The academies reflected the great diversity of America’s educators. Fourteen Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) sent faculty, STEM students and IT staff to participate in the Nashville academy, hosted by Tennessee State University. Each of the HBCUs will spend the next year adding coding courses and clubs to their campuses — and Apple and TSU will support their efforts with on-site visits and online training.
For Dr. Robbie Melton, TSU’s interim Dean of Graduate and Professional Studies and the catalyst for the Nashville academy, this partnership means a new start for the HBCU community, with the goal of boosting enrollment nationwide.
“Without this mission critical initiative, our students will not be prepared and can’t compete in the digital world of today,” says Dr. Melton. “And we’re looking at this as a holistic initiative, where no one will be left out. We’re going to immerse the entire community in coding.”
Dillard University computer science instructor Dennis Sigur, who has taught at HBCUs for more than two decades, believes this program is crucial to helping his students realize career opportunities in app development.
“For the HBCUs, it’s another door to success,” says Sigur. “Most of our students come from backgrounds where in high school there are no computer science classes offered, so that first taste of technology aside from their cell phone and the internet is on their college campus. So this has a major impact for our universities.”