NAFEO Signature Programs
NAFEO POLICY & ADVOCACY
The cornerstone of NAFEO’s work is its advocacy on behalf of the overarching issues and interests of paramount concern to the diverse HBCUs and PBIs, and their stakeholders. NAFEO brings to one table the CEOs of public, private, land-grant, 2- and 4-year, undergraduate, graduate and professional Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Predominantly Black Institutions (PBIs), to develop a collaborative agenda on the overarching issues of paramount interest to the diverse HBCUs and PBIs, then leads in advancing the agenda. NAFEO leads in advocating on behalf of its members in executive, administrative, legislative, and judicial branches of government, by educating and strategically placing before these branches of government the media, national and global outlets, other opinion shapers, “the voices for HBCUs and HBIs, and Blacks in higher education.”
Annually, NAFEO leads its members in assisting in shaping and championing an HBCU Community Congressional Budget, in working with Members of Congress from both major parties, in both Houses of Congress in reauthorizing legislation of greatest importance to HBCUs, PBIs and their stakeholder communities, and in securing more, and more strategic investments in these institutions and their stakeholders, in 14 congressional appropriations. NAFEO also works with the state legislatures and State Higher Education Executives (SHEEOs) in every state in which there is an HBCU or PBI.
With a raging pandemic, economic destabilization, rising unemployment, increased homelessness, chronic food insecurity and the so-called safety net stretched beyond its limits, the New Administration chose to invest in American families, to improve our environment, while working also to close the growing inequities in America. Among critical institutional partners the Administration chose to assist in leading in getting America back on course, were the richly diverse HBCUs.
In their first year as in office, the Administration chose to champion unprecedented funding for the nation’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). This made perfect sense because of the missions, programs, services, and strategic locations of HBCUs across America, many in areas of high need. It made perfect sense because America had the first female, first Black and Asian American, and first HBCU alumna as Vice President of the United States. The investments in HBCUs championed by the Administration also made perfect sense because HBCUs are America’s affirmative response to the de jure discrimination and vestigial impacts that have hindered African Americans in realizing their full potential and denied them access to level learning and service fields.
In the Aftermath of the barbarous murder of George Floyd at the hands of government officials, and amid the organic growth of the Black Lives Matter Movement, in which many HBCU students are engaged, the Administration pledged that excellence and equity would its cornerstones, and that HBCUs would play no small role in advancing the agenda.
The decision of the Administration to invest more equitably in HBCUs to position them to realize their full potential as diverse world-class American colleges and universities, was a wise decision in America’s best interest. HCBUs are “punching above their weight.” Four percent (4%) of American four-year colleges and universities are enrolling approximately twenty-one percent (21%) of all African American undergraduate college students and conferring twenty-two percent (22%) of all bachelor’s degrees earned by African Americans. HBCUs produce more than forty percent (40 %) of African Americans receiving advanced degrees in STEM fields; and twenty-four percent (24 %) of all PhDs earned each year by African Americans are conferred by twenty-four (24) HBCUs, and the six HBCU law schools graduate 60% of Black lawyers, 60% of whom are female.
Most HBCUs are located in areas of least advantage and greatest neglect. They are the conduits of change in their service areas, across their respective states, the nation, and the world. HBCUs are strategically located in areas with the greatest levels of poverty that could be considered “in the belly of the beast.” Their service areas are laboratories in which they must identify and apply new approaches to meeting the critical needs of diverse persons, most especially those who lack adequate financial means or resources. In laboratories and research centers of excellence, they are developing and patenting new, innovative products that address some of the most vexing challenges in urban and rural areas. They are educating and innovating new strategies for the residents of their service areas and are assisted by global students who attend HBCUs because they can offer specialized centers of excellence in urban and rural research, service, transportation, and security.
With NAFEO, its members–the presidents and chancellors of the diverse HBCUs– with an active and engaged swath of other key HBCU stakeholders as partners, and champions in the 117th Congress, during 2021 and 2022, the Administration recommended, and Congress made unprecedented investments in HBCUs. The investments positioned HBCUs to open new centers of excellence in advanced teaching and research driven by state-of-the-art technology. These funds are assisting students in meeting their housing, health, nutrition, and security needs, while at the same time preparing students to realize new goals, perhaps in the fields of health, criminal justice, hospitality, and coding. The leadership provided by NAFEO and its allies for unprecedented investments in HBCUs during the past two years has positioned some HBCUs to relieve students of debilitating debt associated with paying for college, encouraged others to better meet the human services needs of their students while they attend college, to offer more extension services to those in their service communities (including coronavirus testing and vaccination services), and to invest in new academic and technological infrastructures. It also educated others about the centrality of HBCUs to American progress, and spurred a wave of new or greater investments in HBCUs by foundations, corporations and philanthropists.
