Stronger Together: A Briefing of Findings and Recommendations from the 2020 HBCU Action Nation Town Hall

Executive Summary

On May 14th and 15th, 2020, the HBCU Action Nation Town Hall, co-hosted by United States Distance Learning Association, the Online Learning Consortium, National Coalition of 100 Black Women, and Tennessee State University, brought together many esteemed panels of experts that came together to share their stories, challenges, and solutions, holistically addressing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on HBCU students, faculty and staff, institutions, and communities.

This two-day event provided an opportunity not just for those engaged with HBCUs to come together, but to gather information about the issues at the forefront of panelists’ and participants’ concerns, both for the immediate crisis and the upcoming challenges resulting from the pandemic. Panels throughout the event included:

  • Impact of COVID-19 on HBCUs/New Revenue Opportunities Presidential Panel
  • Accreditation and Regulatory Agencies
  • Business Continuity and Economic Realities Emergency Pivot: Teaching, Learning, and Operations Enrollment Management/Marketing and PR
  • Facilities and Grounds
  • Community Economics/Mayors and Civic Leaders
  • High Quality Online Delivery Systems: Emergency Preparedness Student Services/Athletics
  • HBCU Identity/Culture/Heritage
  • Best Practices in Digital and 21st Century Fundraising
  • Extra- and Co-Curricular Activities
  • Legislative and Policy
  • HBCUs and Broadband

Panelists included experienced and accomplished professionals and presidents from HBCUs, civic, community, and governmental leaders, business leaders, and representatives from philanthropic and accrediting organizations. Despite the significant breadth of topics and panelists, the event resulted in meaningful discussion and clear patterns of experiences and challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Three primary themes emerged, under which several sub-themes and cross-considerations were identified: Student Support, Funding, and Operations.

Suggested citation:

O’Keefe, L., Gunder, A., & Long, K.C. (2021). Stronger Together: A Briefing of Findings and Recommendations from the 2020 HBCU Action Nation Town Hall. Boston, MA: Online Learning Consortium.

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