UNCF Launches New Teaching and Learning Center to Support HBCUs

Media Contact

Monique LeNoir UNCF Communications 202.810.0231 monique.lenoir@uncf.org

Announced during National HBCU Week, new center to offer customized staff training and fundraising approaches to meet needs of HBCUs

As UNCF embarks upon innovations to lead the transformation of historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and its 37 member institutions, a Teaching and Learning Center (TLC) and related fundraising/philanthropy initiative have been created to address the need for more robust and intentional training and development opportunities for staff and faculty, UNCF announced today during National HBCU Week.

The annual National HBCU Week conference, Sept. 20-23, is the nation’s premier convening of institution executive leaders, faculty, students and supporters. It is implemented in close consultation with the White House and U.S. Department of Education.

“The TLC will create customized approaches to meet our 37 member institutions’ needs, as well as other HBCUs, to improve the skill development and self-fulfillment of their employees,” said Early W. Reese, chief operating officer, UNCF.

Despite the last two years of confronting an ongoing pandemic, economic uncertainty and social unrest, HBCUs continue punching above their weight by producing 80% of Black judges, 50% of Black doctors, 50% of Black lawyers, and 19% of degrees for Black students studying science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

“As this nation and the world evolves, TLC’s mission is to ensure the faculty, staff and administrators at our institutions have the resources and development opportunities they need to be successful,” said TLC’s Senior Director Dr. Shawna Acker-Ball, who previously headed the UNCF/Koch Scholars Program and has spent much of her professional career in higher education as an institutional administrator and adjunct faculty member.

“TLC is leading a comprehensive initiative with the support of UNCF leadership to establish the training, resources and support necessary to enhance capacity, growth and development across all operations of UNCF-member schools,” said Acker-Ball.

As part of its mission to promote teaching excellence at HBCUs, the UNCF TLC, in partnership with Strategic Education, Inc., is offering a faculty fellows program to support HBCU faculty in connecting their curriculum to business and industry. The program launched earlier this year during an inaugural cohort of 36 faculty in business and education spanning 24 UNCF-member institutions.

The goal of the program is to offer training to both help build faculty capacity and aid them in intentionally developing culturally relevant courses with embedded industry skills to give HBCU students a competitive advantage in the job market.

In addition, the TLC will provide HBCU fundraising professionals and institutional leaders opportunities to improve their skills through a new philanthropy institute to engage in best practices, receive ongoing learning support and create sustainable strategies to undergird fundraising resources and goals.

“The UNCF Teaching and Learning Center Philanthropy Institute is a timely and essential initiative. It specifically addresses the professional development gap related to fundraising that many small private HBCUs within the UNCF-member institution network face, due to limited resources,” said Leandra Hayes-Burgess, vice president, institutional advancement, Benedict College.

“With the launch of its new Philanthropy Institute, UNCF, in partnership with the Lilly School of Philanthropy, has eliminated this challenge and provided a forum where HBCU philanthropic practitioners can convene, learn and share best practices to help strengthen the fundraising operations of their respective institutions. I envision fundraising optimization and increased investment in UNCF-member HBCUs as a result of this strategic initiative,” said Hayes-Burgess.

“We look forward to collaborating with our UNCF-member institutions and other HBCUs across the country to provide the requisite means to advance their institutional mission and purpose,” said Acker-Ball.


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 13% of bachelor’s degrees, 5% of master’s degrees, 10% of doctoral degrees and 24% 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.