Higher Education Grants or Gifts of Interest to African Americans

Here is this week’s news of grants or gifts to historically Black colleges and universities or for programs of particular interest to African Americans in higher education.

Patriann Smith, assistant professor of literacy studies in the College of Education at the University of South Florida, has been awarded a three-year, $3.6 million grant from the United States Agency for International Development. The grant, in partnership with the University of the West Indies Cave Hill in Barbados, will be used to establish an interdisciplinary educational research center to help support decision making and policy development for educational innovation and expansion in Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean. Dr. Smith moved to the United States in 2009, earning her master’s and doctoral degrees at the University of South Florida. Prior to that, she was a K-12 teacher in St. Lucia, Trinidad and Tobago.

Historically Black Virginia State University received a $500,000 grant from the Commonwealth of Virginia. The grant will fund the VSUTeach program. The initiative will allow undergraduate students at the university to obtain secondary teaching certifications while also completing a STEM degree without additional tuition costs or time in school.

Texas Woman’s University received a grant of nearly $100,000 from the National Endowment for the Humanities. The grant will support the very first interdisciplinary and experiential learning initiative to integrate the history of Quakertown into courses at the university. Quakertown, a thriving Black neighborhood, was founded in the 1880s as a freedmen community just south of the university’s campus. In 1921, TWU’s president, alongside local White civic leaders and women’s clubs, led a campaign to pass a bond vote that displaced over 60 families and Black-owned businesses to create a municipal park and site for the city hall, civic center, public library, and public pool.

Historically Black Dillard University in New Orleans received a five-year, $1.4 million grant from the National Institutes of Health. The grant aims to increase the diversity of students earning their bachelor’s degrees and moving on to complete research-focused, biomedical advanced degrees. The Undergraduate Research Training Initiative for Student Enhancement, or U-RISE, will target undergraduate students who are planning to continue their academic careers and gain Ph.D.s in research-based health or biomedical sciences.

LeMoyne-Owen College, the historically Black educational institution in Memphis, received a $125,000 grant from the Campus Consortium. The money will be used by the college to upgrade its information technology infrastructure. Its immediate goal is to increase capacity in various internal departments, such as admissions, financial aid, registrar, technology services, and alumni relations, which are all touchpoints that affect long-term institutional growth.

Baylor University in Waco, Texas, has been awarded a $488,000 grant by the Eula Mae and John Baugh Foundation to study the ways various forms of American culture have promoted racial myths through the centuries, influencing how people perceive individuals of different races. Initially, the research will focus on the analysis of movies, books, sermons, theological writing, political discourse, pop culture, and more, with results published in a variety of scholarly and popular publications. A second phase will focus on the development of programming and partnerships that will shape conversations and introspection about the stories society tells.

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