NAFEO President Lezli Baskerville – A voice for Blacks in Higher Education



National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education (NAFEO)President Lezli Baskerville – A voice for Blacks in Higher Education—

Lezli Baskerville, President & CEO of National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education (NAFEO), who represents the umbrella membership association for the presidents and chancellors of the nation’s 120 historically and 50 predominately black colleges and universities. See an update about  the White House Skills & Education Summit, as well as the Black Leadership Forum and the National Congress of Black Women.

NAFEO is the nation’s only 501 (c) (3), not-for-profit membership association of the presidents and chancellors of the nation’s richly diverse 105 Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and approximately 50 Predominantly Black Institutions (PBIs). NAFEO members are CEOs of 2- and 4-year public, private, land-grant, sectarian and non-sectarian, undergraduate, graduate and professional schools in 35 states, the District of Columbia and Virgin Islands. They represent 500,000 students, 53,000 faculty, and 5 million alumni worldwide. NAFEO member institutions educate disproportionate percentages of low-income students-in excess of 60% of the students enrolled at HBCUs are Pell eligible, on average. Because HBCUs educate disproportionate percentages of low-income students, they have designed, tested, and assessed myriad programs for increasing the numbers of low-income students prepared for, entering into and graduating from HBCUs and PBIs.

In a formal statement, NAFEO noted, “the ability of the nation to meet the challenges and seize the opportunities of today and tomorrow depends to a great extent on our science, technological, engineering, agricultural, and mathematics (STEAM) enterprises and ability. It also requires the United States to regain its preeminence in clean energy investments from renewable resources that do not damage the environment (solar and wind power); and to provide leadership in energy and environmental design (LEED) in transforming the manner in which our buildings, infrastructures and communities are designed, constructed, maintained to support and sustain the environment and our people. For the United states to maintain or gain preeminence in these areas that are critical to achieving our economic, environmental and other goals, we must invest more strategically in the institutions that are graduating disproportionate percentages of the growing populations prepared for STEAM and sustainability industries.

“We must train 100,000 new STEM teachers over ten years and create an American workforce and entrepreneurs prepared for a new generation of high-tech manufacturing and high-paying jobs.  To have an America that is “Built to Last,” President Obama “projects that we need to increase the number of college graduates to roughly 60% by 2020, which equates to approximately 8 million more Americans with a 2- or 4-year degree.

“It is projected that to realize an America that is “Built to Last,” the nation must educate roughly 2 million more African Americans and that 167,000 of these students must graduate from HBCUs.  HBCUs currently graduate about 35,500 students per year. To meet the President’s goal, HBCUs will need to increase the number of students they graduate per year from 35,000 to more than 57,000 by 2020. The nation must also educate hundreds of thousands of additional Hispanics, Asian Pacific Islanders, and Native Americans in STEM to realize the 100,000 new STEM Teachers and the “America Built to Last Goal.”

“HBCUs are just 3% of America’s colleges and universities, universities but they lead the nation in awarding degrees in the sciences, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) to blacks.  HBCUs graduate 22% of blacks with S&E bachelor degrees; are baccalaureate origins for 40% of African Americans pursuing graduate education in STEM, and 30% of African Americans who receive a PhD in STEM. Among known U.S. baccalaureate-origin institutions of black S&E doctorate recipients, the top 8 and 20 of the top 50 were HBCUs.  Fifty percent of African American elementary and secondary school teachers graduated from an HBCU.

“HBCUs are having the above returns despite the fact that, National Science Foundation data indicate that 6 of the top 20 predominantly white universities receive more federal funds for research than 79 HBCUs combined. ”

President Baskerville welcomed the opportunity to participate in the convening and views it as an important forum at which to underscore the vitally important role of the nation’s HBCUs and PBIs in expanding access and success for diverse students, especially students of least advantage.  Said President Baskerville “the White House Skills and Education Summit is an important convening at which to educate a wide range of stakeholders critical to the success of the nation’s increasingly diverse students, and for assisting in closing the achievement, attainment and civic engagement gaps, about the important role of HBCUs and PBIs in moving the nation toward economic equity and financial freedom. The Summit also offers a valuable venue for sharing with policy makers, policy shapers, practitioners, administrators, advocates, corporate and foundation executives the work in which NAFEO has been engaging, and to highlight the work it is committed to accelerate in preparing, inspiring and moving more low-income students to college completion.”


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