Tag: 2020


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LANGSTON, Okla. – Langston University (LU) has received $1,300,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Education. The TRIO Student Support Service (SSS) Program grant will allow the University to serve more than 200 LU students each year. These services will include peer and professional tutoring, academic advising, learning communities, mentoring, cultural and social activities and career exploration. All SSS grants are funded for five-year grant award cycles.

The funding will allow LU to better serve low-income and first-generation students who demonstrate academic need and who are committed to enhancing their academic success. This assistance aligns with the University’s mission, the LU Strategic Plan, and HLC’s Criterion Three: Quality, Resources, and Support. The grant team led by Dr. Jason K. Johnson, LU Assistant Vice President of Student Success, is excited for the opportunities this will bring to the students. His team has begun the initial stages of implementing the program.

“Our program is designed to improve student outcomes including increased retention and graduation rates. I am excited for the opportunities that this will afford Langston University and our students,” said Dr. Jason K. Johnson.

“TRIO has been instrumental in supporting and providing opportunities for marginalized student populations and we plan to continue build our TRIO department.”

This is the first step in rebuilding LU’s TRIO program. To receive funding, the University had to go through an extremely competitive process, only 17 percent of the grants were awarded to new programs.


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By Christina Gray

LANGSTON, Okla. – Langston University welcomed more than 630 students for the 2020 incoming class, with multiple learning modalities giving students options whatever their circumstance. Classes began virtually on Monday, August 17, 2020. LU hosted a new student orientation, Lion Camp, for the incoming students coupled with a two-week intersession entitled “Fallmester”. Fallmester, along with Lion Camp, began on August 3, 2020.

The University was proud to welcome 100 new honors students within the incoming class, which is the largest honors class to date. LU scholars are required to take honors courses designed to develop communication skills, analytical thinking, creativity and leadership. The incoming freshmen class is among the most academically talented to ever be admitted to LU, demonstrating a significant improvement in both GPA and test scores over prior years.

“We continue to see the incredible interest of incoming students,” said LU President, Dr. Kent J. Smith, Jr. “I am proud to report that LU received more than 10,000 applications for our Fall 2020 class.”

With the return of students on the campus, the Emergency Leadership Team (ELT) has done a tremendous job of increasing its monitoring, vigilance, and efforts related to the virus and the health safety of the campus community. Updated protocols and processes were implemented for student move-in and orientation. For more information about the campus safety efforts, please visit the LU Covid-19 Resource Page.

Langston University is a public historically black college and university enrolling a close-knit community of under 3,000 students. Founded in 1897, LU is located in rural Logan County and has urban campuses in Oklahoma City and Tulsa. LU has been recognized as a top institution of higher learning for affordability, ranking number three among all Historically Black Colleges and Universities in the U.S., according to AffordableSchools.net. Langston offers more than 40 associate, bachelor, master, and doctoral programs across six academic colleges. Learn more at https://www.langston.edu.


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LANGSTON, Okla. — The presidents and chancellors of the nation’s 1890 Universities announced plans for a weeklong celebration from August 24-31 of the 130th anniversary of the federal legislation that designated them as land-grant institutions. The Morrill Act of 1890 established a land-grant university system of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in states where African Americans were banned from accessing public higher education.

“Langston University is one of the nineteen institutions within the 1890s land-grant universities that were established by the 2nd Morrill Act of 1890. We take great pride in it and continue to uphold the integration of the original mission of intellectual development and lifelong learning with research, public service, and outreach. We are committed to continuing planting the seeds that will ensure a better quality of life for the people within our communities,” said Dr. Wesley Whittaker, Dean of the School of Agriculture and Applied Sciences.

Higher education leaders, elected officials and policymakers, business and community leaders will join in an online celebration of the 1890 land-grant universities anniversary, culminating with a two-hour online forum on Monday, August 31 from 1:00-3:00 pm EDT that will explore the history and accomplishments of these institutions and the important role they play in the nation’s future. Registration for that convening is open to all here.

