An Analysis Pertinent to an Intervention Strategy to Increase Alumni Engagement at a Historically Black College and University (HBCU)

Deborah Chisom, Tennessee State University


Alumni’s engagement and contributions are mission-critical to a university. Alumni’s role can be both financial as well as engagement in promoting and supporting the university’s vision, mission, and operations. In the case of HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges and Universities), alumni members also play a significant key role in communicating the heritage of the core foundation and purpose of the HBCUs, in recruiting students, and most importantly, supporting and providing resources through their engagement and donations. Institutions of higher education, especially HBCUs, depend on alumni engagement and resources to help offset declines in federal and state appropriations and declining enrollments. National surveys from 2017 have shown a significant decline in alumni giving from HBCUs in a time when HBCUs are significantly in need of financial support to maintain their existence. According to the National Alumni data of 2017, HBCU alumni donated significantly below the national average. According to the US News (2017), the average giving rate for HBCUs was a dismally low 11.2 percent. The review of literature produced numerous recent studies that highlight the noted declines and the significant variables that continue to contribute to the decrease as (a) satisfaction with the university when graduated, (b) current image and impact of the university, (c) affiliations with social groups while attending the university, and (d) life-long learning opportunities offered by the alma mater. This study attempted to analyze the attitudes and level of alumni engagement over a five-year period and to investigate if an intervention strategy of a complimentary career enhancement course at an HBCU state university would increase alumni’s attitudes and level of engagement to their alma mater, as well as their willingness to donate to their alma mater. This research investigation was designed to contribute to the body of research for increasing alumni engagement and giving, as well as to assist HBCU leaders in developing strategic plans for supporting their alumni with life-long learning opportunities that should correlate with increased resources and donations (human resources and financial) back to that institution.

Subject Area

Education finance|Higher education|Educational leadership

Recommended Citation

Deborah Chisom, "An Analysis Pertinent to an Intervention Strategy to Increase Alumni Engagement at a Historically Black College and University (HBCU)" (2020). ETD Collection for Tennessee State University. Paper AAI27837932.