Magazine article Diverse Issues in Higher Education

Forging Relationships Abroad

Magazine article Diverse Issues in Higher Education

Forging Relationships Abroad

Article excerpt

Longtime HBCU teacher education advocate Boyce Williams talks about her new role at NAFEO.

Dr. Boyce C. Williams had already secured her legacy as an advocate for Black colleges and AfricanAmerican teachers when she accepted a new position last month at the National Association for Equal Opportunity and Higher Education.

The former vice president for institutional relations at the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), Williams helped develop a strategy that doubled by 2001 the number of education programs at historically Black colleges and universities that pursued or earned accreditation, up from 40 percent of those programs in 1991.

After nearly two decades of providing quality teacher instruction to departments and colleges seeking accreditation, Williams has a new task: helping HBCUs secure a place in the 21st century.

As the newly appointed senior vice president and chief of staff for NAFEO, Williams is forging stronger relationships between HBCUs and colleges and universities in the Middle East while improving accreditation inadequacies for both groups.

DI: What prompted your departure from NCATE after nearly 16 years of service?

BW: I spent almost 15 months in 11 different countries. When I returned to Washington, I knew that I couldn't go back [to NCATE]. Outside of Egypt and Jordan, the whole concept of education and literacy is new. These people have been desert people for generations. The oil and the money is only about 30 years old. In order to compete on the world stage, they have to be educated. That, to me, hearkens back to what it must have been like when HBCUs were founded. At some point we began to build capacity and infrastructure for ourselves. That's what they are doing. I'm a product of an HBCU, Lincoln University in Pennsylvania. I feel like I have been blessed to have come full circle.

DI: You traveled throughout the Middle East studying the readiness of those nations to pursue NCATE accreditation. Has that work been concluded?

BW: The work had been commissioned for another two years. The Saudis were ready to fund it, as were the Kuwaitis. But I wasn't sure if NCATE was in a position to really carry out what needed to be done with the limited staff and resources. We [didn't] have the personnel to devote to this. I can't half step. I cannot be over there, by myself, traveling from one country to the next, in the name of NCATE, knowing that NCATE is in the U.S., and they don't know exactly what I'm doing. …

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