Making banner investments in HBCUs was wise because stronger HBCUs yield stronger communities. Many HBCUs are located in areas in which disproportionate numbers of the residents are persons of color living below the poverty level. There are seven HBCUs with service areas (see HBCUmoney.com/2022/01) where the African American poverty rate is at least 2 times the rate of the general population. The unprecedented investments in HBCUS are yielding measurable positive results.
Dr. George T French, President of Clark Atlanta University, the largest United Negro College Fund (UNCF) member institution, the largest private HBCU within the State of Georgia, one of the nation’s longest-serving university presidents, and one of the longest serving members of the NAFEO board of directors, captured the sentiment of the HBCU Community regarding the banner investments in HBCUs during a visit of President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris to CAU. President French opined:
“The impact of the funds on HBCU campuses, and as a catalyzer of other public and private investments in HBCUs is substantial. Universities across the Nation such as Clark Atlanta University have benefitted tremendously during the first year of the Biden Harris Administration as the result of the stewardship and advocacy of the Biden Harris administration for the unprecedented $5.8 billion cumulative investment in and support for HBCUs through the American Rescue Plan, debt relief, and grant funding for academic capacity building and fiscal stability. These investments have been especially impactful during these unprecedented and perilous times. The establishment of new offices of HBCUs, Tribal Colleges and Universities and Minority Serving Institutions in such Departments as the U.S. Department of Commerce is also yielding favorable results by creating a seamless information and support system for our institutions as they seek to access federal government and partner contracts, grants, research opportunities and technical assistance. This year was a banner year for HBCUs, in large measure because of the leadership of the Biden-Harris Administration. This was a good beginning. The HBCU Community is going to continue educating the Administration, policy makers, policy shapers, and financial, academic, research, and community partners, that HBCUs really are the best return on investments to move America to realizing her Egalitarian Ideal. HBCUs are still woefully under supported by investors across domains, relative to their return on investments. We look forward to building on the foundation that was laid this year, and moving the needle closer to parity for HBCUs, the nation’s quintessential mission-based, diverse, equal educational opportunity institutions.”
NAFEO Presidential Peer Seminar & Advanced Leadership Institute (ALI)
The Presidential Peer Seminar is the premier and longstanding NAFEO initiative designed to provide the HBCU and PBI presidents with information, inspiration, new skills and relationships to enhance their ability to serve at the helm of their institutions, meet the many demands of governance, and better serve their stakeholders. It also facilitates formal and informal meetings among and between government, corporate, NGO, and philanthropic CEOs and CEOs of HBCUs and PBIs in a relaxed setting. The Peer Seminar affords presidents and chancellors an opportunity to build fraternity and to spend facilitated formal and informal time with their colleagues, their mates and with select people they invite to join them because of the vital role they play in an arena central to the mission of HBCUs and PBIs HBCUS, PBIs, or because of a new publication, presentation or innovation they have of interest to members.
A special part of the Presidential Peer Seminar is the Freshmen Presidents’ Boot Camp. The Boot Camp is designed to assist freshmen HBCU and PBI presidents to get their grounding, understand controlling laws, policies and resources, and to forge relationships important to their presidency. In the past few years, we have had an average of twenty (20) new HBCU and PBI presidents and chancellors participate in the Presidential Peer Seminar, with about 65 more senior presidents and chancellors and presidents and chancellors emeriti.
Beginning in 2022, NAFEO will enrich and expand the HBCU Presidential Peer Seminar by adding to it, the HBCU Presidents & Chancellors Advanced Leadership Institute. With funds from the Kirkland & Ellis Settlement of the landmark Maryland higher education diversity case, NAFEO will enhance its HBCU Presidential Peer Seminar by adding an Advanced Leadership Institute to support HBCU presidents and chancellors by designing and otherwise supporting ongoing in-service learning opportunities and collaborative exchanges for the CEOs, to enhance their ability to lead to HBCU strengths and through their unique challenges as America’s only class of colleges and universities founded and existing as an affirmative response to the Nation’s de jure discrimination and its vestigial impacts.
NAFEO Freshmen Presidents and Chancellors Boot Camp & All Presidents Training Institute (Attendant to Presidential Peer Seminar)
HBCU Freshmen Presidents’ Boot Camp and Training Institute is part of the NAFEO Presidential Peer Seminar. As the membership and advocacy association for all HBCUs and PBIs, NAFEO provides a range of support services for these presidents. Among the membership services are:
The Freshmen Presidents Boot Camp for new HBCU presidents takes place during the NAFEO Presidential Peer Seminar (PPS) with senior presidents conducting workshops, formal and informal discussion groups for freshmen presidents for one full day during its three-day PPS, then subsequently serving in “on call” mentor-protégé relationships in which the mentors guide the freshman through the challenges and opportunities emanating from serving at the helm of one of America’s HBCUs or PBIs. The Freshmen Presidents’ Training Institute Once Freshmen presidents/chancellors complete the “Boot Camp” and the freshmen presidents are assigned a mentor, the presidents who have served at least one full year at the helm of and HBCU or PBI provide training in practical, hands-on matters that they typically encounter, such as budgeting, financial management, accreditation, governance, fundraising, student services, understanding and complying with federal and state laws and regulations, governing HBCUs, and alumni, governmental, foundation and corporate relations. It also offers skills development in building support networks, civic engagement, marketing, social media management, and community outreach.
