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B-CU Chosen to Participate in National Initiative, Preparing Critical Faculty for the Future

B-CU has been chosen through a national competition sponsored by the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) to participate in Preparing Critical Faculty for the Future (PCFF), a project that supports women of color faculty in science, technology, engineering, mathematics (STEM) disciplines in becoming strong academic and administrative leaders, both on campus and within their respective disciplines.

The project is funded by the National Science Foundation's Historically Black Colleges and Universities-Undergraduate Program (HBCU-UP).  The 13 institutions selected represent many different types --including two-year and four-year, public and private institutions.

Herbert Thompson, dean of B-CU's School of Science, Engineering, and Mathematics was elated to hear that B-CU was chosen to participate in this program. Thompson says the funding will help in faculty development and will enable the participating faculty to better serve their students.

"By receiving this grant, it shows that Bethune-Cookman is a competitive school. There was a limited number of grants to give out, and B-CU was one of the few to acquire one," said Thompson. "Grants like these are important to B-CU and really help the school's image."

Some of the institutions awarded include Edward Waters in Jacksonville, Fla., Alabama State, Tuskeegee and Morgan State.

B-CU has nominated Dr. Alexis Brooks-Walter, assistant professor of biology and Dr. Torina Lewis, assistant professor of mathematics, to participate in all phases of the project along with colleagues from the other participating institutions. A larger team of individuals from B-CU will also join these two faculty members to attend an AAC&U summer institute in July 2012 on "Engaging Departments."
The goals of the PCFF project include providing professional and leadership development for women of color faculty in STEM and behavioral science disciplines, improving undergraduate STEM education at HBCUs and beyond, and providing participants with the opportunity and the financial support to engage in and influence the national dialogue on improving undergraduate STEM education.

"The faculty members participating in this project include many talented individuals who will be leaders both in their institutions and nationally in the coming years," said Alma Clayton-Pedersen, AAC&U senior scholar and project director. "Through this initiative, we hope to provide support to a network of scholars and teachers who can help each other and the rest of the nation as we all seek to enhance undergraduate STEM education for students at HBCUs and at all different kinds of colleges and universities, especially those historically underserved."

Project participants will both contribute to and gain from national efforts to develop and implement innovative STEM teaching and learning practices and effective curricular change strategies. By uncovering useful strategies for preparing women of African-American faculty for academic leadership in STEM fields, PCFF expects to benefit STEM education broadly as well as at HBCUs.

This initiative is supported with a grant from the National Science Foundation.  For additional information about the project, visit

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About Bethune Cookman University:

Founded in 1904 by Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune, Bethune-Cookman University (B-CU) today sustains her legacy of faith, scholarship and service through its relationship with the United Methodist Church and its commitment to academic excellence and civic engagement.  B-CU offers 38 degrees on its main campus and online college. Located in Daytona Beach, B-CU is one of three private, historically black colleges in the state of Florida. The institution boasts a diverse and international faculty and student body of nearly 4,000.  For more information, visit

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