GVSU Leaders Sign Second Agreement in HBCU Pipeline Program
September 20, 2021
Leaders at Grand Valley signed a second agreement with a Historically Black College/University, giving students at Saint Augustine’s University in North Carolina opportunities to earn master's degrees in advanced computing or engineering fields in as little as five years.
Representatives from GVSU and SAU met September 20 in North Carolina to sign the agreement. In April, Grand Valley and Fort Valley State University, in Georgia, signed a similar agreement and created a pipeline consortium to recruit other HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges/Universities) and HSIs (Hispanic Serving Institutions).
President Philomena V. Mantella said the consortium aligns with the university's strategic plan to attract a more diverse student population and also responds to the needs of West Michigan employers.
"We are so pleased to welcome students from Saint Augustine’s to Grand Valley soon," Mantella said. "They are set up for success by having a strong STEM educational foundation. At GVSU, they will find support and resources to continue their education and then begin their careers."
SAU Provost Josiah Sampson III spoke on behalf of SAU President Christine Johnson McPhail, who could not be at the signing. Sampson said the agreement presents an opportunity for social mobility for SAU students.
"We will also see increased opportunities for students who may not have known that certain doors would be opened for them," Sampson said. "Once they walk through that threshold, they will be prepared as contributing professional members of society."
B. Donta Truss, vice president for Enrollment Development and Educational Outreach, said this agreement gives students from SAU opportunities to find meaningful careers in fields like cybersecurity, applied computer science or biomedical engineering, for example.
"Grand Valley is not competing with the rich tradition of HBCUs," Truss said. "This is a collaboration to give Black and African/American students who come from SAU or a similar institution the resources and support they need to earn competitive jobs in disciplines not offered at their colleges."
SAU students can enroll at Grand Valley beginning in the Fall 2022 semester. There are six FVSU students currently enrolled at GVSU.
Paul Plotkowski, dean of the Padnos College of Engineering and Computing at GVSU, said the continuum of support provided to FVSU students from faculty and staff members at both institutions has helped ease their transition to Grand Valley. And he expects similar support for SAU students.
"The FVSU students have naturally reached out to their existing advisors in Georgia, as well as new advisors, for help as they navigate the differences between institutions, academic programs and expectations," Plotkowski said. "One student is now a resident advisor at a GVSU living center, and I think they have all enjoyed this recent stretch of Michigan's warmer weather."
SAU students will have access to scholarship and financial support, student support and retention services, Michigan in-state tuition rates, and opportunities to visit GVSU before enrolling.