By Betty Vandenbosch, Chief Content Officer at Coursera
At Coursera, we believe that learning is the source of human progress — that it has the power to transform our world. In 2020, we strengthened our commitment to address systemic racism through learning. We focused on creating social justice and anti-racism content and elevating Black voices in our instructor community. Today, during Black History Month, I’m proud to announce our partnership with Howard University — a historically Black college and university (HBCU) with a distinguished legacy of educating Black communities.
Howard is the only HBCU listed among the top 100 universities in the U.S. Since 1867, Howard has been an engineer of change in U.S. society and teaches students to advance social justice and preserve human liberty. Notable alumni include Vice President Kamala Harris, Toni Morrison, and Thurgood Marshall.
Howard will build a job-relevant course catalog on Coursera starting with Information Systems for Business and Linear Algebra for Data Science Specializations, which will launch later this year.
University president Dr. Wayne A.I. Frederick has also joined Coursera’s University Advisory Board, which approves all new university partners and provides strategic counsel.
“I am really excited about this partnership with Coursera, one of the preeminent purveyors of educational content in the 21st-century learning landscape,” said Dr. Frederick. “Historically, there has been a disconnect between companies and top-level talent from underrepresented communities who don’t have the same access and resources as other job seekers. These kinds of partnerships can help enhance opportunities for people of color by aligning their education with the needs of businesses. This initiative is good for job seekers, good for business, and good for the country. In addition, it will help us spread the vision and mission of Howard University beyond our campus. Exposure to our world-class faculty will empower people to fight systemic racism, combat inequality, and pursue a life dedicated to servant leadership.”
Coursera is also excited to announce several new social justice courses from other university partners, including content that has been funded by Coursera. The courses include:
- Designing and Building Institutional Anti-Racist Spaces – Wesleyan University
- Take Action: From Protest to Policy – Wesleyan University
- Community Awareness: Police Brutality in the U.S. – University of Michigan
- Inclusive Leadership: The Power of Workplace Diversity – University of Colorado System
- Diversity and Inclusion for HR Professionals – University of California, Irvine
In the coming months, 40+ additional courses on topics such as overcoming bias, systemic racism, effective allyship, and diversity in the workplace are expected to launch on Coursera. Additionally, learners can enroll in 20+ courses taught by Black instructors featured in our Black History Month collection.
To broaden access, we are working with Facebook Elevate and nonprofit partners to help Black learners enter the social media marketing field. Together, we are offering up to 10,000 scholarships for the Facebook Social Media Marketing Professional Certificate on Coursera. The certificate has no prerequisites and helps learners go from beginner to job-ready in about five months. The initiative will provide high-touch career services to learners in the Facebook Professional Certificate program. We are also partnering with Black Girls CODE, a nonprofit focused on bringing tech education to Black girls, to provide up to 2,000 girls with free access to the Coursera catalog.
We are honored to work with our partners to increase access for Black learners, including connecting people around the world with leading experts at Howard University. Together, we can empower millions of learners with content that can truly transform their minds, their lives, and the world.222