Northern Illinois University today announced that the Association for Black Culture Centers (ABCC) will relocate its headquarters to the NIU DeKalb main campus, effective July 1, 2015. The association—which serves African American, Latino, Native American and Asian American campus culture centers across the country—is currently headquartered at Knox College, and the transition is expected to take up to two years.
“NIU values equality, diversity, inclusion and community in our student body, our faculty and staff, alumni and in the community and region we serve,” NIU President Doug Baker said. “In expanding NIU’s relationship with the ABCC and serving as the headquarter location, NIU provides another opportunity to enrich the educational experience of all of our students.”
The association’s focus on connecting culture centers in integral ways to student activities, academic programs and surrounding communities is aligned with Baker’s emphasis on building thriving communities through ethically inspired leadership.
“For the national Association for Black Culture Centers, our move to Northern Illinois University is both a culmination and beginning. All ABCC Board members are extremely pleased that the exchanges of the past 15 month have come to fruition, and that each party has agreed to utilize fully our resources in this transitional period regarding mutually beneficial initiatives,” said ABCC Executive Director Fred L. Hord, who founded the association 27 years ago. “NIU has been a valuable member of our association for quite some time, and now with the new commitment to collaboration being formalized and our working together in one place, we are sure that NIU and the ABCC will chart new courses for the university and all members of our organization.”
Hosting the ABCC initiatives related to mentoring, maximizing student leadership, and supporting curricular and co-curricular cultural resonance is expected to promote student career success and to prepare NIU graduates for leadership roles in a diverse, global marketplace.
“For life and career success, NIU students need to enjoy curricular and co-curricular experiences that develop not only a strong knowledge base and critical thinking skills, but also abilities such as listening, fairness, dialogue, intercultural communication and collaborative problem-solving,” Executive Vice President and Provost Lisa Freeman says. “Hosting the ABCC will increase the university’s ability provide our students with such opportunities inside and outside of our classrooms and strengthens the connections across our university community.”
The ABCC is a growing organization with more than 700 centers that are members or affiliates in all 50 states, and soon in the Caribbean and West Africa, increasingly involving historically and predominantly black colleges and universities, museums, community centers, as well as multicultural centers and offices. ABCC benefits to members have expanded from networking, the newsletter and national conference discounts to include its own speakers’ bureau and traveling art exhibits, as well as discount arrangements with book and journal publishers, film/video/CD Rom companies, and online agencies. In addition, centers have the option of applying for formal accreditation from the organization.
As part of the agreement, three members of the ABCC leadership team will join the faculty and staff of NIU in DeKalb:
- Hord’s faculty appointment will be in the Department of Counseling Adult and Higher Education, and he will also have a position in the provost’s office. With a Ph.D. in Black Studies and Literature/History; a strong record of scholarship, teaching and learning; and significant academic leadership experience, Professor Hord will play an important consultative role in mentoring, retention, and curricular issues.
- Terry Duffy, executive assistant to the ABCC for the last 15 years, will be critical during the ABCC’s transition to NIU, particularly with respect to building linkages and facilitating collaborations between NIU and the resources available from the ABCC member institutions. She will also play a key role in organizing ABCC conferences and events at NIU.
- Donald Forti, who serves as ABCC webmaster, will be a joint appointment shared between ABCC and NIU’s Division of Marketing and Communications. Forti, who has a master’s degree in journalism and 13 years of experience managing the ABCC website and archived materials, will support the transition of ABCC in addition to NIU marketing and web communications functions.
An ABCC welcome event is being planned for 12:30 p.m. Friday, March 27, at NIU’s Altgeld Hall Auditorium and is open to the university community.