Virginia Union University has created a new cultural pillar in its initiative to study Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). In fact, it’s the first of its kind in the nation.

The Center for the Study of HBCUs is being called the only research center of its kind in the nation dedicated to the study of HBCUs. The Center is the result of a partnership with the Southern Education Foundation (SEF). The vision for the Center is for it to become the country’s leading institution for the advancement of scholarship on HBCUs in the United States and beyond.  

Virginia Union University, courtesy of VUU

The Center has high expectations on what it seeks to accomplish, according to a statement it released.

“The Center has a discovery agenda that ranges from foundational inquiry to translational science and disruptive, transformational innovation that ensure the sustainability of Black colleges. Center staff and affiliates conduct rigorous, evidence-based research that aims to advance the research agenda, expand institutional capacities, transform institutions, eradicate institutional inequities, and ensure the future of HBCUs in the nation and beyond.”

The Center seeks to achieve its mission through four (4) primary activities or roles: CONDUCT research and scholarship; CONVENE the HBCU scholarly community and constituents; MOBILIZE resources in support of advancing HBCU research; and DISSEMINATE research and scholarship broadly.

Virginia Union University graduates, courtesy of VUU

The university’s leadership will head the center’s teachings. Virginia Union’s President & CEO, Dr. Hakim J. Lucas, will serve as the Center’s Executive Director. VUU’s Provost & Sr. Vice President of Academic Affairs, Dr. Terrell Strayhorn, will serve as the center’s Director.

Early resources of the center include lecture series all the way down to advice on how to cite research conducted at HBCUs. One November lecture series, called “Second Installment of VUU Web Lecture Series Focuses on the Power of the HBCU Story,” featured Forbes contributor Angela Hayes, and Dr. Janelle L. Williams is the Associate Dean of Graduate & Continuing Studies at Widener University. The Center also offers virtual events with Black academic leaders like Roland Martin and Michael Eric Dyson.