ASCEND Initiative

On March 5, 2024, Provost Scott Strobel announced the Alliance for Scholarship, Collaboration, Engagement, Networking and Development (ASCEND) to strengthen Yale’s partnership with HBCUs, whose missions center on the education of Black Americans. Over the next five years, Yale will commit $2 million annually, for a total of $10 million, to this initiative. ASCEND will support research collaborations between HBCU and Yale faculty, provide resources for HBCU faculty research projects, and expand pathway programs for HBCU students. These programs, planned in collaboration with HBCU partner institutions, commit to increasing representation and amplifying the significant contributions of HBCUs in shaping the academic landscape.

Fostering excellence in teaching and research

The following programs, which will launch this summer, create dynamic partnerships between HBCU and Yale faculty.

Faculty collaboration grants will provide funding to HBCU and Yale faculty who conduct research that transcends institutional boundaries, encourages interdisciplinary inquiry, and contributes collective expertise to global challenges. These grants encourage faculty to combine their perspectives and scholarly strengths to create novel insights and outcomes. More information about the program and application process are available here.

Faculty research fellowships, for one summer or one semester, will offer funded fellowships for HBCU faculty members to pursue ambitious research projects at Yale, enabling research collaborations, access to Yale’s collections, and engagement with other university resources. More information about these fellowships and the application process are available here.

Teaching fellowships will support HBCU and Yale faculty who form a collaborative teaching arrangement or offer joint course experiences. These fellowships will also support exploratory projects or research inquiries that arise from collaboration between HBCU and Yale faculty. More information about the program and application process are available here.

Increasing educational access

In addition to faculty research and teaching programs, ASCEND will expand existing pathway programs to provide opportunities to more students from HBCUs.

Summer undergraduate research fellowship program: beginning in 2024, Yale will expand the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) program to increase HBCU student participation. Fellows are given opportunities that help promising undergraduates explore and prepare for Ph.D.-level careers. Information about this program and the application process is available here.

Postbaccalaureate (pre-doctoral) fellowships: Starting this fall, the number of HBCU graduates who participate in postbaccalaureate programs at Yale will increase.  Offered through the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, these programs give fellows the opportunity to conduct independent research under the supervision of a faculty member, meet first-year graduate students, and participate in workshops that prepare them for application to Ph.D. programs. Information about this program and the application process is available here.

HBCU partner institutions

Currently, eight HBCUs have committed to formal institutional partnerships with Yale: Hampton University, Jackson State University, North Carolina A&T State University, Claflin University, Morehouse College, Morgan State University, and Tuskegee University. In the coming months,  this list of partners will grow. Faculty and students from these partner institutions are eligible to participate in ASCEND programs.


Please reach out to Lakia Scott, Ph.D., Assistant Provost for Faculty Development and Diversity with questions about these partnerships and programs.