HBCUs Provide Other Universities With a Roadmap for Success for Black STEM Students

A new study led by researchers at Winston-Salem State University in North Carolina, Howard University in Washington, D.C.,  and Vanderbilt University in Nashville, finds that predominately White institutions can utilize practices that make HBCUs successful to mentor and graduate students of all backgrounds.

The HBCU practices that lead to success include establishing a safe and nurturing environment, creating a scientific identity, and instilling self-worth in students. If predominantly White institutions create a similar learning environment, they too can be successful in turning out large numbers of Black graduates in STEM fields, according to the authors.

“Future research institutions will require not only ingenuity, hard work, and a commitment to training the next generation of scientists, but also a commitment to bolstering their cultural environment with African American scientists. There is a critical need for predominantly White institutions to increase the diversity, retention, and promotion of their faculty,” the authors write.

“There is a need for HBCUs to train more students and a need for PWIs to consider adopting the HBCU practices if they want to be successful in increasing their capacity to instruct students from diverse backgrounds and achieve their stated diversity goals,” said senior author Antentor O. Hinton Jr., assistant professor of molecular physiology and biophysics at Vanderbilt University.

Dr. Hinton is a graduate of Winston-Salem State University, where he majored in biology. He earned a Ph.D. in integrative molecular and biomedical sciences from the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.

The full study, “Learning From HBCUs: How to Produce Black Professionals in STEMM,” was published in the journal Cell. It may be accessed here.

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