Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) were founded to educate Black Americans restricted—formally and informally—from attending predominantly white institutions of higher education, with most of the earliest institutions providing the necessary educational needs of the day: vocational and teacher training. Over the subsequent century and a half, HBCUs have been indispensable to the larger Black experience in America, simultaneously shaping the broader tapestry of the country. Despite their history, continued service to underserved students and production of notable alumni, many know little about the function of HBCUs, and attacks that question their purpose in today’s society prevail.
The purpose of this session is to explore and address persistent myths and mistruths surrounding HBCUs and educate attendees on current work of the institutions. The institute will illustrate an approach to evaluation that allows us to identify nuances in data that are largely left out of more mainstream evaluations of HBCUs, but provide a more complete picture of our institutions enabling the production of a more equitable narrative and allowing for ongoing assistance to institutions that support increased initiative outcomes.