The American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) is elated that the U.S. Department of Education has announced the first-ever grantees of the Augustus F. Hawkins Centers of Excellence Program. We also applaud the department’s decision to redirect an additional $10 million to bring the total funding for the Hawkins Program Grants to $18 million. Nine of the 12 grantees are regional comprehensive institutions (RCUs) and AASCU members.
“At a time when the country is facing a significant teacher shortage that has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, it is rewarding to see a new national investment in schools of education at Minority-serving institutions (MSIs). These institutions are vital for efforts to diversify the teacher corps as well as strengthen the educator pipeline,” said AASCU President Mildred García. “Out of the more than 500 regional comprehensive universities, 225 are MSIs. For us, these grants are just the start of a greater effort to encourage more of the 4.9 million diverse students enrolled at RCUs to become teachers and help grow their communities.”
Hawkins grants will support comprehensive, high-quality teacher preparation programs at historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs), Tribally Controlled Colleges and Universities (TCCUs), Hispanic-serving institutions (HSIs), Predominantly Black Institutions (PBIs), and other MSIs.
AASCU calls on Congress to continue to invest in the Augustus F. Hawkins Centers of Excellence Program. The nation must address the glaring disparity that exists between more than half of all learners across the country who are students of color and the less than 20 percent of educators who are of color.