniors attending Noble schools, 40 percent have applied to at least one HBCU.

Students are expected to apply at “match” schools — schools that match the student’s GPA and ACT scores; a “safety” school — one that the student will definitely get in; and a “reach” school — a school that is just above the student’s stats.

Rose said no HBCU was listed in any category, and she had a difficult time getting an official transcript so her son could apply to an HBCU on his own.

“They kept giving me the runaround. I had to go up there and almost threaten them to get a transcript,” she said.

According to Rose, her son was repeatedly told an HBCU would not be a “good fit.”

After Rose made arrangements for her son to attend Langston University in Oklahoma, her alma mater, he was accepted at Morehouse in Atlanta.

“I think it is a bad policy. The students should have the freedom to apply wherever they want to apply if the parents and students make a choice to attend a certain school,” Rose said.

In recent years, the 105 historically black colleges have actively recruited non-black students because of a drop in enrollment.

The shift means more HBCUs are serving a diverse student population, something that could bring greater resources to these cash-strapped schools.

If Chicago Bulls College Prep officials aren’t including HBCUs as real options, they’re short-changing these students.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

The Butterfly Effect & Coaching

 “March Madness Musing”
March 19, 2015
By Brian S. Yeldell

               On a recent Sunday morning, I happened to be watching Sportscenter, not an unusual activity for me on any morning. Remember, I generally watch news and sports, news and sports. One of the stories that grabbed my attention was when I saw that Tommy Amaker had coached his team to their fourth Ivy League championship and were going to be playing in the NCAA tournament. Then I saw that Bobby Hurley's Buffalo team was going to the NCAA tournament, as well. They, along with several others, Johnny Dawkins (Stanford) and Chris Collins (Northwestern) and Quinn Snyder (formerly of Missouri and currently of the Milwaukee Bucks) are graduates of the Duke University basketball program coached by Mike Krzysewski, better known as Coach K. The day before I had seen a video about a concept called "The Butterfly Effect" which states that all actions that are committed have an effect on other things, both distant and up close. While a bit different, it reminded of the theory of motion, which states that an object in motion will stay in motion unless acted upon by an unbalanced force. Well, in thinking about Coach K, I thought about the guys that he was able to have an effect on under his tutelage, thus the concept of The Butterfly Effect and Coaching.

               On the particular day that I was shown a video of the Butterfly Effect, my head was in another place. It's a good thing that I am curious and a seeker of knowledge. This is relevant because I was not always that way. I wasted SO MUCH time as a younger person as a not so serious student that, as I have gotten older, it has given me an incredible thirst for good stuff - data, facts, tidbits of information and knowledge - wherever I can find it. Watching the video about the butterfly effect went a long way in satisfying that thirst. To give a synopsis, even though I have enclosed the video, the gentleman, Andy Andrews said, technically, that The Butterfly Effect is The Law Of Sensitive Dependence Upon Initial Conditions. Less technically, he said that a butterfly can flap his wings and a hurricane can be started thousands of miles away by that same butterfly flapping his wings. His video was also a great history lesson about how George Washington Carver developed his interest in farming and may have contributed to a scientific and agricultural discovery that saved, literally, billions of people.

               While he gave a great example and I got the concept, my curiosity caused me to do a bit more digging about this Butterfly Effect and how it relates to various things. And, as mentioned, when I thought about how an inordinate amount of coaches, administrators and basketball people got their start from attending Duke and playing in their program, I saw a connection. As the video spells out, you never know where something started and while I attribute the careers of Johnny Dawkins, Tommy Amaker, and Bobby Hurley and even Mike Brey of Notre Dame, who coached under Coach K, it might have been Bobby Knight who gave Krzysewski his start or was it the guy who gave Knight his start? Or, was it Mike Krzysewski’s high school coach who started it all. We never know, but we can look at the tree and go back and try to see exactly who flapped their wings first.

