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HBCU Executive Leadership Institute Aims To Prepare, Develop Higher Education Leaders

Dr. Phyllis Worthy Dawkins, the former president of Bennett College, and Clark Atlanta University President Dr. George T. French join "Closer Look" to discuss the HBCU Executive Leadership Institute.
Dr. Phyllis Worthy Dawkins, the former president of Bennett College, and Clark Atlanta University President Dr. George T. French join "Closer Look" to discuss the HBCU Executive Leadership Institute.
Credit Courtesy photos

Two veteran leaders of higher education say a new executive leadership program will equip future leaders of historically Black colleges and universities with the resources and support to excel.

“It is a pivotal moment in our history, a time for a new president to come in to achieve new stability,” said Dr. Phyllis Worthy Dawkins, the lead consultant on curriculum development for the HBCU Executive Leadership Institute (ELI).

Dawkins, former president of the all-women’s liberal arts institution Bennett College, and Clark Atlanta University President Dr. George T. French were guests on Friday’s edition of “Closer Look.”

French told show host Rose Scott that data shows that HBCU leaders need a combination of soft and hard skills and that the schools sometimes struggle financially due to gaps in leadership — which ELI will address.

According to ELI’s website, research suggests that between 2010 to 2014, HBCU presidents’ career tenures lasted 3.3 years.

French and Dawkins say that the ELI program will also help fellows become multi-dimensional leaders to meet the needs of their intuitions, drive equity and social change and preserve the history of the monumental institutions.

“We bring in seasoned past presidents that actually had long tenures and experiences in these positions to serve as mentors and on our advisory board,” French said.

Data from the U.S. Department of Education shows that there are 107 historically black colleges and universities across the country, and there are more than 228,000 students enrolled at private and public institutions.

Dawkins says ELI’s inaugural class will start in June, and after completion of the program in December, fellows will receive a certificate and will soon be eligible to earn micro-credentials in the areas of the program’s competencies.

Clark Atlanta University will serve as the central hub for ELI.

 To listen to the full conversation, click the audio player above.