A Link To The Future: A Pilot Study Look At How Historically Black Colleges And Universities With Journalism And Mass Communications Units Use The Internet In Recruiting

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Jerry Crawford, II


HBCUs – Historically Black Colleges and Universities, PWIs – Predominantly White Institutions, Digital Divide – Term used to describe the technology/Internet gap between minorities and whites in America, Usability – The ease by which a user can navigate a


Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) have had the ability to recruit African-American students since the 1860s by stressing a sense of inclusion and family through their mission statements and community outreach. There was little to no competition for African-American students from predominantly white institutions until integration was fully implemented a hundred years later in the 1960s. HBCUs, by their standing in the community, have been a gateway to first generation college students, regardless of race or social class status and "many continue to have 'open' admissions policies, welcoming all who wish to attend college, regardless of previous academic performance.

Today, HBCUs have to actively recruit students students that can now apply and enroll in Predominantly White Institutions (PWIs) with the use of technology that includes the Internet. How has the digital divide changed from its classification in the 1960s? How are African-Americans using the web and are HBCUs using the Internet to inform, recruit and enroll African-Americans today?

This pilot study looks at HBCUs that have Journalism/Mass Communications units to examine if their websites have a good sense of usability and interactivity for African-American students looking to go to college, primarily as first-generation students.


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