Voices from the New, Collaborative HBCU-MSI Consortium

In a recent webinar, How HBCUs Are Collaborating to Boost Retention and Success, 47% of attendees cited “course scheduling, sequencing and frequency” as the number one challenge in meeting student needs (course modality and limited availability of faculty resources came in as #2 and #3, respectively).

Terry Randolph, the webinar’s moderator and Acadeum’s Regional Vice President for Institutional Partnerships, noted that what was most encouraging, in the face of these roadblocks, is that common challenges among institutions--public and private--often lend themselves to common solutions.

This spring, the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) partnered with Acadeum to launch an online course-sharing network for historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) as well as minority-serving institutions, aimed at helping more students graduate on time. Over the past few months, institutions within this newly formed consortium have come together, virtually and in person, to discuss their plans for filling gaps and providing wraparound student support on the path to graduation.

Here are some of the most meaningful highlights from these discussions, celebrating course sharing’s potential, the strength of community, and student-centric support:

Course Sharing's Potential & Impact

Screen Shot 2022-08-03 at 3-04-34 PM-png“I was excited about the flexibility [of course sharing]. Once we had to migrate to virtual learning and hybrid learning during the pandemic, our administration got it and understood that this could work for us. It’s a way for us to fill gaps, like replacing faculty lost to retirement. I’m excited about the possibilities.”

- Dr. Bobbie Knight, President, Miles College

“For the spring semester, we were one of three of the 26 institutions in the system that had an enrollment increase--but we didn’t have a faculty increase. Having faculty available to teach the courses students need has been a challenge for us. This [consortium] was perfect timing and the perfect opportunity. We’re excited about the community of resources this provides for our students.”

- Kenyatta Johnson, Vice President of Enrollment Management and Student Success, Albany State University, Georgia

“Course sharing is the new normal for our HBCU. With this relationship, we have the ability to do more to enhance the experience of our students academically…we understand that we need options and course sharing gives us those options for our students.” 

- Dr. Glenell M. Lee-Pruitt, Provost & Vice President for Academic Affairs, Jarvis Christian College

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STUDENT SUCCESS

“This latest academic innovation in developing the HBCU-MSI consortium further ensures that students at these colleges and universities are retained, supported through their academic experience, and are on track to timely graduation.” 

- Dr. Stevie Lawrence, Vice President of Higher Education, SREB

“When we returned to campus in fall 2021, while the pandemic was still on, it became very obvious that a lot of our students wanted to continue with aspects of online learning. We took a look at some of the gaps with online offerings. We could not meet the needs of our students and some faculty didn’t return after the pandemic. We were desperate to find a solution. We jumped on the consortium right away.”

- Dr. Olufunke Fontenot, Provost, Fort Valley State University

“Course sharing is needed for our institution because our ultimate goal is to help our students graduate–we don’t want anything holding that up. During Hurricane Katrina, we had to merge two semesters in one just to get our students to remain on track. Course sharing helps us if there’s another hurricane that shuts the city down. Our students can still learn, get their education, and graduate on time.”

- Robert Mitchell, Jr, Registrar, Dillard University

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“We know our students beyond their ID numbers. We know their circumstances, we know what they’re battling. Because we know our students the way we do I think the value of the course-sharing model resonates.”

- Jamila S. Lyn, Director of Specialized Programming, Benedict College

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 Collaboration at Benedict College & Dillard University

In 2021, Benedict College and Dillard University partnered on a winter term course-sharing pilot to support Benedict seniors, providing the courses they needed to graduate. Over 90% of students stayed on track for graduation, and 100% passed. Hear Jamila S. Lyn of Benedict College discuss the partnership and the tremendous results.

 

COMMUNITY

“The power that would come from every HBCU creating a learning community together, working toward the same goal…it would be miraculous.” 

- Dr. Jasmine Haywood, Strategy Director, Lumina Foundation

“I think one of the things that students look for when attending HBCUs is the unique learning environments that HBCUs provide. SREB along with Acadeum and all the institutions [that are] part of this course-sharing consortium, we’re very much committed to providing those nurturing and supportive learning environments.”

- Dr. Stevie Lawrence, Vice President of Higher Education, SREB

“The ability to do something that’s special for our students says a lot about the universities and leadership [within this consortium]. It says, as a community, we can do more for our students together than we can do separately.”

- Dr. Stephen Pruitt, President, SREB

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Thank you to the thought leaders and visionaries who made this community come to life. For more on the HBCU-MSI consortium, visit: https://go.acadeum.com/hbcu-msi 

 

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