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Spelman College Joins National Higher Education Leaders in Launch of Taskforce on Higher Education and Opportunity Share a Spelman College Press Release


Jazmyn Burton 
Spelman College
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ATLANTA (March 18, 2021)
– Spelman College President Mary Schmidt Campbell, Ph.D., recently joined higher education leaders from across the country to launch the Taskforce on Higher Education and Opportunity. 

Made up of leaders from public, private, two-year and four-year institutions, the Taskforce intends to address the challenges that disproportionately impact students and communities of color including the coronavirus pandemic, income inequality, the changing nature of work, and the rise of unemployment among college graduates since the 2008 recession. 

 “As an institution born out of the will to create a space for Black women to access education, Spelman is proud to join in the effort to develop solutions to the inequities that could hinder the success of our graduates,” said Dr. Campbell. “Statistically, Spelman students have exceeded the national six-year graduation rate for Black students by 30 percentage points. Through this task we have been able to work collectively to identify a range of strategies that will help them reach their fullest potential, while disrupting the trends that seek to postpone their progress.”

The Taskforce will focus on three key goals: ensuring student success despite the recession, partnering with local communities, and reimagining how higher education is delivered. 

Schools will take individual and collective action to meet the shared mission of the Taskforce through new goals set every six months. In addition, Taskforce members will develop programs to support local communities.

During the spring semester, Taskforce members will begin launching new initiatives to prepare graduates of 2021 - 2023 for success in the post-pandemic economy through internships, mentoring, credentialing opportunities and other professional development programs.

To learn more about the Taskforce and member institutions, visit

About Spelman College
Founded in 1881, Spelman College is a leading liberal arts college widely recognized as the global leader in the education of women of African descent. Located in Atlanta, the College’s picturesque campus is home to 2,100 students. Spelman is the country's leading producer of Black women who complete Ph.D.s in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). The College’s status is confirmed by U.S. News & World Report, which ranked Spelman No. 54 among all liberal arts colleges, No. 19 for undergraduate teaching, No. 4 for social mobility among liberal arts colleges, and No. 1 for the 14th year among historically Black colleges and universities. The Wall Street Journal ranked the College No. 3, nationally, in terms of student satisfaction. Recent initiatives include a designation by the Department of Defense as a Center of Excellence for Minority Women in STEM, a Gender and Sexuality Studies Institute, the first endowed queer studies chair at an HBCU, and a program to increase the number of Black women Ph.D.s in economics. New majors have been added, including documentary filmmaking and photography, and partnerships have been established with MIT’s Media Lab, the Broad Institute and the Army Research Lab for artificial intelligence and machine learning. Outstanding alumnae include Children’s Defense Fund founder Marian Wright Edelman, Starbucks Group President and COO Rosalind Brewer, political leader Stacey Abrams, former Acting Surgeon General and Spelman’s first alumna president Audrey Forbes Manley, actress and producer Latanya Richardson Jackson, global bioinformatics geneticist Janina Jeff and authors Pearl Cleage and Tayari Jones. For more information, visit


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