March 28, 2013 – A group with ties to Fort Valley State University promises their new book will help the nation’s historically black colleges and universities thrive. “A New Life for Historically Black Colleges and Universities: a 21st Century Perspective,” recently published by McFarland Press, identifies challenges that HBCUs are currently facing, and provides strategies to overcome them.
Eight FVSU faculty and former FVSU administrators authored portions of the book. The collaboration includes Women’s Center director Juone Brown, history faculty membersDrs. Meigan Fields, Dawn J. Herd-Clark and Komanduri S. Murty, and former FVSUadministrators Drs. Vann Newkirk, Annie Payton, Julius Scipio and Daniel Wims.
“We wanted to develop a new paradigm that HBCUs could successfully operate under,” said Newkirk, former FVSU associate vice president for academic affairs, who now serves as an associate provost and graduate school dean for Alabama A&M University.
According to Newkirk, the idea for the book originated from think-tank discussions that the group held regarding two separate proposals by politicians. In 2009, after Georgia state senator Seth Harp suggested the merger of two historically black colleges with predominantly white colleges to save money. Later, Mississippi governor Haley Barbour asked that his state’s three predominately black colleges merge.
“We wanted to look at HBCUs that were successful and those that lost accreditation, and we wanted to see what we could do to help HBCUs,” said Newkirk. He says that their book is already being put to use by several national HBCUs.
The work includes essays, which discuss HBCUs’ origins, the politics of access to opportunities, and management and governance within historically black institutions. The book, published by McFarland Press costs $45 and is available on Amazon.com.
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Christina D. Milton, writer
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