               Many people who are sports lovers like me have seen the situation where there are many coaches that have learned their craft from one of the greats. For instance, Bill Belichick has turned out to be one of the best coaches of all-time. However, he learned much of his craft from Bill Parcels. But, Parcels learned from Ray Perkins. There is another great example of coaches flapping their wings or in the parlance of coaching, “the coaching trees.” Bill Walsh has been able to create an UNBELIEVABLE coaching tree. As a result of his wings, you have the aforementioned Belichick, Tom Coughlin, Sean Payton and Tony Sparano, three of whom have won SuperBowls. Right here is DC, there are innumerable people who learned basketball from Morgan Wootten’s basketball camp and have spent a lifetime in basketball, coaching and doing all kinds of other things in the sport. Derek Whittenburg, Sidney Lowe, Adrian Branch, Ronnie Everhart, Carlton Valentine and even his son, Joe Wootten all come to mind, involving themselves in the game of basketball one way or the other. Since we’re talking about longs lines and lineages that are closely related to flapping one’s wings, you have to think about Coach Eddie Robinson of Grambling who sent scores of young men into the NFL and life better prepared for success. This is often done in business, teaching, and definitely politics. All one has to do is look at the Kennedys and know that Joe Kennedy had long and powerful wings, enough to be the driving force for an entire family to go into politics and public service.

               Yet another of the key points and principles that this laid out for me was that all things matter. It matters how you talk to people. It matters who you associate with. It matters that you do good and put goodness out to the world. It matters how we treat our fellow man. It matters the kinds of things that you teach your children, the kinds of lessons you give to all young people or old people, as well. And, as the subject of this essay suggests, it matters how you coach a team and build those teams, because if the lessons are given properly and well enough, you have an opportunity to spawn a long list of folks who want to do what you do and have some of the same kind of success. In short, everybody matters - whether in the barber shop or the pool hall or the halls of Congress or some other high falutin’ place to the coat check person or the shoe shine guy or gal to you. The Butterfly Effect is ALWAYS present.

               Personally, I think I have lived the butterfly effect for much of my life. Somewhere, somehow, it was planted in me to help others. Maybe, it was seeing my mother help countless people. Maybe, it was seeing my uncle serve the city he was born in, even after forgoing a lucrative career as a marketing representative at a growing IBM. Maybe, it was hearing Martin Luther King say, what I have come to know as biblical, "he who is greatest amongst you, will be your servant." As a result, I am not sure why I feel the need to help and serve others, but somewhere deep down inside, maybe it was the butterfly effect and feeling that something that I can do can have the effect on lives, perhaps, being changed for the better. All I have to do, as we all must do is flap our wings for the good of this world and let’s see what we can effect.

               Below you will find several examples of someone either flapping their wings or providing an example of inspiration for someone to be someone or build something or improve upon something. All represent variations of “The Butterfly Effect”:

·           The Internet and Twitter
·           The Palm Pilot and Smart Phones
·           All In The Family and The Jeffersons
·           The Phonograph and The CD
·           The Model T and the Porsche
·           The Peach Basket and The Steel Rim & Nets
·           The Chuck Taylor and The Air Jordan
·           The Log Cabin and The Empire State Building
·           Charlie Chaplin and Kevin Hart
·           Two Cups on a string and the cell phone
·           Picasso and Street Graffiti
·           Louis Armstrong and Wynton Marsalis

               The most important thing, TO ME, is that we ALL matter and our actions matter. From the guy that runs a company like Marriott to Walmart to General Motors hiring tens of thousands of people to the guy that runs one convenience store who hires 7 to 10 or the newsstand who works by himself, but is the provider of information or the man/drunk on the street corner, we all matter. Given my increased level of spirituality, I have to mention something like giving a hug to someone. We ALL need human touch. And, at my church, my pastor and his brother, the assistant pastor, remind us that somebody may not have had a hug all week. So, the butterfly effect is real and when you do good, it has an effect. It may be immediate and it may not be felt right away, but it can have everlasting consequences. So, as we look at these upcoming games with Harvard and Buffalo and those who didn't make it like Stanford and Northwestern, think about ol' Coach K flapping his wings and the butterfly effect and coaching!

While seemingly schizophrenic, “Wahoowa!,” “Fear The Turtle!,” AND “Let’s Go Hoyas!”

HBCU Alum Stephen A. Smith says...

