On the Job with Tarrye L. Venable

Venable, Tarrye L. On the Job with Tarrye L. Venable, Director, Office of Student Activities and Leadership at Norfolk State University.

HBCUs have been recognized as places that, among other unique attributes, inspire engagement and social activism. Is that narrative alive today in the roles played by student affairs professionals and the student union?

We strive to provide the best college experience for students, and our core commitment is to provide a family environment for our students, and the HBCU ethos of success is strongly focused on that sense of family. HBCUs continue to play a critical role in providing an educational environment for minorities today because they offer students of color safe and empowering spaces and a myriad of ways to embrace their racial identities. 

Nearly twice as many HBCU undergrads receive Pell Grants compared to the national average. How does the role you play take into account the additional financial needs many of these students face?

We’re required to ensure that the programs and activities are free or affordable for our students. In addition, we offer financial literacy programs to help students plan for their current and future financial goals. 

Small- and special-mission colleges face unique challenges today. What day-to-day challenges do you face in fostering success within the scope of your role at an HBCU?

The day-to-day challenges would be availability of resources. Our students deserve to be exposed to the best programs and activities that will help them develop into a well-rounded person. We would like to bring stellar, world-renowned speakers to our campus such as Oprah Winfrey or Michelle Obama, but this is difficult, if not impossible, without funding. At HBCUs we pride ourselves in offering students quality time for face-to-face and day-to-day interaction to provide support to students both academically and socially. 
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