When Tennessee State University (TSU) President Glenda Glover welcomed students, faculty, and staff back this fall, one achievement that got a special mention was a partnership with Apple and the hosting of the HBCU C2 Academy in July. TSU also announced a new computer applications course,  part of the HBCU C2 initiative that the university launched together with Apple, Inc.

“This course is the first of its kind to address an individual’s working and learning style where they can take the course on-ground, online, hybrid or at the Apple Store,” said Dr. Robbie Melton, Tennessee State University’s Dean of Graduate and Professional Studies, and program director for the coding initiative.

Melton, seen left in the photo taken by TSU Media, hosted the HBCU C2 event with TSU President Dr. Glenda Glover (center) and Dr. Alisha Mosley, interim vice president of academic affairs.

At the July 14-19 event, leaders of 14 historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), including Tennessee State, through its newly established National Center for Smart Technology Innovations, met to bring coding and creativity (known as C2) experiences to HBCUs. The HBCU C2 Academy explored how HBCUs and partners can work together to learn about coding and app development using Apple’s popular Swift programming language.

“Coding and app development are a growing part of the global workforce, and we want to help make sure people of color, especially our students, are equipped with the knowledge and skills to be competitive, and successful,” said TSU President Dr. Glenda Glover.

Apple is supporting TSU with equipment, scholarships, and professional development to help the university launch its HBCU C2 initiative, which will bring coding and creativity opportunities to HBCUs across the country.

“Motlow State Community College is pleased to be a partner in this initiative alongside Tennessee State University,” said Dr. Michael Torrence, president of Motlow State Community College. “We are equally excited to have an HBCU collaborative focused on coding and creating..”

Bethune Cookman University also announced its participation in Tennessee State University’s HBCU C2 initiative designed to bring coding and creativity experiences to HBCUs and underserved communities.

“An evolving global economy requires that our students are able to compete. The HBCU C2 initiative is exactly the kind of training that extends their technical fluency, boosts their adaptive capacity and positions them for high-paying careers of the future,” said Bethune-Cookman University President Dr. Brent Chrite.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary of a coder in 2018 was $84,280 with a bachelor’s degree.

Fisk University students, faculty, and leaders, including Provost Vann Newkirk and Chief of Staff, Joseph Watkins, attended the inaugural HBCU C2 Academy in Nashville.

“Coding and digital literacy is rapidly becoming as essential as math and English; we have a responsibility to prepare our students for jobs which might not exist at the moment,” said Fisk University President Dr. Kevin Rome. “We are excited about our partnership with TSU, Apple, and other HBCU counterparts as we fertilize the ground to position our students for success in the digital era.”

Other HBCUs that were part of the first cohort include Morehouse College, Norfolk State University, Prairie View A&M University, Texas Southern University, and the Xavier University of Louisiana.

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