The mission of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) from their Inception in the late 1800s has been to develop the minds of people of color through education.
The key to being able to continue their mission and to remain relevant is to pursue growth in diversifying their curriculum and to engage in activities that reflect a 21st-century mindset.
Education is the primary product that HBCUs offer to keep their doors open. Students are their customers. In that context, HBCUs must vigorously pursue strategies that grow student enrollment, while at the same time retaining students that are already enrolled.
Going forward, here is my short list of relevant ideas and thoughts for stabilizing, building, and growing HBCUs:
- Find ways to grow student enrollment four to five percent each year;
- Place an extraordinary emphasis on building and strengthening financial systems within the institution;
- Develop where necessary, and increase efforts to be identified as a high profile “research” institution;
- Find ways of increasing the number of STEM courses offered;
- Become a “technology-oriented” institution, and find ways of incorporating technology licensing for the expected breakout of innovative technologies;
- Build, renovate, and where necessary, re-purpose physical infrastructure;
- Quickly and earnestly resolve all “governance” issues within the institution;
- Place a strong and proactive emphasis on the use of faculty and students to be of service to the immediate surrounding communities of color;
- Create entrepreneurial courses and/or develop a business incubator program;
- Create a degree granting distant learning program; and
- Set up an international studies program.
The above represents just a few ideas on how HBCUs can insure and maintain their relevance.
The quintessential question is, Are HBCUs up to the task of battling to remain relevant?