Liberal Arts: Our HBCU Cornerstone

Humanities education is important for helping students develop critical thinking skills that are informed with a broader understanding of the world and are essential for maintaining a society with democratic participation and effective citizenship. However, many institutions of higher education have seen declining enrollment in majors within liberal arts.

To address this challenge and expose more students to liberal arts education, SEF launched Liberal Arts: Our HBCU Cornerstone initiative, with a planning grant from the Teagle Foundation. As an extension of the Teagle Foundation Cornerstone project, SEF is using this pilot to work with five Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to utilize liberal arts education to strengthen student learning, with a focus on transformational texts. This focus on liberal arts will help students, especially those in STEM fields, prepare for leadership roles which require creative thinking with the imagination and broad world view necessary to problem solve.

The five schools in the pilot project are Clark Atlanta University, Dillard University, Norfolk State University, Tuskegee University, and Virginia Union University.

Liberal Arts: Our HBCU Cornerstone is inspired by Purdue University’s Cornerstone Integrated Liberal Arts program, a 15-credit hour certificate program which incentivizes students to complete liberal arts classes to fulfil a large portion of their general education requirements by offering The Purdue Cornerstone certificate, noted on student’s transcripts, upon completion.

Liberal Arts: Our HBCU Cornerstone is guided by two distinguished advisors, Joyce King, PhD, Benjamin E. Mays Endowed Chair for Urban Teaching, Learning and Leadership, Georgia State University; and Everett B. Ward, PhD, former President of Saint Augustine’s University, former North Carolina state government administrator, and former General President of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated.