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HBCU Claflin U Signs First-Ever Zoom University Partnership

An historically Black university in South Carolina has set up a partnership with Zoom Video. The arrangement between Claflin University and Zoom encompasses internships, scholarships and curricula development. The monetary value of the deal is about $1.2 million, according to the two organizations.

Program components include:

  • Paid internships for students during school and as part of Zoom's summer internship program;
  • Scholarships for selected students, based on merit and/or need;
  • Participation in academics: Zoom-led virtual meetings for students' technical skill, career path and interview development; "meaningful" Zoom-focused projects within the institution's capstone project program; and the two entities will co-develop case studies for use in the classroom;
  • Aparna Bawa, Zoom's chief operating officer, will join Claflin's Board of Trustees, and a member of Zoom's leadership team will join the university's computer science and mathematics professional advisory board;
  • Zoom will support the university's general operating plans, both financially and by working with its alumni community in career development- and hiring-related efforts; and
  • The company will also turn to students and faculty for feedback and guidance on its product development.

The partnership began when Congressman Ro Khanna, who represents the 17th Congressional District of California, which encompasses Silicon Valley, joined Congressman James Clyburn, an HBCU graduate who represents the district where the university is located, for a tour of Claflin.

"The resulting partnership between Claflin and Zoom will demonstrate the mutual benefits of corporate investments in minority-serving institutions and the profound impacts it can have on the students and the companies that help empower them," said Clyburn in a statement.

"We are extremely grateful that Zoom selected Claflin for its first-ever partnership with a college or university and we welcome Aparna Bawa ... as the newest member of our Board of Trustees," added Claflin President Dwaun Warmack. "We also express our highest appreciation to Congressman James Clyburn. His persistent support for Claflin and programs that enhance access to technology throughout South Carolina was critical in establishing this partnership."

"Zoom understands the historical, present and future importance of historically Black colleges and universities and other minority-serving institutions across the [United States]," said Bawa. "We are committed to supporting these institutions via innovative partnerships that are relevant, holistic and sustainable. Claflin University is the perfect place to begin. The university's leadership has a broad and inspiring vision for how it should educate the leaders of tomorrow, is committed to embracing technology as a means to deliver and enhance education, and is dedicated to working with Zoom to help us build a service that addresses the needs of our diverse customer base."

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.

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