TSU, PVAMU shine light on new accomplishments

There are numerous reasons why students attend Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). Not only do these institutions provide a safe and inclusive environment for minority students, it has a robust alumni network of highly accomplished professionals who dominate various sectors of industries worldwide.

HBCUs have a rich history of Black pride and culture that create a home-away-from-home atmosphere that offers a unique learning experience with many dedicated leaders in academia who help students achieve their full potential.

These are just some prime examples incoming freshmen and returning students will see this year at two Houston-area HBCUs, Texas Southern University and Prairie View A&M (PVAMU) University.

The two universities have made significant strides to enhance the educational experiences for historically marginalized communities, attract top-performing students and build strong partnerships with industry leaders. Here are seven accomplishments that highlight the excellence of each institution.

Texas Southern University

Aviation partnerships

TSU’s Aviation Science Management program is involved in major partnerships with Southwest Airlines, United Airlines, Republic Airways and others. The Professional Pilot program is anticipating a doubling in enrollment as it makes its contribution to a looming pilot shortage. 

“College Hill: Celebrity Edition”

The TSU experience is on full display on BET+ in an eight-episode unscripted reality series, “College Hill: Celebrity Edition.”  Some 854,000 people watched the premiere of the eight-episode series. The series showcases the rigors of academics at TSU, the community students have come to expect at an HBCU and the caring nature of HBCU faculty through the eyes of eight celebrities working their way toward a special certificate.

College of Transdisciplinary Studies

TSU is launching a new college that creates a pathway for people who started college but did not complete their degree program. The groundbreaking College of Transdisciplinary Studies provides an avenue for students to continue their education and complete and earn one of eight baccalaureate degree or four master’s degrees. It is the first ever college of transdisciplinary studies approved by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board and offers a range of degree programs to satisfy the needs of students who have previously dropped out of higher education.

Future Bankers Leadership Program

For the second consecutive semester, students in TSU’s newly-established Future Bankers Leadership Program (FBLP), which is part of the Jesse H. Jones School of Business, achieved an impressive 100% pass rate for a key professional certification exam – giving them a distinct advantage as they pursue careers in the finance and banking industry.

Inaugural Division of Research & Innovation

The launch of the Division of Research & Innovation, coupled with the reaffirmation by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education of TSU’s status as a Doctoral University of High Research Activity (R2), demonstrates the university is growing by transforming its capabilities and investment in research. The effort is led by nationally-acclaimed researcher Dr. Michelle Penn-Marshall, vice president of Research & Innovation.

Meta Partnership

This summer, Meta chose TSU to be a partner in the launch of a new research project. This research, led by Meta’s Civil Rights and Responsible AI Teams, is being done with the goal of creating a better user experience for historically marginalized communities. The effort will allow Meta to better understand the experiences different communities have on Instagram, how its technology may impact different groups, and what changes can be made to promote fairness on the platform.

Monterey Jazz Festival

TSU’s choir and jazz ensemble, along with students from the School of Communications, will travel to Monterey, Calif. in September to be part of the Monterey Jazz Festival. This is an ongoing partnership between KTSU, TSU and the festival that includes programming on campus for music.

Prairie View A&M University

Academic Institution Partnerships

The Princeton Alliance for Collaborative Research and Innovation (PACRI) pairs a Princeton researcher with a researcher from an HBCU from a wide range of disciplines who will co-lead a research or innovation project. The PVAMU-Johns Hopkins Vivien Thomas Scholars Initiative partnership initiative will reach first-generation college students and significant racial and ethnic underrepresented populations. In addition, the funding will enhance PVAMU students’ preparation in STEM for matriculation into competitive STEM Ph.D. programs. It will also provide scholarships, professional training, and mentorship to undergraduate and graduate students.

New Academic Building

PVAMU broke ground on a $70 million classroom and research building for its Roy G. Perry College of Engineering.

New Academic Programs

The College of Business launched its Doctor of Business Administration degree, the first from a public university in Texas accredited with AACSB International. Starting in the spring of 2023, the University will add a BS/BA in Public Health to the Brailsford College of Arts and Sciences.

R2 Carnegie Classification 

This prestigious classification (Doctoral University; High Research Activity) is the second-highest ranking for universities with a commitment to research, and is now held by 133 universities nationwide. The university awarded 63 doctoral degrees in the past five years and amassed $105 million in research expenditures for the period, placing PVAMU in the top 10 HBCUs regarding research.

Ruth J. Simmons Center for Race and Justice

The launch of the Ruth J. Simmons Center for Race and Justice is led by Endowed Professor of Political Science Melanye Price, aimed to help students walk away from their time at PVAMU with an understanding and thoughtful analysis of the challenges presented by racism and racial discrimination. 

Toni Morrison Writing Program

PVAMU launched its Toni Morrison Writing Program, with one of the most celebrated African American poets, Nikki Giovanni, named the 2021-2022 inaugural writer-in-residence. Now in its second year, the program will welcome Kevin Powell, an acclaimed author and activist. 

U-RISE Initiative

The Brailsford College of Arts and Sciences is working to create a more diverse pipeline of well-trained STEM students ready to enter Ph.D. programs and, ultimately, the STEM workforce with the help of funding from the National Institutes of Health/National Institute of General Medical Sciences. Undergraduate Research Training Initiative for Student Enhancement (U-RISE) will recruit four students with a declared major in a biomedical science discipline (biology, chemistry, computer science, mathematics, animal science, nutrition, chemical or electrical engineering) each year for five years. The students will experience hands-on research collaborations enriched with interdisciplinary research culture.  

Laura Onyeneho

I cover Houston's education system as it relates to the Black community for the Defender as a Report for America corps member. I'm a multimedia journalist and have reported on social, cultural, lifestyle,...