During the week of August 24, leaders and members of the 1890 university community, policymakers, businesses, and community leaders will use an array of platforms to reflect on and celebrate the legacy of these land-grant institutions, including on social media using #Celebrate1890s. They will highlight innovative programs at the 1890 land-grant universities and their role in developing solutions for local, regional, and global challenges. This week of activities will also include points of pride and/or significant accomplishments for each of the 19 1890 land-grant universities.

The celebration will end with a virtual webinar on August 31, 2020, from 1-3 p.m. EDT. This would have been an in-person gathering were it not for the pandemic, but the 1890 land-grant universities are committed to having a very meaningful event honoring their history and celebrating their current work. The webinar will have two-panel discussions. One panel will feature Makola Abdullah, President, Virginia State University; Heidi Anderson, President, University of Maryland Eastern Shore; Paul Jones, President Fort Valley State University; and Peter McPherson, President of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities. The webinar will also feature a second panel with private sector leaders such as Fred Humphries, Corporate Vice President of U.S. Government Affairs; Kellie Adesina, Director, Government Affairs, Bayer U.S. – Crop Science; and Karis Gutter of Corteva Agriscience.

The webinar will also feature remarks from prominent dignitaries such as Scott Hutchins, Deputy Under Secretary of Agriculture for Research, Education, and Economics; Representatives Alma Adams, Chair of the House Agriculture Committee; David Scott, Lead Sponsor of the 1890 Scholarship Program; and Sanford Bishop, Chair of the House Appropriations Committee; Sherrod Brown, Co-Lead Sponsor of the 1890 Centers of Excellence.

After 130 years, 19 universities designated as 1890 land-grant universities continue to work together to provide essential research, education, and Extension/public outreach that both sustains U.S. food, fiber, and renewable fuel production and addresses the challenges of our time at local, regional, national and global levels. The 1890 land-grant universities have a legacy helping to fill a crucial need of educating first-generation and economically disadvantaged college students; enhancing the resilience of limited-resource farmers, families, individuals, and underserved communities; and pioneering the most advanced and advanced education, research, and engagement programs to improve quality of life. With very little investment, the 1890s educate nearly 100,000 students annually, contribute more than $4.4 billion to the local economies, and provide pathways of opportunity for thousands of Americans.

The land-grant philosophy is even more relevant today, given the dynamic complexity of the socioeconomic environment where an integrated, iterative systems approach provides the best likelihood of generating solutions that are responsive to the complex dynamism of our environment. The 1890 land-grant universities are a perfect platform for addressing the three interlocking disparities of education, health, and economic prosperity made more evident by the COVID-19 pandemic. Looking ahead, the 1890 institutions plan to focus on these disparities while continuing to play a foundational role in the higher education system and in providing access and enhancing opportunities for all citizens.

“Land-grant institutions, specifically Historically Black institutions such as Langston University, continue to play a pivotal role in the shaping of young adults as they prepare to enter an ever-changing society,” said Dr. Kent J. Smith, Jr., President of Langston University. “Our mission and values remain focused on providing access to education and finding creative solutions to overcome challenges.”

The 1890 land-grant universities include: Alabama A&M University, Alcorn State University, Central State University, Delaware State University, Florida A&M University, Fort Valley State University, Kentucky State University, Langston University, Lincoln University in Missouri, North Carolina A&T State University, Prairie View A&M University, South Carolina State University, Southern University, and A&M College, Tennessee State University, Tuskegee University, the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, Virginia State University and West Virginia State University.


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TULSA, Okla. — Langston University President Kent Smith said an academic agreement with Oklahoma State University (OSU) will maintain Langston University’s (LU) presence in Tulsa while also strengthening the educational offerings of both institutions.

“I am pleased that OSU President Hargis recognized the potential of my proposal regarding the future of higher education in Tulsa. When making the proposal, it was important to me to preserve Langston University’s mission within the communities we serve, specifically North Tulsa,” said LU President, Kent Smith. “For us, this academic agreement allows us to focus on our programs of greatest strength and at the same time to enhance and expand our nursing program by partnering with the OSU Center for Health Services (OSU-CHS).”

