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Perspectives: An Open Letter to HBCU Presidents (5416 hits)

Every week, an article rises to the top in terms of "hmmmmmm." From time to time, we see and/or contribute to posts that talk about the value of HBCU's. This article, written by Tia T. Gordon the founder and CEO of TTG+Partners (pictured), is a direct open letter to the Presidents of HBCU's.

Towards the end of this insightful yet opinionated piece, she offers up a few points of consideration that could be embraced by HBCU officials. But first, she had this to say:

"If I may, HBCU presidents, it is precisely in times of struggle that you must offer positive and inspiring stories. Your institutions display courage and achievement among your students and in your institutional reform efforts. It is essential for you to establish and promote messages that can strategically help people, especially higher education policymakers and philanthropists, to better understand your challenges. You must effectively communicate to them the concrete support you need to help you be more successful. In a nutshell, HBCUs must become more effective and active in messaging that they still matter!"

To read the entire article - read here: http://tinyurl.com/23e4eyw
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Monday, August 23rd 2010 at 10:25AM
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It is not the responsibility per se of HBCU Presidents to offer the media, it is the responsibility of the PR people hired by the Institution to fulfill the Opinion writer's suggestion. Majority institutions have PR people who fulfill their duties by promoting the school's vision, strategies, and providing media outlets with the necessary information to make the institution look good. For example, it was not Tom Osborne, former Nebraska University Football coach who handled the media about his players off field activities.The University's PR team engaged the media and then prompted the coach on how to handle the media when questioned. The writer should be addressing the Institutions PR people about their responsibilities, their duties. If the School doesn't have a PR team then she should assist the HBCU by showing them how to secure the service or hire her firm. Everyone is suppose to do their job, and if the HBCU is not utilizing the PR team by allowing them to do their job, then the Trustees or Regents need to another look. This is what professionalism is actually about, especially when you are dealing with mediums which have historically and in many cases, remain a stumbling block by publishing, recording, stories which are not plesant. Presidents are courageous when they are making full use of the resources available. Interesting story, but directed to the wrong choir.
Monday, August 23rd 2010 at 1:47PM
Is it time for HBCU institutions to open up to the general population and start pursuing the best and brightest regardless of ethnicity?
Monday, August 23rd 2010 at 5:17PM
J.Monroe Fauntleroy
Mr. Fauntleroy, your comment is ridiculous. HBCU's should "open up to the general population and start pursuing the best and brightes regardless of ethnicity". The last I checked we have been open to any who wants to attend an HBCU and we routinely have some of the best and brightest students who choose to attend an HBCU because of what these schools provide that is sorely missed at a PWI. Dont get it twisted.HBCU's are constantly attacked because there are some folks out there who still believe that we should'nt be able to read and write. Our schools are a result of PWI historic and ongoing societal racism. Are you thinking that Blacks schools cant compete. Please check yourself before you get on these posts and let everyone know how foolish you are.
Monday, August 23rd 2010 at 6:15PM
I find Mr. Fautleroy's statement interesting. As Mr. Clarke states however, the statement is misleading. If anyone has been opened with their doors to the American public even when they were despised it has been HBCUs. But his statement is only a reflection of the continued mis-education perpetuated by enemies within the camp and out. When PWI's opened up grudgingly their doors (let us never forget the mob-like action of those outside the South during desegregation) not all PWIs wanted certain people in their schools. "Best and Brightest?" According to the mssion of historic HBCUs all students should have been afforded the opportunity to prove themself. Let's not forget the personal testimony of former General Colin Powell who stated if it had not been for affirmative action the University in New York he attended would have never opened up to him if it had not been for that ugly terminology, affirmative action. His GPA was unacceptable along with the content of his skin,oops, there I go again, character defined by their Board of Trustees. Different time, different era, but as Daniel Patrick Moynihan, US Senator, Diplomat, Under Secretary of Labor, Public Intellectual - only in America! HBCUs need to open up - they need to reclaim their historic mission and vision which has been lost due to the mis-education and disallowance of Faculty who cared for faculty who would claim research dollars. Somewhere, true education was lost, an education which attributed much to a historic people.
Monday, August 23rd 2010 at 7:01PM
You said it I didn't. If you say it, you must be thinking that way. My statement has at best elicited a dialogue that seems to be getting to the heart of the matter.
Monday, August 23rd 2010 at 8:02PM
J.Monroe Fauntleroy
H.B.C.U.'S.have always been opened to "other" ,particularly the state institutions. They have to, that's the only way they get state funding. Now~~ For those of you who don't know or forgot, H.B.C.U.'S. were founded for the purpose of educating our people when we were not allowed to attend the "other" instutions. Really, the "others" still don't really want us there, but as usual we push oursrlves on them. The problem is we don't give back to the institution that educated us. We find a million excuses not to donate the money. All institutions have problems because they are ran by humans. If there's a problem get involved and make the system better. These are our schools and WE need to take care of them. Yes, we need to be more effective and definitly let the ESSESNCE of The Universities/Colleges be known. They REALLY STILL and WILL ALWAYS MATTER!!!!!! They (THE POWERS THAT BE) REALLY WANT TO CLOSE US DOWN!!!!! BUT THAT WILL DEFINITLY RELY ON US!!!! OUR ancestors created those instutions for US. FOR US,BY US!!!!!!
BEST and BRIGHTEST!!!!! African-American people have always been the 'BEST and BRIGHTEST" are you serious? Who invented the Stop Light, Ironing Board, All sorts of Instruments, just to name a few? WE DID!!!!!! WE always had our own!!!!!! Come on guys!!! Yes, we should work in the schools best interest, if your job is to promote the University, then you should do that to the fullest, not sit on your ass and collect a check and brag. That's another problem. We don't want to see growth and development and would rather see it fold then excel!!!!!
Mariama Curry
Jackson State University~~~~ I LOVE IT!!!!!!!!
Tuesday, August 24th 2010 at 2:23AM
It is everyone's responsibility to promote their institution...not just the President's or the PR person's but every administrator, faculty, staff and student.

