The Black College Communication Association (BCCA) is a not-for-profit organization, established through a grant from the Freedom Forum. Membership consists of administrators at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) with communications programs. The BCCA operates through annual dues from members and grants from foundations. The mission of BCCA is to identify resources necessary for strengthening communications programs at HBCUs; provide technical assistance to HBCUs seeking accreditation; and establish state-of-the-art hardware systems which can be shared by member institutions to promote the understanding and advancement of communication as an academic and professional field.
Capabilities of BCCA
BCCA provides technical assistance to 40 communications programs within the 105 HBCUs in the United States. The nine HBCUs accredited by the Accrediting Council for Education in Journalism and Mass Communications are members of BCCA and offer technical assistance to other HBCUs seeking accreditation. They include: Florida A&M University, Grambling State University, Hampton University, Howard University, Jackson State University, Savannah State University, Southern University-Baton Rouge, North Carolina A&T State University and Norfolk State University.
According to a survey of 20 HBCUs conducted by the Howard University School of Communications in October 1996, half of the communications programs at HBCUs have an enrollment of more than 200 undergraduates. All of the schools in the survey offer a Bachelor’s Degree, 75 percent offering a Master’s Degree, and five percent offer a Ph.D. Degree. Howard University, a member of BCCA, has the largest enrollment of students in doctoral programs of any university in the United States (50 enrolled in 1997).
Areas of specialization in communications among the HBCUs include broadcasting, cablecasting, journalism, public relations, advertising, mass media studies, speech pathology and audiology. Locally, these programs have access to broadcast stations, cable television stations, video conference capability, satellite capability, and the internet. Computer labs for students and faculty are available in 33 percent of the schools, and many of the schools have access to the World Wide web. E-mail capabilities exist on half of the campuses.
BCCA sponsors joint projects with individual HBCUs. For example, in October, 1996 BCCA joined with Howard University in sponsoring a national video teleconference on “Telecommunications, Technology and African Americans.” The purpose of the video conference was to bring together leaders in the communications and information technology industries, policy makers, community leaders and students to discuss technological issues affecting the African American community. During the video conference HBCUs participated in a round table discussion with leaders from the corporate and philanthropic communities to discuss, “The Future of Communication Programs at Historically Black Colleges and Universities.” As a result of the video conference BCCA is seeking funds to build a state-of-the-art infrastructure which can help HBCUs meet the technological, economic, political and social needs for preparing students, faculty and the community for more effective communication in the 21st century.