Roy L. Beasley wants to change the fundamental mission of HBCUs to reflect the nature of the desegregated higher education system.
It’s time to leave the “historical” HBCUs to history. Whereas back in the early 1970s, over 80 percent of African American college students still attended HBCUs, not even 20 percent do so today; and the long-term trend is further downward. In other words, the days in which HBCUs were the largest suppliers of postsecondary educational opportunities for African Americans are over. Given the magnitude of the new challenges, the nation would be well advised to stimulate the development of a number of innovative institutions which, for now, I will call “BCUs.” Their core mission would have two components, the first of which would be to develop, demonstrate, and disseminate more effective methods for educating the nation’s African American students. Please note that the following paragraphs propose specifications for BCUs that are already met in whole or in part by many existing HBCUs, but their core missions are different.
Beasley has some interesting ideas, including a few specific proposed changes in core mission that would mark an institution’s change an HBCU to BCU:
[BCU’s would have a] commitment to conducting high-quality research on issues that have disproportionately negative impact on African Americans and on other peoples of color in Africa and throughout the African Diaspora. BCUs would also offer masters and Ph.D. programs whose students would learn how to extend or apply this research.