Written by: Reagan Flowers, PhD
Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) provide culturally responsive environments and play an essential role in bringing together students who have had marginalized lived experiences.
Studies have shown that even though an equal number of Black students begin college majoring in STEM fields, they do not continue. A third of minority students with STEM majors end up changing to another area of study or leave school. None completion is due, in part, to the lack of culturally relevant support programs, encounters with implicit bias, and experiences with systemic racism. Historically black colleges and universities help fill the gaps that other schools do not.
As a graduate of two HBCU’s, my experience is a shared experience with other alumni. I am a first-generation college student, I nor my parents knew what to expect. The academic programs and student life environment at Texas Southern University and Prairie View A & M University were life-changing. I describe my experiences at these institutions as rigorous, standards-driven, demanding, soulful, caring, nurturing, experiential, uplifting, no-nonsense, and culturally relevant. My professors held me accountable; as a student, the expectation was that I would put in the work necessary to achieve excellence and complete my degree program. At graduation from these institutions, I felt prepared for whatever would come my way. I would not trade my HBCU experiences and wish that more Black students would complete, at a minimum, their undergraduate degree at an HBCU.
Now, we see historically Black colleges and universities take their efforts to yet another level. They are developing new STEM programs and increasing African American studies offerings. I am excited to share some of these efforts with you. Read more…