History and Legacy

Transformative Leadership

Our organization is named in honor of a woman who pioneered a transformation in educator preparation and diversity in our
nation’s colleges and universities.

Born in 1881, Mary Branch became the first woman of color to serve as President of an accredited senior college in the United States of America.

She transformed Tillotson College in Austin, Texas from a failing women’s junior college into a four-year undergraduate school with an “A” rating from the Southern Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools in 1930.

She is remembered for her high expectations, rigorous content, continuous faculty development and support, a focus on the whole student, and cross-institutional collaboration.

Over the 20th century, her trailblazing efforts laid the groundwork for a series of initiatives that elevated MSI’s to the forefront of an ongoing transformation in educator preparation.

Legacy of Collaboration

BranchED honors the success of all previous collaborations.

We seek to build on these legacies to empower, connect, and advance educator preparation at minority serving institutions.

Our organization rests on the shoulders of over 40 years of efforts that ensure minority serving institutions have a voice in advancing the field of educator preparation—and reaching higher.

Below are a few of the most prominent examples of past collaborations among MSI educator preparation providers:

Each year, we hold two Summits and one Institute to discuss relevant issues pertaining to the field, while learning and networking with EPP faculty and leaders across the country.

Defining Quality Educator Preparation

In December 2017, BranchED hosted a charrette, a convening of select key thinkers and leaders from MSI’s across the country that worked together to further inform and shape BranchED’s quality framework for educator preparation.

The charrette presented an opportunity for this forward-thinking group to evaluate educator preparation programs’ effectiveness, establish a process for their continuous improvement, and adapt best practices to meet the diverse needs of different institutions and communities.

After addressing these broader questions, participants identified some of the ingredients that make up the “special sauce” of educator preparation programs at minority serving institutions.

Charrette participants then split into small groups that provided focused feedback on BranchED’s quality framework for educator preparation, which establishes a new definition of quality; one where diversity, equity, and inclusion are embedded. This framework is designed to help BranchED and assorted educator preparation programs co-identify key areas for growth and pinpoint where they need the most assistance.

See below for some photos of the charrette in action!

History of MSI Ed Prep Cooperation


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  • Norfolk State University served as a forum for HBCU’s in the 1980’s to convene annually and change policy’s that had a disparate impact on their students and programs.
  • Assorted higher education leaders united in the late 1980’s to form a Presidents and Chancellors’ Consortium on Teacher Education that assessed and shaped best practices in educator preparation programs.
  • The Holmes Group, a consortium of 100 research universities, aimed to strengthen schools of education and elevate the teaching profession. One of the 100 universities was an HBCU.


  • The National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education developed a Technical Support Network that succeeded in doubling the number of MSIs that earned accreditation.
  • The National Reading First Teacher Preparation Network was a professional development initiative that enhanced faculty expertise and instructional skills in teaching candidates how to teach reading.
  • A consortium of MSI organizations joined together to form the Alliance for Equity in Higher Education.


  • The National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education formed its Academic Deans of Education Council in 2011 to provide leadership and support to its members around teacher preparation.

Explore Our Vision

BranchED’s vision of preparing diverse, effective educators for all learners relies on work that spans across the legacies.