As part of NOVA’s Black History Month celebration, the Annandale Campus hosted its second annual Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Transfer Showcase on February 23 in the entrance lobby of the Annandale Student Services (CA) building. The event was coordinated by Education Program Advisor and Adjunct Professor Felicia Blakeney, with the assistance of Annandale Student Services staff.
NOVA faculty and staff who attended HBCUs or who are members of any of the nine predominately black Greek letter organizations were encouraged to wear their respective schools’ and organizations’ paraphernalia for a group photo. Student Recruitment representatives from Howard University, Lincoln University, Morehouse College, Morgan State University, the University of the District of Columbia and Virginia State University attended the showcase and met with an estimated 150 NOVA students from the Alexandria, Annandale and Woodbridge campuses that participated in the event.
HBCUs are both public and private institutions established prior to 1964 with the intention of primarily serving the nation’s African-American community. HBCUs have always allowed admission to persons of all races, unlike many majority institutions in the U.S., and particularly those in the South, some of which did not admit blacks until as late as the 1960s. The U.S. Department of Education reports there are currently 107 HBCUs in the United States. HBCUs in Virginia include Hampton University, Norfolk State University, Virginia State University and Virginia Union University.
HBCUs have been integral to the educational success of blacks in the Americas, the Caribbean and Africa. According to a study released by the United Negro College Fund (UNCF), HBCUs are still responsible for producing approximately 70 percent of all African-American doctors and dentists, 50 percent of African-American engineers and public school teachers and 35 percent of African-American lawyers. And, according to a 2015 Gallup poll, black students at HBCUs had a higher sense of well-being in five important areas (purpose, social, financial, community and physical) compared to students who did not attend HBCUs, and were more than twice as likely than blacks at non-HBCUs to receive all three support measures at school (having at least one professor who made them excited about learning; having professors who cared about them; and having a mentor who encouraged them to pursue their goals.) Thus, HBCUs continue to serve a vital role in higher education.
NOVA Director of Equity and Diversity Everett Eberhardt reports that during a recent systemwide meeting of Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) representatives from NOVA’s sister Virginia Community College System (VCCS) institutions D&I colleagues were impressed by this event and expressed interest in also having their students remotely participate in the 2018 HBCU Transfer Showcase to be held at NOVA. NOVA’s Office of Equity and Diversity will explore how this annual event may be expanded to include a wider audience in the future through the use of technology.