“When President Smith proposed the concept some months ago, I was intrigued by the possibilities for both institutions,” said Burns Hargis, President of Oklahoma State University. “Both LU-Tulsa and OSU enjoy strong programs in Tulsa. This academic agreement will enable both institutions to pursue strategic objectives and to be more responsive long-term to the market’s higher education and workforce needs.”

LU and OSU are both governed by the OSU/A&M Board of Regents. The agreement is pending approval of the OSU A&M Board of Regents, which meets next week.

As part of the agreement, OSU and OSU-CHS will pay LU $15 million over a period of ten years. “The funds LU will receive from OSU and OSU-CHS will spur investment in innovative programs and services to distinguish LU and advance our mission to offer quality education to diverse populations,” Smith said. “As a historically Black college and university and a land-grant institution, we look forward to investing in and further elevating LU in both presence and stature while maintaining a presence in Tulsa.”

“I want to commend both LU and OSU for their efforts in identifying operational efficiencies and programmatic enhancements to better serve Tulsa and the surrounding region,” said Rick Davis, Chair of the OSU/A&M Board of Regents.

Davis also commended the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education (OSRHE) for signing an agreement earlier today with the Office of Civil Rights, resolving outstanding issues stemming from a complaint filed 17 years ago. “The agreement signed by the OSRHE helps create a clear path forward for LU to reimagine its role in Tulsa and beyond,” Davis concluded.


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Written by Christina Gray

Langston University has received a grant of $473,820 to preserve the historic cottage row district on the Langston campus. Dr. Nancy Alexander led the grant team that wrote in their proposal that the “preservation of this precious landmark not only results in the recognition, understanding, and preservation of the HBCU story but it keeps a flame burning that we should not ever let become extinguished.” Click here to learn more about its history and to read the full excerpt of the proposal.

The projected start date for the design and planning phase of this project is on July 1, 2020. “We wisely requested some time to design, develop and plan to be completed within the first 6 months,” said Dr. Nancy Alexander, Chair of the LU Business Administration Department.

“All of the renovation and restoration of the cottages will take place in year one which includes replacing doors, insulating the attics, and replacing the wiring. In year two, we are undertaking the campus beautification projects, which includes the installation of benches, new signage, and the installation of a storm shelter.”

“We are very grateful for the opportunity to preserve our historic cottage row district,” said Mautra Jones, LU Vice President of Institutional Advancement and External Affairs.

“The grant will provide support to maintain the integrity of the original structures and make necessary upgrades to the cottages. One of the crown jewels of the Langston campus, we take great pride in our cottages as our very own students helped build them in the 1930s. The grant team led by Dr. Nancy Alexander is elated to embark upon this special journey and looks forward to continuing showcasing Historic Cottage Row District to the entire state and nation. Additionally, we appreciate the Oklahoma Historic Preservation Society for its assistance in providing valuable guidance through the years regarding this Oklahoma treasure.”

The Historic Cottage Row District project is supported by the Historically Black Colleges and Universities grant program. It is funded by the Historic Preservation Fund and administered by the National Park Service Department of Interior. For more details, please refer to the National Park Service press release.


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Written by Christina Gray

The Langston University School of Agriculture and Applied Sciences (SAAS) recently received federal funding to offer additional scholarship opportunities to students through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) in partnership with 1890 Land Grant Universities. Langston University was awarded $752,632 in funding.

The scholarships created by this funding will support students pursuing degrees in food and agriculture sciences and other closely related areas as defined by the USDA. This program offers mentorship and opportunities to the Langston University undergraduate students within the SAAS. The scholarship program will begin in Fall 2020. Students can apply for this scholarship here.

“Langston University produces highly trained agricultural graduates in Oklahoma,” said Dr. Wesley Whittaker, Dean of the School of Agriculture and Applied Sciences. “Through this program, we are able to better develop students through mentorship and training opportunities. Furthermore, this opportunity will increase the number of qualified graduates that are placed in our state’s industries and graduate schools.”

