AME Colleges & Universitiesgreenspun.com : LUSENET : A.M.E. Today Discussion : One Thread
I would like to continue a related thread about AME involvement in education issues. First allow me to personally thank everyone who provided information about those AME churches around the country providing private secondary schooling for our students. Now, I would like to focus on higher education. Much to my surprise when I joined the AMEC very few of my fellow parishoners were graduates of AME supported colleges. With the lone exception of Morris Brown College none of the existing AME-supported HBCUs have a student enrollment which exceeds 3,000. With the exception of Atlanta-based ITC, none of the AME colleges have a distinguished graduate program for students seeking advanced, professional or terminal degrees. I think the time has come to consider consolidating the smaller and fiscally inefficient schools and thereby create what I propose as "super schools". It is no surprise that Morris Brown's success is based largely on strategic geography, Atlanta, GA. My AME "super schools" concept would place colleges in Philadelphia, PA, Los Angeles, CA, Chicago, IL and Nashville, TN. Catholic funded Xavier University in New Orleans, LA offers the best example of how an academically-focused HBCU can produce huge scholastic dividends. What we need is the academic equivalent of Notre Dame, Yeshiva Univ. or even a Brigham Young University. The super school concept is not a panacea but in its absence can we truly say with conviction that we are doing our very best in providing post-secondary and graduate school opportunities?
-- Anonymous, September 19, 2000
Bill's idea has some merit. As a recruiter for a major corporation, I often struggle in bringing in candidates from HBCUs in general, and AME schools in particular, because their academic programs are "behind the times." I think if we are going to encourage a school like Wilberforce or Morris Brown to update to terminal degrees, we should encourage disciplines that reflect the workforce and knowledge makeup required for the new millenium.
We must also recognize the competitive nature of the terminal degrees, and the power of incumbency/reputation. In almost every discipline, "top" schools come to mind: medicine (Harvard, Hopkins), engineering (MIT, CalTech, CMU, Georgia Tech), Business (Harvard, Stanford, Chicago), Law (Harvard, Yale), Divinity (Yale, Harvard, BU, Union, CRDS). WOuldn't it be nice to have one of our schools mentioned in such a list?
One addition to the graduate school list: Payne Theological Seminary, associated with Wilberforce.
To find out more about our schools, see the links to them, conveniently gathered on http://www.ghg.net/jlpayne/schools.html .
-- Anonymous, September 19, 2000
Jeryl, for convenience sake, here's the link.
-- Anonymous, September 25, 2000
With very few exceptions--actually two or three--Historical Black Colleges are by and large located totally in the South. This is due to the fact that they were the result of the efforts of the Freedman's Bureau and of church missionaries to meet the needs of the newely freed slave following the signing of the Emancipation Proclaimation and the end of the Civil War. A. M. E. Schools-- including Wilberforce--which lies just north of the line--also generally fall into this category. The thing which makes Morris Brown unique in this situation is that it was the brain child of one A.M.E. congregation in the South, namely Big Bethel in Atlanta, GA. When they were asked to provide classroom space for Clark College--which was being operated by what was in that day the Methodist Episcopal Church South, they concluded that it was therefore time to do the same for their own--the A.M.E. Church. This also was soon extended to include Turner Theological Seminary, its affiliated school for ministry. Secondly, and certainly no less significant, is the fact that for several decades the Historical Black Schools of Higher Learning in Atlanta have shared a unique relationship which is perhaps found no place else in the world. Under the umbrella of the Clark-Atlanta University Center(Previously known as the Atlanta University Center),this consortium pools their faculty, resource, and classroom facilities which allow them to operated in a university fashion, while retaining their unique individual identies and church afilliations. Thus, in some way the suggestion proposed here of having our schools offer graduate courses is already being met by both Morris Brown, as a part of the Clark-Atlanta University Consortium and by Turner Theoligical Seminary, which is a part of the Interdenominational Theological Center and which awards graduate degrees. Unfortunately, sometimes we as A.M.E.'s have too often let the rich heritage bequeathed to us by our forefaters pass us by. What is perhaps most needed now is for us to become aware of, shore up, and support what--with blood, sweat, and tears--our forefaters have given to us. Once again we ought to consider a return to the schools which have brought us--in the inmortal words of James Weldon Johnson, An Atlanta University graduate--"Out of the gloomy past, Till now we stand at last, Where the white gleam of our bright star is cast".
-- Anonymous, September 25, 2000
I agree totally agree with your position. It is sad when we as "Keepers of Allen" diminish the influence and productivity of our HBCU's. As a secondary guidance counselor and administrator in an urban school district, our historical schools have been the one vehicle of moving upward and outward for youth; particularly, those who do not meet the standards of the Harvards and MIT's. In comparison, the Wilberforce's and Morris Brown's of this day present a striking statistical record for retention and graduation. Also, these students, in fact pursue professional and graduate school avenues at the Dukes and Cornells! Predominant state schools, unfortunately present a poor record for seeing the "child of the ghetto" through the ivy towers to graduation day. (i.e. Two in ten children of color complete a state school which advertises "diversity" and ACT 101 entrance. Eight in ten children of color complete an HBCU.) Support, diversity, cultural affiliation, unmeasurable self-esteem and a premier education are just a few of the benefits of OUR schools. Each September,(including this one)I review the catalogs with dozens of high school students and their parents. It is a process of discussing/weighing expectations and formulating goals. I always present to the student the question "Where do you see yourself in five years"? The responses are always fascinating and tell me low-income African American, Latino and other youth of color Still Dream and see themselves in Corporations, Classrooms, Labs, Pulpits,Hospitals and Yes, Teaching in major Colleges and Universities! It is always more fascinating when in March, April and May the student stands at my door with a Letter of Acceptance from Morehouse, Howard, Cheyney or Lincoln. Those Historical Schools who took a chance on "The One". It seems that we do not need an academic equivalent of a Notre Dame but a mainstream of the best and finest educators from African Methodism to formulate a support system/think tank to preserve and creatively readjust our goals for the "student needs" of this day. I would like to think our beloved Founder chose this position.
-- Anonymous, September 26, 2000
I believe a growing problem in the AME Colleges/Universities is that the Connectional Church does not support its own colleges. We continue to raise budgets every quadrennium and the investment is never returned back to our schools.
-- Anonymous, October 23, 2000
From what I have seen there has never been much of an emphasis on the AME schools. I remember when I was leaving high school and I went to the college fairs I don't recall ever seeing recruiters from Allen, Payne, Wilberfore, or Morris Brown. Perhaps more recruiting should be done by these universaties as well as the seminaries to more of the Innercity areas.
-- Anonymous, October 24, 2000