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Tuskegee University Enters New Partnership with Samford University’s Cumberland School of Law

September 23, 2020

               Tuskegee University logo                                       Samford University Cumberland School of Law logo

Contact: Brittney Dabney, Office of Communications, Public Relations and Marketing

Tuskegee University and Samford University’s Cumberland School of Law have created a new partnership that will allow Tuskegee students to participate in an accelerated bachelor’s to Juris Doctor program. The agreement will allow students to forego their senior year at Tuskegee and instead begin their first year of law school at Cumberland. 

The 3+3 program creates a pathway for Tuskegee students to receive a bachelor’s degree from Tuskegee and a law degree from Cumberland in only six years of study, rather than the traditional seven. The newly added program will allow Tuskegee students to venture straight into one of the most highly regarded law programs in the state of Alabama. 

“We noted that both Tuskegee and Cumberland fully embraced the concept of a family atmosphere where students feel comfortable interacting freely with faculty and administration. In addition, both universities instill a certain ‘can do’ spirit that will assure that our students are fully prepared to excel in the legal profession,” said Dr. Tammy Laughlin, assistant professor of political science and co-advisor of the pre-law program at Tuskegee University.      

Students with a competitive GPA and LSAT scores are eligible to receive a scholarship ranging from 25 percent tuition scholarship to a full tuition scholarship. In addition, the partnership with Cumberland will create summer coursework and internship opportunities to help students build relationships with attorneys and judges within the Birmingham legal community.

The agreement signed by Dr. Carla Jackson Bell, interim provost and vice president for academic affairs at Tuskegee University and Dr. Michael Hardin, provost and vice president of academic affairs at Samford University, will allow both universities to benefit from unique academic opportunities.

Currently, Tuskegee juniors who have completed all core and major requirements in political science will be able to use coursework from their first year of law school to fulfill the requirements for the bachelor’s degree at Tuskegee University. Being a part of the program will require a very disciplined student to plan their course of study to fulfill the requirements of this unique program.  

“We noticed that the largest number of Tuskegee students are from Alabama and we also recognized that Cumberland School of Law has a long history of producing a large number of lawyers who practice law in the state. With Cumberland being situated in Birmingham, the largest legal market in Alabama, we have no doubt that this program will prepare our students to become better acquainted with the legal profession,” explained Laughlin.  

“Tuskegee University is committed to meeting the needs of our students, and that by offering accelerated degree programs, our high-achieving students will have greater flexibility to not only save costs but also enroll in one of the premier law schools in the state a year earlier,” said Dr. Channa Prakash, dean of Tuskegee’s College of Arts and Science.

“We believe that this partnership with the Cumberland School of Law will make law school more accessible for students of color within the State of Alabama and will ultimately increase the number of African Americans practicing law both in Alabama and in the Southeast,” he continued. 

Dr. Thierno Thiam, associate professor and chair of Tuskegee’s Department of History and Political Science – stated, “The department is moving in deliberate and intentional ways to position itself as a destination of choice among students with law school aspirations and this is one significant step towards that goal.”

“We believe that this program will be an incredible asset to both Tuskegee University and Cumberland, more importantly, we believe that this will be a tremendously helpful asset for our students,” noted Dr. Shenita Brazelton, pre-law co-advisor and associate professor of political science.

“One of our major priorities when establishing this agreement was finding a proactive program that would teach and prepare our students.” “In addition, we also wanted to assure that our students would be successful once entering the program,” Brazelton continued. 

“We are excited to partner with Tuskegee University, which is known for its extraordinary history and outstanding academic reputation,” said Henry C. Strickland, dean of Cumberland School of Law.  “As we worked to create this program, I was struck by the dedication of Tuskegee faculty and administration to promoting their students’ success, the same priority we have at Cumberland. I look forward to this partnership helping prepare great leaders for our state and country.”

Cumberland School of Law Assistant Dean for Admission and Enrollment Management, Whitney Dachelet shared, “We are extremely proud to partner with Tuskegee University for the 3+3 program. Tuskegee students are very involved in their pre-law program, and it just made sense to institute a formal agreement that substantiates the relationship which already exists. I look forward to seeing how this relationship grows over the coming years and watching even more Tuskegee/Cumberland students flourish in their careers.”

In recent years, Cumberland has also partnered with pre-law programs at Samford University, Birmingham-Southern College, the University of Montevallo, and Troy University to create joint 3+3 programs. Tuskegee University continues to build excellent relationships and has placed students with all accredited law schools within the state of Alabama and at the national level.

About Tuskegee University

Located in Tuskegee, Alabama, Tuskegee University is a private, state-related and nationally ranked land-grant institution that serves a racially, ethnically and religiously diverse student body of 3,000-plus students. The institution was founded in 1881 by Booker T. Washington and is one of the nation's historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs). Accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges since 1933, Tuskegee’s academic programs — many accredited by their respective accrediting bodies — currently lead to 41 bachelor’s, 16 master’s and five doctoral degree opportunities. For more information about Tuskegee University, visit

About Samford University

Samford is a premier nationally ranked Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts and a distinct blend of graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. The Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education ranks Samford 3rd in the nation for student engagement. U.S. News & World Report ranks Samford 40th in the nation for best undergraduate teaching and 100th for best value. Samford enrolls 5,692 students from 46 states and 28 countries in its 10 academic schools. Samford fields 17 NCAA Division I teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference.

About Cumberland School of Law

Samford University’s Cumberland School of Law operates with a mission to educate a diverse community of students with knowledge and practical skills, equipping them to become highly competent, ethical lawyers committed to professionalism and public service. Cumberland is nationally recognized for trial advocacy and quality instruction. Our curriculum trains students to practice in all areas of law, including corporate law, trial advocacy, health law, environmental law and public interest law. U.S. News & World Report ranked Cumberland’s trial advocacy program #7 in the country (2021).

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