About the 1890 Scholarship Program

The 1890 Scholarship Program provides scholarships to support recruiting, engaging, retaining, mentoring, and training undergraduate students. The scholarships are intended to encourage outstanding students at 1890 institutions to pursue and complete baccalaureate degrees in the food and agricultural sciences and related fields. By developing a highly-skilled workforce, the 1890 Scholarship Program helps facilitate rural prosperity and economic development aligning with USDA’s strategic goals. For full details, please refer to the official National Institute of Food and Agriculture press release.


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By Christina Gray

Just a few short months ago, no one could have predicted how COVID-19 would impact our institutions. A special team at Langston University started bracing for that impact early on, and the effect has been significant. The Langston University (LU) Emergency Leadership Team (ELT) has met daily to work on operational contingency plans for COVID-19 since the first confirmed case within the US was reported on January 21, 2020. The initial campus-wide advisory notification immediately followed and advanced screening protocols at the LU Health Clinic quickly followed. The campus community has consistently received updates via e-mail, on the COVID-19 landing page, and community telecommunication briefings from the Office of the President.

The University has been diligent in its proactive response to the crisis with the health and safety of its community members at the forefront of their efforts. “Our entire community has shown tremendous courage and creativity throughout a time of uncertainty and transition,” said President Smith.

“LU is profoundly grateful for the resilient spirit demonstrated by Lions everywhere. Together, we will overcome this challenge and emerge stronger and more innovative than ever before.” The team worked with campus facilities to implement deep cleaning practices across campus and modified operations to the LU dining service as part of their initial efforts. During the extended spring break, the community spaces on campus were deep cleaned, new protocols for campus safety were enacted, and additional hand sanitizing stations were deployed across campus. On March 27, 2020, the following enhanced measurements were implemented: limited access to campus, mandatory teleworking, and consolidated campus housing.

After spring break, a total of 1108 students returned to campus, but trends surrounding the virus and community transmission made it clear that changes to campus housing needed to be enacted quickly. The University worked to assist students in returning safely home. To date, only 80 students remain on-campus. At this time, only approved community members who have written approval from the Executive Policy Group of the ELT may remain in housing. Several student resources were made available to help them transition during this time, including travel funding, credit adjustments to accounts, and aided in student employment assistance. The Langston University Foundation also established an emergency fund to award mini-grants to students in need of funding.

Virtual Resources to Ensure Student Success

On March 30, 2020, all campuses were closed to the public and all coursework transitioned to fully online delivery through the end of the spring semester. The faculty worked to make academic accommodations for a hybrid delivery of coursework and leadership implemented expanded adjustments to campus operations. LU has enhanced its virtual resources to ensure student success throughout this time of distance learning. To help our students thrive, the University enhanced its library and technology resources and is providing virtual tutoring and virtual office hours. “Our dedicated faculty, staff, and students have embraced the challenge with grace, flexibility, and innovation as we all adapt to a new way of operating,” said President Smith.

“Our collective response affirms the values at the core of our University; that of unwavering loyalty and a mission to serve.”

Advanced Health Screening Protocols for Remaining Residents

As part of the COVID-19 efforts, the University hired an additional nurse practitioner dedicated to COVID-19 monitoring and new protocols. The University implemented advanced health screening protocols for approved residents. Any resident that experiences symptoms similar to or consistent with COVID-19 will be required to self-quarantine for a minimum of 14 days. Any confirmed cases will be placed in the designated quarantine spaces on campus.

The LU Police Department has implemented controlled access on all campuses. On the Langston campus, only one gate remains open. A checkpoint was established and is the single point of access for vehicles entering the campus. Additionally, no outside guests are authorized to visit any campus housing space while these mitigation protocols are in place. To date, no confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been reported at any campus or location associated with Langston University.

The University has initiated these strict protocols to ensure the continued health and safety of its community, including several precautionary measures to maximize the recommended social-distancing practices. “No one could have predicted the impact COVID-19 would have on our society, but one thing is certain and that is the resiliency of our community,” said President Smith.

“Taking care of one another is what Lions do best, and it’s how we intend to get through this challenging time.”