LANGSTON — Officials from Langston University say a $2.3 million grant will strengthen programs they might not otherwise be able to fund.
The five-year grant is through the U.S. Department of Education's Title III Part B program, also called the Strengthening Historically Black Colleges and Universities Program.
The program is designed to give colleges and universities the ability to make improvements or add programs they wouldn't otherwise be able to afford. Langston's grant was part of a $228 million package of grants given to 97 historically black colleges and universities nationwide.
“(Historically black colleges and universities) have made enduring, even staggering contributions to American life despite the steep financial challenges many have faced,” U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said. “The grants will help these important institutions continue to provide their students with the quality education they need to compete in the global economy.”
Annette Stanley, Langston's Title III director, said the university has used Title III funding for a range of programs, many entirely funded by grant money. The largest share has gone toward upgrading campus technology, she said.
Technology upgrades have included security measures such as cameras and emergency call boxes, as well as updated computers for labs, Stanley said.
The new public health program in the university's School of Nursing is one of the programs funded entirely through Title III funding, Stanley said. This is the first semester Langston has offered the program.
Program director Marshan Marick said it is designed to expose students to all the core areas of public health and also allow them to specialize in a specific area.
Marick said she expects to see the program grow in years to come. Ideally, she said, it would send its graduates into graduate programs, or to work in positions including hospital health educators.
To prepare students to work in the field, Marick said, the nursing program sends students through internships and other learning experiences with the Oklahoma State Department of Health, as well as health departments in Logan and Payne counties and nearby hospitals.
Stanley said she hopes to see the program feed students directly into graduate programs in the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center's College of Public Health.