UNCF, Axim Collaborative and Harvard University: Reshaping Higher Education through HBCUv

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Roy Betts UNCF Communications 240.703.3384 roy.betts@uncf.org

Transforming higher education

Today, UNCF (United Negro College Fund), the nation’s largest minority education organization, announced its partnership with Axim Collaborative and Harvard University to further the development of HBCUv (HBCU Virtual). This collaboration showcases the commitment of UNCF and its nine partnering HBCUs to transforming higher education through innovative education technology, collaboration and rightful ownership by HBCUs, for HBCUs.

HBCUv is an online platform that will expand Black college education, enhance online learning, promote inclusivity and ensure equitable access to education for all HBCUs nationwide. With the UNCF Institute for Capacity Building as a driving force and the expertise of its nine partnering HBCUs, HBCUv seeks to reimagine the Black college experience for the virtual world.

“We are thrilled to partner with Axim Collaborative and Harvard on the development of HBCUv, as it represents an important leap forward in higher education, empowering HBCUs to harness the power of technology and innovation while ensuring equitable access and inclusivity for all students,” said Ed Smith-Lewis, vice president of strategic partnerships and institutional programs, UNCF.

Axim Collaborative is a nonprofit organization – a joint endeavor of Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology – dedicated to fostering inclusive learning in support of strong student outcomes.

Axim Collaborative will contribute experience in the field of blended online education to the initiative, in addition to financial support. The partnership with Harvard will focus on developing a robust instructional design framework, establishing a repository of culturally responsive course resources, and leveraging existing knowledge, expertise and digital learning assets that exist at Harvard and MIT. Their collective contributions – working closely with UNCF and partnering HBCUs – will shape the strategic direction and innovative approaches employed by the HBCUv team to support faculty in enhancing student success.

“We are honored to partner with UNCF and the nine partnering HBCUs in shaping the future of education through HBCUv. Together we will drive innovation, foster inclusivity and empower historically Black colleges and universities to lead in the digital era, ensuring that students have equitable access to transformative learning experiences. I cannot think of a better inaugural project to invest in as we pursue Axim’s mission to elevate the playing field for students everywhere so they can realize their full education and career potential,” said Stephanie Khurana, CEO of Axim Collaborative.

“Through our collaboration with UNCF, we are excited to bring Harvard’s expertise in online education to this important initiative. By combining innovative teaching and learning practices and technologies, inclusive approaches, and a commitment to excellence, we aim to support this important work led by UNCF and the partner HBCUs in empowering students and faculty from historically Black colleges and universities to reshape the future of learning in a digital age,” said Bharat N. Anand, vice provost for advances in learning at Harvard University.

UNCF, alongside the nine partnering HBCUs, has been driving the development of HBCUv, ensuring its alignment with the needs and aspirations of the HBCU community. This initiative has garnered significant support from philanthropic organizations such as Lilly Endowment, Inc., Bank of America Foundation, Citi Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Blue Meridian Partners, among others, reaffirming the significance and potential impact of HBCUv.

Through this collaboration, UNCF and partnering HBCUs, including Benedict College, Clark Atlanta University, Johnson C. Smith University, Lane College, Claflin University, Dillard University, Talladega College, Shaw University, and Jarvis Christian University, are leading the charge in incorporating leading digital technologies into the HBCU education experience. HBCUv will serve as more than an online platform; it represents a learning ecosystem that empowers students, faculty and institutions to thrive in the digital age, both inside and outside of the classroom.

For more information about HBCUv and its transformative impact on higher education, please visit hbcuv.org.

About UNCF

UNCF (United Negro College Fund) is the nation’s largest and most effective minority education organization. To serve youth, the community and the nation, UNCF supports students’ education and development through scholarships and other programs, supports and strengthens its 37 member colleges and universities, and advocates for the importance of minority education and college readiness. While totaling only 3% of all colleges and universities, UNCF institutions and other historically Black colleges and universities are highly effective, awarding 15% of bachelor’s degrees, 5% of master’s degrees, 10% of doctoral degrees and 19% of all STEM degrees earned by Black students in higher education. UNCF administers more than 400 programs, including scholarship, internship and fellowship, mentoring, summer enrichment, and curriculum and faculty development programs. Today, UNCF supports more than 60,000 students at over 1,100 colleges and universities across the country. Its logo features the UNCF torch of leadership in education and its widely recognized trademark, ‟A mind is a terrible thing to waste.”® Learn more at UNCF.org or for continuous updates and news, follow UNCF on Twitter at @UNCF.

About UNCF Institute for Capacity Building

UNCF founded the Institute for Capacity Building in 2006 to build upon its heritage of supporting Black colleges and their outsized impact on student success and community progress. The Institute partners with Black colleges and universities to propel a shared pursuit of student success, community advancement and the fight for racial-justice equity. Learn more about UNCF’s Institute for Capacity Building at uncficb.org.

About Axim Collaborative

Axim Collaborative is a nonprofit focused on broadening access to education and deepening the impact for the millions of learners who have faced barriers in realizing their education and career aspirations. Axim Collaborative partners with institutions and organizations that serve students who have been systemically and historically underserved by our higher education systems, with the goal of catalyzing new digital and education practices that engage students in their course of study, enable them to persist through their programs, and excel in their careers.