N.C. A&T Establishes Center of Excellence for Social Justice

By Markita C. Rowe / 09/21/2023 College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

EAST GREENSBORO, N.C. (Sept. 21, 2023) – North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University has announced the opening of the Center of Excellence for Social Justice, dedicated to fostering educational opportunities for students and faculty to generate new discoveries through research, engagement and outreach while promoting collaborative action and innovation in the crucial areas of social, economic and racial justice.

Jelani M. Favors, Ph.D., N.C. A&T Henry E. Frye Distinguished Professor and award-winning author, leads the center. An A&T alumnus who joined the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences’ Department of History and Political Science in 2021, Favors is a dedicated educator and a highly respected expert on the history of Black colleges and universities.

“The Center of Excellence for Social Justice is a dynamic hub where students and faculty mentors will work together to identify and address issues affecting marginalized communities, striving to implement impactful policy-based solutions,” said Favors, author of the acclaimed book Shelter in a Time of Storm: How Black Colleges Fostered Generations of Leadership and Activism. “By leveraging academic expertise and community engagement, the center aims to make a positive difference in the lives of those facing systemic challenges and inequality.”

The Center of Excellence for Social Justice will house transformative programs, including The Power of Four Fellowship Program, which focuses on selecting four freshman students each year, providing them with the resources and support to scale up national and global social equity projects during their four years at A&T; the Social Justice Scholar-in-Residence program, which will bring exemplary activists who champion diversity and inclusion to campus annually; and the Youth in Action Prize, which will exemplify the legacy and tradition of activism among young people.

Additionally, the center has launched the Building Bridges Roundtable, which will provide community members with the opportunity to create a stronger and more inclusive city by gathering with center staff on a monthly basis to discuss solving local issues.

“The opening of the Center of Excellence for Social Justice marks a pivotal step in our ongoing commitment to cultivating a fair and inclusive society,” said Frances Ward-Johnson Ph.D., dean of the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences. “Through enabling our students and faculty to actively participate in research, outreach and advocacy, we are cultivating the foundations for a more promising future, one that champions the ideals of social, economic and racial justice.”

The center is supported by an $850,000 grant from the Andrew Mellon Foundation, which will fund many of its initiatives. Founded in 1969, the Mellon Foundation’s mission is to “strengthen, promote, and defend the centrality of the humanities and the arts to human flourishing and to the well-being of diverse, fair, and democratic societies.”

The celebration of the center’s opening will take place the week of Oct. 30, during A&T’s homecoming celebration. The center will be located on the first floor of the General Classroom Building on A&T’s campus.

For more information about the center and its programs, visit its website.

Media Contact Information: mcrowe@ncat.edu

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