The Atlanta University Center Consortium Celebrates 90 Years of Collaborative Learning

Founded in 1929 when the leaders of six historically Black colleges and universities in Atlanta decided to form a consortium that would collaborate on programs, resources, and services, the powerful learning and research epicenter would produce some of the world’s most brilliant leaders and effective change agents.

Operating on behalf of its member institutions, Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse College, Morehouse School of Medicine and Spelman College, the AUCC is a community of nearly 12,000 students, faculty and staff, and collectively sits on more than 270 acres near downtown Atlanta. Though no longer members, Morris Brown College and the Interdenominational Theological Center made significant contributions to the AUCC’s rich legacy of scholarship, service and community engagement.

“Through adeptly supporting its member institutions, the Atlanta University Center Consortium has adjusted its focus to meet the important challenges and opportunities of the times,” said AUCC Executive Director Todd Greene. “Indeed, while our member institutions have always been engaged in improving the economic mobility of African Americans, the current era underscores this important need to ensure African Americans can thrive in an increasingly dynamic national and global economy.

“Today, the AUCC is laser focused on developing and enabling innovative and sustainable approaches to position our member institutions for continued strong academic outcomes for students and for important research discoveries.”

According to the National Science Foundation, both Spelman and Morehouse colleges graduate more women and men, respectively, who go on to earn doctorates in STEM fields than any other institution in the country. CAU, Spelman and Morehouse rank high for the improved social mobility of its graduates. CAU is home to the Center for Cancer Research and Therapeutic Development, America’s largest, most comprehensive academic prostate cancer research enterprise. MSM is at the forefront of increasing participation of minority patients in clinical trials, as well as addressing the lack of minority physicians who lead these trials.

Individual Institution’s Pr­­­­esident Quote

Rich Collaborations

All four member institutions bring unique strengths and resources to create a consortium that offers unparalleled opportunities for students and impact for the nation. The world’s oldest and largest association of HBCUs, the AUCC is home to the Dual Degree Engineering Program. The program intends to significantly increase the number of minority engineers who are globally aware, socially engaged­­, and well equipped for scientific, technological, engineering and mathematical careers.

In collaboration with a wide array of corporations, engineering schools and other partners, the program offers services that complement those provided by the AUCC DDEP member institutions: CAU, Morehouse and Spelman. To date, approximately 2,700 students have graduated through the AUCC DDEP.

The AUCC is a think-tank focused on thought-leadership, collaboration, and innovation for strategic initiatives that will yield meaningful and effective outcomes for each campus and the Atlanta University Center. Additionally, AUCC is providing a collaborative space to incubate innovative best practices relevant to the broader higher education community, with special focus and emphasis on underrepresented groups in higher education.

For example, the AUCC Career Planning and Placement Service provides the students of its member institutions access to internships, co-operative research opportunities, as well as access to permanent career opportunities. The AUCC serves as a centralized body through which corporations, non-profit organizations, government entities, and graduate and professional schools can interact with AUCC students for the purpose of hiring and the pursuit of post-graduate admission.

The AUCC hosts an Annual Career Fair and a Graduate & Professional School Fair, the largest events of their kind in the Southeast. Approximately 500 organizations recruit students for internships, permanent, and co-operative and research opportunities through the AUCC each year.

The institutions in the AUCC participate in numerous collaborative programs, many of which support producing a workforce where African Americans have been traditionally underrepresented in the new millennium. In 2018, the Walton Family Foundation awarded Spelman a $5.4 million grant to establish the Atlanta University Center Collective for the Study of Art History and Curatorial Studies. In conjunction with Walton Family Foundation grants to fund scholarships at Morehouse and CAU, the new initiative resulted in the creation of an Art History major and Curatorial Studies minor.

Several of the AUCC institutions benefit from the resources in the renowned Atlanta University Center Robert W. Woodruff Library, a nonprofit corporation. Through digital innovation and resource-sharing programs, the Library supports the teaching, learning and research missions of CAU, Morehouse, Spelman and ITC. The Library’s Archives Research Centerisnoted for its extensive and unique holdings of materials on the African-American experience, including the John Henrik Clarke Africana and African American Collection, the Henry P. Slaughter and Countee Cullen Memorial Collection, the Asa G. Hilliard, III, Papers,and the Morehouse College Martin Luther King Jr. Collection.

Building on the power of having graduate and undergraduate programs on one campus has proven to be a strong pathway to advanced educational opportunities. In 2017, MSM graduated the first 30 students of their Undergraduate Health Sciences Academy from Spelman, CAU and Morehouse. The UHSA is an evolving and dynamic component to MSM’s growing and extensive pipeline initiative designed to advance health equity locally, regionally and nationwide by identifying and equipping current health learners to become future health leaders. The primary objective is to recruit, select, mentor, and educate competent students from underrepresented and disadvantaged groups, who are dedicated to service, eliminating health disparities and promoting healthy communities.

Also, the AUCC assists in promoting positive change for a wide range of stakeholders in the surrounding neighborhood. Community engagement, service and positive social transformation are woven into the fabric of the AUCC, including promoting volunteerism with organizations like Trees Atlanta, the Atlanta Community Food Bank, and the Washington High School Cluster. Furthermore, AUCC institutions have made significant strides in addressing complex social issues on a global stage. By advancing solutions to the world’s water crisis, identifying strategies to eradicate violence against women and children, and reducing health disparities, the global civic engagement of AUCC faculty, staff and students is reflected across their research, teaching and service.


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