I Hope Every Black Person Would Do This...

ESPN host Stephen A. Smith said Tuesday that he hopes every black person in America votes for a Republican in “just one” election.

The comments came toward the end of a talk at the Impact Symposium at Vanderbilt University in Nashville and were captured on audio by a conservative website.

“Before we get on out of here … I’m about to say something that people might take, put out there or whatever the case might be. Buckle up and get ready,” he said.

“What I dream is that for one election, just one, every black person in America vote Republican,” Smith continued. “Want me to tell you why I feel that way?”

“From what I’ve read, Barry Goldwater is going against Lyndon B. Johnson. He’s your Republican candidate; he is completely against the civil rights movement. Lyndon B. Johnson was in favor of it — civil rights legislation,” Smith explained.

“What happens is, he wins office, Barry Goldwater loses office, but there was a Senate, a Republican Senate, that pushed the votes to the president’s desk. It was the Democrats who were against civil rights legislation — the southern Dixiecrats. So because President Lyndon B. Johnson was a Democrat, black America assumed the Democrats were for it.”

Smith didn’t stop there.

“Black folks in America are telling one party, ‘We don’t give a damn about you.’ They’re telling the other party, ‘You’ve got our vote.’ Therefore, you have labeled yourself ‘disenfranchised’ because one party knows they’ve got you under their thumb. The other party knows they’ll never get you and nobody comes to address your interest,” he said.

“We don’t do that with politics,” he added. “And then blame white America for our disenfranchisement. It is us.”

Wednesday, March 18, 2015


Crossing State Lines...

March 17, 2015

Ry Rivard

California’s 112-campus community college system is making it easier for graduates to attend historically black colleges and universities across the country.

The system is launching a new program that guarantees students admission to nine HBCUs if they graduate with an associate degree. The deal allows a student with 60 community college credits to enter the historically black colleges as a junior.

The deal serves twin goals. It helps two-year students from California find a place to get a four-year degree if they want to leave the state. It also helps historically black colleges find students as some struggle with enrollment declines. Late last year, the for-profit University of Phoenix’s attempt to partner with historically black colleges prompted skepticism.

There are no HBCUs in California, and the deal may be a precedent-setting agreement between a state system and a series of public and private colleges in other states. The California agreement builds on some existing transfer agreements between individual community colleges and nine individual HBCUs, all but one of which is private. The deal also mirrors an internal transfer process the community college system has with the California State University System: Community college graduates who earn one of 35 different associate degrees designed to transfer are guaranteed admission into Cal State universities. Last year, about 12,000 students graduated with one of those associate transfer degrees.

“It just seems natural and the timing seemed right to say, let’s take a shot at applying that pathway to the HBCUs,” said Bob Quinn, who handles transfer policy for the community college chancellor’s office. "Because we’ve been hearing for years how well our students do after they transfer there.”
The deal limits the number of lower-division general education courses that the historically black colleges can make transferring students take after they transfer: incoming students with a California associate degree may be asked to take only nine general education units by a historically black college. The deal also creates a simple path for students who have only taken 30 credits -- rather than 60 -- to enter an HBCU.

The California system signed agreements with Bennett College, Dillard University, Fisk University, Lincoln University in Missouri, Philander Smith College, Stillman College, Talladega, Tuskegee University and Wiley College.


Tuesday, March 17, 2015

HAMPTON U to the NCAA Tourney!

Maybe (Some) HBCUs Belong In The First Four

After winning the MEAC championship, Hampton will be among eight other teams playing the NCAA Tournament First Four this week.

The Pirates (16-17) will face Manhattan in Dayton, Ohio on Tuesday.

And considering that several power conference teams posted better records and wins against better competition, that’s the way it should be.

Some black college basketball fans may ask, why are historically black college and university programs like Hampton even in this position at all after earning what is believed to be an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament?

Maybe not being able to consistently stay competitive against Top 25 teams in the regular season is a factor.

This season, the SWAC and MEAC went 88-242 in non-conference play.

Hampton, for example, started the season 4-6 with losses to Iowa, Syracuse, American and North Dakota State.

