Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Joye Griffin

The MacArthur Foundation Grants $100,000 to UNCF
For Digital Media and Learning Public Forum Series

FAIRFAX, Va. (January 26, 2010) - UNCF--the United Negro College Fund--the nation's largest and most effective minority education organization, today announced that it has received a $100,000 grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation for the "UNCF Digital Media and Learning in Multicultural Contexts Public Forum Series." The forums will be convened by the UNCF Institute for Capacity Building's Curriculum and Faculty Enhancement Program (CFEP) at three UNCF member institutions: Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia (February 4, 2010); Huston-Tillotson University in Austin, Texas (March 25, 2010); and Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, North Carolina (April 8, 2010).

The purpose of the public forum series is to provide arenas for discussion of how youth, especially youth of color, use new digital media and social networking tools such as cell phones, digital video, IPods, Facebook, MySpace and Second Life. Faculty and students from historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), other minority-serving institutions (MSIs) and the broader higher education community will talk with audiences about their research and innovative application of digital media. The forums also will feature presenters who will share results of research supported by the MacArthur Foundation's digital media and learning initiative, and the Digital Youth Project, one of the first and most comprehensive studies of young people's use of digital media. The goal of the forum series is to spark more widespread interest among faculty and students at HBCUs and other MSIs in conducting digital media research.

The theme of the February inaugural forum at The Leadership Center at Morehouse College is "To Be Young, Digital and Black." The featured speaker will be African American scholar S. Craig Watkins, author of the book, The Young and the Digital: What the Migration to Social Network Sites, Games, and Anytime, Anywhere Media Means for Our Future.

The March 2010 forum at Huston-Tillotson University will focus on "New Networked Learning Environments" and will reveal emergent lessons from MacArthur Foundation-funded projects to build new learning environments and application of lessons inside and outside the classroom. The third public forum at Johnson C. Smith University in April will explore the application and policy implications of digital media and learning.

"Digital media are critical tools for the 21st century workplace and campus," said Michael L. Lomax, Ph.D., UNCF president and CEO, "and UNCF appreciates the MacArthur Foundation's support of our efforts to inspire students and faculty at HBCUs and other MSIs to engage with these new media in innovative ways and conduct groundbreaking research. The Digital Media and Learning Public Forums are ultimately meant to help spur more faculty and students of color to leverage technology to help America compete more effectively in a digital age."

Each forum is expected to attract an audience of up to 200 people, including college and university students and faculty, public school teachers and administrators, afterschool program directors, and other community stakeholders--including individuals affiliated with technology organizations. All of the forums will be made available to a wider audience via the Internet.

The UNCF Digital Media and Learning in Multicultural Contexts Public Forum Series marks the beginning of the organization's participation in the Digital Media and Learning Research Hub, an international center to nurture exploration of and build evidence around the impact of digital media on young people's learning. The Research Hub, created with support from the MacArthur Foundation, is headquartered at the University of California, Irvine and provides an infrastructure for research, communication and collaborative work around core research themes emerging from the MacArthur digital media and learning initiative.

For more information on the UNCF public forum series, contact Dr. Clarissa Myrick-Harris, director of the UNCF Institute for Capacity Building's Curriculum and Faculty Enhancement Program, at 404-302-8607 ext. 8525; email address:

The UNCF Institute for Capacity Building (ICB) was established in May 2006 to support strengthening the capacity of the 39 UNCF member private historically black colleges and universities in the areas of fundraising, enrollment and retention, academic programming and faculty development, financial management, campus facilities and executive leadership and governance.

About UNCF
UNCF--the United Negro College Fund--is the nation's largest and most effective minority education organization. To serve youth, the community and the nation, UNCF supports students' education and development through scholarships and other programs, strengthens its 39 member colleges and universities, and advocates for the importance of minority education. UNCF institutions and other historically black colleges and universities are highly effective, awarding 18 percent of African American baccalaureate degrees. UNCF administers more than 400 programs, including scholarship, internship and fellowship, mentoring, summer enrichment, and curriculum and faculty development programs. Today, UNCF supports more than 60,000 students at over 900 colleges and universities across the country. Its logo features the UNCF torch of leadership in education and its widely recognized motto, "A mind is a terrible thing to waste."® Learn more at

About the MacArthur Foundation
The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation supports creative people and effective institutions committed to building a more just, verdant, and peaceful world. In addition to selecting the MacArthur Fellows, the Foundation works to defend human rights, advance global conservation and security, make cities better places, and understand how technology is affecting children and society. In 2006, MacArthur launched its digital media and learning initiative to explore how digital media are changing the way young people learn, play, socialize and participate in civic life and what that means for their learning in the 21st century. More information is available at