Clark Atlanta University recently received two grants totaling more than $4.5 million. The first grant lays the groundwork for a new legacy within the Department of Counseling Education, while the second continues the 50-year legacy of CAU’s Upward Bound program.
“These grants demonstrate that our cutting-edge research and commitment to making college accessible to traditionally underserved students are both worthy of investment,” said CAU President Ronald A. Johnson. “This year, as we celebrate 30 years of the consolidation of Atlanta University and Clark College, it is gratifying to see the legacies of our parent institutions are being driven forward as Clark Atlanta University lifts every voice and ignites new possibilities.”
The University beat out fierce competition to become the only institution to receive a recent Health and Human Services (HHS) grant, with a total award of $1,804, 697 to establish a new center of excellence for the University called HBCU C.A.R.E.S. (Career Awareness, Recruitment and Engagement Services) for Behavioral Health. It officially kicks off September 30, 2018, with a first-year budget of $213,333 to fund the program’s set-up.
The grant was administered by HHS’s Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration, whose mission is to reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on America’s communities.
Dr. Leonissa Johnson, assistant professor of school counseling and the grant’s principal investigator, plans to set up a career awareness advisory council that will engage the 10 HBCUs that currently have behavioral health programs and eventually create a network of faculty across all HBCUs. To share information with the larger public, a website will be created that will serve as a clearinghouse of information.
“We will be very intentional about sharing information and programming with all HBCUs. Our goal is to have a connection with at least one person at each HBCU,” said Johnson. Additionally, an ambassadors program will annually serve 25 graduate students (100 students altogether over the life of the grant) from HBCUs as they explore knowledge-sharing and networking opportunities. Once a year, they will converge at CAU for a two- to three-day experience where they will be required to create material and presentations on their areas of study so that they practice sharing information and talking with individual students.
The second grant extends the 50-year life of the University’s Upward Bound program for another five years. When the Department of Education announced grant winners this spring, CAU took its familiar place on the list. The institution was awarded a five-year grant of $2,755,000 — or $551,092 a year.
Upward Bound plays a crucial role in providing access to lower-income and first-generation students who traditionally have found it challenging to attend college. Upward Bound students take core classes, and seniors are able to take two college courses that are transferable to any college they attend in the fall. Students also are instructed in college readiness, such as applying for college, financial aid and scholarship programs.
“We’re providing a holistic approach to help them map out their future,” said Zandra Genous Tate, director of CAU’s Upward Bound program. “This is our opportunity to increase the number of students of this population who get in college and complete college.”