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ERIC Number: ED513988
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Nov
Pages: 172
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 18
The Educational Effectiveness of Historically Black Colleges and Universities: A Briefing before the United States Commission on Civil Rights Held in Washington, D.C. Briefing Report
US Commission on Civil Rights
The Black College and University Act defined an historically black college and university (HBCU) as one that existed before 1964 with a historic and contemporary mission of educating blacks while being open to all. An HBCU must either have earned accreditation from a nationally recognized accrediting agency or association or be making reasonable progress toward accreditation. Currently, 103 HBCUs are located mainly in the Southeastern United States, the District of Columbia, and the Virgin Islands. The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights conducted a briefing on May 5, 2006, to assess the educational effectiveness of HBCUs. The Commission invited five distinguished panelists to discuss the issue: Louis W. Sullivan, founding dean and first president of Morehouse School of Medicine, as well as a presidential advisor and former cabinet secretary; Earl S. Richardson, president of Morgan State University and a former presidential advisor on Historically Black Colleges and Universities; Jamie P. Merisotis, president of the Institute for Higher Education Policy; Raymond C. Pierce, dean and professor of law at North Carolina Central University and a former deputy assistant secretary at the U.S. Department of Education; and Mikyong Minsun Kim, associate professor at the George Washington University's Graduate School of Education and Human Development. After the briefing, Commissioners offered two articles to help provide the reader with a richer understanding of the subject because policymakers should base conclusions about the efficacy of HBCUs in educating black students as compared to non-HBCUs on stronger evidence than mere public support. In both studies the researchers rely on extensive empirical data to reach their conclusions. The two articles are reproduced at the end of this report and cast some additional light on the briefing topic. In the briefing session, Dr. Sullivan stated that for some young African-Americans the development that occurs at HBCUs might have a profound influence on their lives. Dr. Richardson indicated that after the enactment of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (CRA) and initial federal enforcement in the early 1970s, questions arose about the future role of HBCUs in contemporary higher education. Mr. Merisotis said that a 2004-2005 national survey of student engagement found that, compared to African-American students enrolled in "predominantly white institutions," those attending HBCUs reported more interactions with faculty members. Dean Pierce stated that HBCUs continue to educate large numbers of African-Americans effectively, thus contributing to the nation's need for a learned population and skilled workforce. In her turn to speak, Dr. Kim first provided some characteristics about HBCUs and their students. Individual articles contain figures, tables, appendices, notes, and references. (Contains 274 footnotes.)
US Commission on Civil Rights. Publications Office, 624 Ninth Street NW Room 600, Washington, DC 20425. Tel: 202-376-8128; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Collected Works - Proceedings
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education; Two Year Colleges
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: US Commission on Civil Rights
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: Civil Rights Act 1964
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: National Survey of Student Engagement