Hudson & Holland Scholars Program: Coming Full Circle
Carl Darnell is no stranger to helping underrepresented students succeed. For much of his personal and professional life, he has challenged the status quo and served as a passionate advocate for causes that pursue social and educational justice. He continues that journey today as the new director of the Hudson & Holland Scholars Program (HHSP), Indiana University's largest merit-based scholarship and support program.
Darnell's commitment to empower and develop leadership skills in today's youth dates back to his days as a graduate student at Indiana University when he, among other things, worked as an assistant instructor for HHSP, organized demonstrations and a symposium commemorating the resistance of Rosa Parks, served as the vice president for the Black Graduate Student Association, and helped former graduate student, Malaika Baxa, with the Homework Help Program at Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Bloomington.
That same passion for helping students find a stronger sense of belonging is what led Darnell to Indiana University's Balfour Scholars Program (BSP). The BSP is a pre-college program designed to help high school juniors from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups navigate the rigors of college life. He assumed the role of director of that program in 2017. In 2019, Darnell became the assistant dean for diversity, equity, and inclusion in the School of Education. He also serves as the commissioner for the Status of Black Males for the city of Bloomington, Indiana, a position he has held since 2018.
Today, in his new role as director of HHSP, Darnell is poised to build upon the program's successes and its mission to enhance diversity, equity, inclusion. "I am indeed excited about directing the Hudson and Holland Scholars Program and, in the words of Gholdy Muhammad, to contribute to cultivating the genius of amazing students who significantly impact the diversity of Indiana University," he said.
A Community of Scholars
The Hudson & Scholars Program was established in 1987 as the Minority Achievers Program (MAP) by Herman C. Hudson and James P. Holland. Designed as a scholarship and support program for high-achieving, underrepresented minorities, HHSP provides funding, as well as a variety of opportunities to enrich and support the holistic needs of deserving students.
Today, as a program housed within the Office of the Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Multicultural Affairs (OVPDEMA), HHSP has a 32-year history of recruiting, retaining, and graduating a critical mass of high-achieving, underrepresented undergraduate students. In its first year, 50 students formed the first cohort. HHSP now boasts more than 2,000 students—an increase of 4,000 percent. In 2020 HHSP scholars received $28 million in total IU gift aid.
New Opportunities, Enhancements
During the spring of 2020, HHSP faculty chair Denvil Duncan prepared a five-year strategic plan after analyzing HHSP administrative data and feedback from stakeholders, including campus leadership, academic unit partners, OVPDEMA, 21st Century Scholar leadership, Groups, and HHSP scholars. Highlights of that work, which Darnel will build on, include:
• Collaborating with IU Bloomington deans to have the vast majority of HHSP scholars admitted as direct admits to their respective programs, including enhanced advising from the schools and colleges.
• Monitoring funding and packaging improvements that allow students admitted to HHSP to receive funding from three sources. Each funding source has its own set of eligibility criteria. First, every HHSP student receives the HHSP scholarship. Second, students may also receive funding from academic units that partner with HHSP. Third, HHSP students may receive the HHSP Promise Award, taking care of any gap in tuition and mandatory fees.
• Partnering with the O'Neill Equity Scholars Program to provide HHSP scholars with research opportunities, faculty mentorship, and more, providing scholars with the incentives, tools, and resources to succeed at the graduate level.
"The Hudson & Holland Scholars Program enables students to build a bridge to achievement, while at the same time giving them the confidence to discover all they can be," says James C. Wimbush, Indiana University vice president for diversity, equity, and multicultural Affairs; dean of The University Graduate School; and Johnson Chair for Diversity and Leadership. "Moving forward, the enhancements made to the program—and the appointment of Carl Darnell as director—will serve to make it that much stronger and effective in helping more students."
Denvil Duncan, HHSP faculty chair, echoes those sentiments, adding, "What we do over the next four years is critical to the success of the next generation of students who will be attending college at a time of heightened social pressure for change. I recognize the quality and impact of the existing academic and community programming HHSP offers and look forward to the amazing work that Carl will be doing with the program in the coming years."