FAMU Announced Historic Partnership with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund and the University of Phoenix
By Bre-Shara McCall
On Oct. 7, Florida A&M University (FAMU) announced a groundbreaking, technology-based learning partnership with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund and the University of Phoenix.
The initiative of this newfound partnership focuses on college readiness within the HBCU community, but more specifically, to “help train the Florida A&M University Developmental Research School (FAMU-DRS) faculty to use online resources to improve student learning and success, and design, equip and deliver new blended learning classrooms at the high school and middle school levels,” via FAMU press release.
FAMU-DRS students will be able to access high school content online, expanding learning opportunities, as well as serving as a recruitment tool. Ultimately, students throughout the state of Florida will be able to take courses offered by FAMU-DRS, in which developers are hopeful will lead to increasing enrollment rates for students seeking to continue their education at FAMU.
FAMU and FAMU-DRS are located roughly 1.5 miles from one another, one reason why this partnership is unique and the first of its kind. In the words of Bill Proctor, Leon County, Florida District 1 County Commissioner, you can “throw a stone across the street and hit a Ph.D.”
Eighth grade FAMU-DRS student, Leah Thomas, says this is a great way for her and her peers to learn. “I think this would offer a better learning environment for us and help us gain an advantage. As a student, we believe technology is our future and this is proof.”
The Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF), which includes a network of 47 public Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), considers preparing students attending member-schools that display leadership potential is just one aspect of its three-fold mission.
“Prior to the launch of this program, everything was focused on college and working with college students. What we’ve determined is that we need to go back further in the pipeline and assure students who arrive at HBCU campuses are prepared,” said Johnny Taylor, Thurgood Marshall College Fund CEO.
This is the TMCF’s first venture into the K-12 learning space in collaboration with a university and FAMU, a member of the TMCF, is the first public HBCU to receive this extraordinary opportunity.
“Today we saw a lot of firsts, FAMU-DRS will be the first high school online in this nature, Dr. Mangum is the first female president at FAMU,” said University of Phoenix CFO, Byron Jones. “The key is that you don’t want to be last.”