NAFEO National Dialogue on Blacks in Higher Education; HBCUs on the Hill, & Salute to Congressional Champions
NAFEO’s National Dialogue on Blacks in Higher Education has been the Nation’s premiere national confab on higher education equity and access: a virtual “who’s who” of American education, political, social and thought leaders on higher education; the presidents and chancellors of the nation’s 105 Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and in excess of 25 of the 80 presidents of Predominantly Black Institutions (PBIs), federal and state policymakers and executives. The NAFEO National Dialogue has brought together administrators, faculty, students, alumni, board members, admissions and academic affairs professionals, procurement officers, human resources directors, student service professionals and others from across the nation. NAFEO’s convenings have attracted business, philanthropic, government, advocacy, civic, faith, constitutional, civil rights, and social justice champions, and student leaders, to exchange information about America’s HBCUs and PBIs and blacks in higher education.
At the Dialogue, the delegates reach consensus on a multi-year National Agenda on Blacks in Higher Education on which their delegates work for months in advance of the convening. The National Dialogue includes HBCUs on the Hill Day which includes congressional visits, congressional hearings or roundtables on the State of America’s Black Colleges, and a Salute to Congressional Champions. The National Dialogue also hosts town hall meetings, learning laboratories, institutes, and roundtable discussions.
HBCU TECH FOUNDATION
Founded in 2018, as an independent, 501 (c) (3) not-for-profit association, The HBCU Technology Foundation was established to spur Historically Black College and University (HBCU) technological innovation and monetization, primarily through sustainable partnerships between HBCUs, corporations, non-governmental associations, foundations, federal, state, county and municipal agencies. The HBCU Technology Foundation will enable Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to generate new, independent revenue streams through the acquisition, licensing, and protection of intellectual property assets issued from industry leading technology companies. The HBCU Technology Foundation will also assist research-intensive HBCUs develop disruptive technologies and expand their intellectual property portfolios by leveraging the HBCU Technology Foundation’s growing suite of powerful and convenient technology transfer services.
The HBCU Technology Foundation’s intellectual property portfolios will also provide exciting opportunities for HBCUs to provide clinical learning environments for law students, business students, and STEM students to receive hands-on experience in developing and commercializing valuable intellectual property assets.
NAFEO Campus Plus Community (CPC/ COMMUNIVERSITY-Development)
The Campus Plus Community development program is a transformative redevelopment approach for HBCU campuses and the communities surrounding their campuses. CPC offers a structured development program that will allow HBCUs to build state-of-the-art on and off campus facilities.
Development activities range from on campus projects directly related to improving the academic environment, to off-campus projects focused on improving economic vitality of the adjacent community environment. Whether on-campus or off-campus, the projects will enhance the HBCU’s ability to attract new students and increase enrollment. The on-campus projects may include innovation research centers, student housing facilities, classroom buildings, administrative office buildings, libraries, student centers, athletic facilities; parking facilities ; and other types of on-campus mixed-use facilities
Off-campus projects will be located within a one-mile radius of the campus or on the perimeter of the campus where direct access is provided to the general public, and those projects may include: mixed-use residential or commercial projects, hospitality projects (e.g., hotels) healthcare projects (e.g., hospitals), retail projects; and office buildings.
The biggest plus of CommUniversity is that the development is done through the membership association of the HBCUs and PBIs, an independent association.
Student & Faculty Leadership Development Internships & Apprenticeships
The NAFEO internship, ambassadorship, and apprenticeship opportunities offer students an opportunity for practical, hands-on experience and career-building service with federal agencies, corporations, small-female, minority-owned businesses, publishing houses, tech companies, and so many other growth and high need industries, and “graying industries.” These career service training grounds, offer the students an opportunity to learn about the inner workings of federal and state government, corporations and NGOs, while augmenting the knowledge they acquire in the classroom with real life experiences and enriching the targeted workforces. The opportunities provide the employers/placement centers an opportunity to learn, firsthand, about the excellence, intellectual curiosity, passion, and professionalism of HBCU and PBI students who are excelling in many disciplines, disproportionately in high needs and growth disciplines.
HBCUs JUSTICE ADVOCACY CORPS (JAC)
With funds from the Kirkland & Ellis settlement, NAFEO will also launch, train and deploy an elite HBCUs Justice Advocacy Corps—HBCU administrators, student interns, and faculty fellows who will champion the issues and interests of HBCUs with the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government, continuing the 53-year tradition of NAFEO as, “the voice for Blacks in higher education!”