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Huston-Tillotson University Professor Discusses Possible Partnership between the University and the Austin (Texas) Independent School District

“The Partnership will be funded by a grant from Apple, Inc.”

Austin, Texas – January 5, 2024 – Statistics show that nationwide, there is a grave shortage of African-American male teachers in minority-serving public schools. During a recent panel discussion hosted the by the Virginia Union University Center for the Study of HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges and Universities), it was reported that African-American men accounted for only 1.3% of public school teachers during the 2020-21 school year, despite African-American children comprising 15% of public school students in fall 2020. This number reflects a decline from five years earlier when it was 1.7%.  In general, African-American males make up only 7% of the teaching workforce.

Unfortunately, this holds true for the schools here in Austin.  But one Huston-Tillotson University (HT) professor has addressed the problem in a recently published article titled “Addressing the Shortage of African-American Males in Minority-Serving School Districts with Innovative Partnerships.” In his article, Dr. Jesse Rivers discusses how to increase the number of African-American male teachers in primary and secondary education in minority-serving public schools through a partnership already established between HT and the Austin Independent School District (AISD).

The university has already implemented the African-American Male Teacher Initiative (AAMT), which is funded by a grant from Apple Inc. This initiative provides one year of scholarship support to twenty high-achieving HT freshmen who intend to pursue a career in education. Total award covers all tuition, fees, and room and board for an academic year.  Scholarships are eligible for max three-year renewal.

Rivers said, “In an effort to alleviate the shortages of African-American male teachers in public classrooms, I wholeheartedly believe that HBCUs must be at the forefront in recruiting and preparing African-American males to teach,” said Rivers.  “If it’s a Black problem, why shouldn’t HBCUs be at the forefront of problem-solving?”

“A popular 21st-century term is innovation, but when someone tries to be innovative, the “system” at times intentionally and unintentionally forces that individual to revert to the status quo or familiar territory. Partnering with private industries to increase the number of Black male teachers is innovative but not unheard of, but more is needed to put a more significant dent in the shortage of African American male teachers,” Rivers added.




About Huston-Tillotson University

Huston-Tillotson University, the first institution of higher education in Austin, Texas, has roots dating back to 1875. HT is an independent, church-related, historically black, four-year liberal arts institution located on a 23-acre tree-lined campus near downtown in East Austin. Huston-Tillotson University’s mission is to nurture a legacy of leadership and excellence in education, connecting knowledge, power, passion, and values. The University offers associate and master’s degrees in addition to Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees in more than 19 areas of study. Huston-Tillotson University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) to award associate, baccalaureate and master’s degrees. HT is also an NC-SARA school. For more information, please visit