Maybe suffering far too many blowouts in the NCAA Tournament at the hands of No. 1 and No. 2 seeds has something to do with it. The SWAC and MEAC are a combined 10 and 67 all-time come March.

Maybe participating in leagues that rank at the bottom of the RPI and strength of schedule rankings in Division I basketball has something to do with it. That 254 RPI does not look good on the resume come selection Sunday.

While Norfolk State did beat Missouri, Southern nearly became the first No. 16 seed to knock off a No. 1 seed when the Jaguars took Gonzaga to the brink of an upset and Texas Southern beat Michigan State,   who are we really kidding here? Those are outliers.

Hampton did not post a single win against a Top 50 opponent this season. Not a Top 100 foe either. The Pirates did, however, have a winning (12-7) record against schools in the Top 200. So they beat up bottom feeders like them.

Some have suggested maybe at-large or bubble teams should only have to make the untimely trip to Dayton each season instead of a conference champion from a mid-major.

But is Hampton really better than New Mexico State, SMU, UAB, and Georgia State?

Hampton did not even win the MEAC regular season title. That was captured by North Carolina Central who finished the season with a 16-0 conference record.

The Eagles were clearly the best team in the MEAC all season. And should probably be in the NCAA Tournament if the MEAC wasn’t a poor one-bid league, according to NCCU head coach LeVelle Moton.

I am under the belief that if HBCU teams could steal a few wins here and there against elite opponents and make consistent runs come March, the tournament committee might be willing to think more favorably of an HBCU unit down the road and keep them out of the First Four.

Until then, HBCU basketball fans have no recourse other than to complain about a school from the MEAC or SWAC than shouldn’t be in the First Four even though it is unlikely those schools will not come close to winning the national championship.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Obama’s visit to Benedict College

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is kicking off a weekend commemoration 50 years since the pivotal Selma-to-Montgomery civil rights marches in Alabama with a town hall meeting at a historically black college in South Carolina.
Obama’s visit to Benedict College in Columbia comes in his first trip to South Carolina as president. The White House says Obama plans to speak about efforts young people made throughout history to expand opportunity.
The South Carolina trip comes on the eve of Obama’s plans to visit Selma. He plans to speak from the Edmund Pettus Bridge, 50 years to the day after white police officers beat civil rights protesters in 1965.
Obama has just two other states to reach his goal of traveling to all 50 as president — South Dakota and Utah.

Apple is Investing $50M

Apple is Investing $50M in Future HBCU Talent

Apple announced a $50 million multi-year commitment to the Thurgood Marshall College Fund on Tuesday to inspire and develop talent from the nation's community of Historically Black Colleges & Universities. This is the largest corporate investment ever dedicated exclusively for students and faculty of four-year HBCUs.

The multi-year commitment will go toward creating a talent database, coordinating internships for promising students, exposure to Apple's campus and funding faculty innovation grants focused on figuring out effective ways to encourage HBCU students into STEM environments.

What's especially exciting about this new partnership is that select students interested in developing their own businesses with the use of technology will have the opportunity to attend Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference. There, they'll be able to rub elbows with some of the brightest industry leaders from across the globe.

"Our partnership with Apple is going to be a real game changer for HBCU students and faculty. Working with the most innovative company on the planet, we're going to expose more African American students to the possibilities of a career in technology and inspire them to become future tech innovators, entrepreneurs and leaders," said TMCF President and CEO Johnny C. Taylor, Jr. in a statement. "Apple shares our vision of a diverse workforce and working together we can ensure our students will not only have equal opportunities to pursue the jobs of their dreams, but also empower them to lead others to accomplish the same."

Denise Young Smith, Apple's vice president of worldwide human resources, also spoke to the opportunities this $50 million investment will provide for HBCUs and Apple alike.

"Education is in Apple's DNA and by partnering with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund we have a unique opportunity to help inspire the next generation of diverse talent to love technology as much as we do," she said. "Knowledge is the great equalizer and we want to invest in the best and brightest students in our HBCU schools to encourage them to pursue a career in technology or join the hundreds of thousands of app developers changing the way we all use our devices. Together, we can change the workforce for the better because inclusion really does inspire innovation."


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