Published on September 21, 2020 by Morgan Black  
Cumberland and Tuskegee Combo

Samford University Cumberland School of Law and Tuskegee University have partnered to offer Tuskegee undergraduate students an accelerated bachelor’s to J.D. program. This partnership, more commonly known as a 3+3 partnership, creates a pathway for students to receive a bachelor’s degree from Tuskegee and a law degree from Cumberland in six years of study, rather than the traditional seven.

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

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.

“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,” said Tammy Laughlin, assistant professor of political science and co-adviser of the prelaw program at Tuskegee. “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.”  

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

“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,” said Thierno Thiam, associate professor and chair of Tuskegee’s Department of History and Political Science.

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

“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,” Laughlin added.

Shenita Brazelton, prelaw co-adviser and associate professor of political science at Tuskegee, also expressed excitement for the program and believes it will be a tremendous asset for both academic institutions. “One of our major priorities when establishing this agreement was finding a proactive program that would teach and prepare our students. We also wanted to assure that our students would be successful once entering the program,” she said.

“We are excited to partner with Tuskegee University, which is known for its extraordinary history and outstanding academic reputation,” said Henry C.  "Corky" Strickland, dean and Ethel P. Malugen professor 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 also has 3+3 partnerships with Samford University, Birmingham-Southern College, the University of Montevallo and Troy University.
Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.