Thursday, August 26th 2010 at 10:47AM
Well to begin H.B.C.U'.S have to be willing to represent all people of our community. Going to college is not for the ELITE but for everyone. Education is a basic right for everyone ,we as africian americans should shoulder the responsibility to encourage our children and our communities to further our responses to higher education and this will encourage a better society and responsibile adults. AS a africian american male i see that H.B.C.U'S are not forgiving to some mistakes make by our young males. They take the approach that we cannot take a chance on particular individuals so therefore where does that place these young men and what conditions are they forced to operate under!!!! H.B.C.U recruitment should go further than frat and football but extend to elementary and college teaching to create an enviornment for constant learning by all parties involved!!! We all should take a strong look around and see what direction this country is going in. FYI remember the book WHO NEED THE AMERICAN NEGRO!!!! HBCU presidents remember that everytime a young man makes a mistake dont EXPELL him but provide ways to correct behaviors and encourage problem solving and crisis intervention. SO THESE STUDENTS CAN EXCEL NOT BE EXPELLED!!!!!!

Thursday, August 26th 2010 at 2:18PM
Brother Barron, Powerful words of admonition. Just a note however, though you are correct, if HBCUs retain the original mission and purpose of their founding, they would not be competitive in this society by the new standards. HBCUs due to our neglectfulness to stay the course, and the ever ending battle of convincing even the Communities we serve - at one time the UNCF's words, 'A Mind Is A Terrible Thing to Waste" was the underlying memo of whatever theme the HBCU used. Today the catchy phrases as manifested in Diverse in Higher Education of HBCUs are just that, catchy, almost like phrases used by the New Black Church (Ebony's words not mine in 2001), we are thrilled by phraseology but fail to consider the impact on lives. When the HBCU is no longer supported by all, we find the Institution in the throngs of persons who want us "to be like Mike," i. e., to be copies of those who don't have the understanding of who we are as demonstrated by the actions of those who are repeating history like Black Anglo-Saxons, the very thing you speak of Brother Barron comes forth. There is much more could be said, but in the words of The Thing of the Fantastic Four 'Nuff said! If you find what I said hard to interpret remember the words of Jesus, Pay attention and try to understand! Great words written by you Brother Barron!
Thursday, August 26th 2010 at 2:57PM
Larry Woods- your quite confusing and your points I dont understand and I dont know what Barron Springs is talking about either. HBCU's admit students who are quite often students from very challenging backgrounds. They arrive as coal and go out as diamonds. As for the frat thing Barron is talking about, I'm at a loss here. We brown folks have changed our values and its reflective of what is being demonstrated by young cats nowadys (ya dig). The way I see it if we dont take care of our schools and adhere to our original historic missions we WONT have better because PWI have clearly showed their hands with ever increasing scores needed to be admitted,scholarships etc.HBCU's work with you if you meet them halfway and most go way beyond that to admit and foster the kind of schooling needed for success of our students. I for one wont use PWI's as a litmus paper for what we as Blacks should do with our schools. Dont sleep!!!!1
Thursday, August 26th 2010 at 6:09PM
The Presidents, Boards of Directors must all be questioned as to why our HBCUs are in such dire financial circumstances and what have they been doing over the past fifty years to stem the tide of financial decline. They have not been aggressive enough in seeking and winning some of the 100s of millions in Federal and State contracts - or grants. MIT Harvard and all the major predominantly White institutions receive contracts and grants in larger numbers than HBCUs. Research and shine light on where the contracts and grants have been going. We know how Black farmers have been historcally 'screwed' by the goverment - we see the current effects and results of Pigford cases - and the problems still linger - Visit Clark Atlanta and the other HBCUs in the Atlanta area - Reality check: we are losing this valuable asset - and it will hurt us very badly when they are gone - In fact Black students need to take the lead and bring the heat!

HBCUs are our major asset - the vanguard in educating our children. The historical evidence shows that the vast majority of our teachers, doctors, lawyers, agricultural specialists etc graduated from HBCUs. Today we see these institutions having to take in Asian, Russian, and students from various countries that are from the upper classes and can pay tuition or receive scholarships from their home country. Our inner city youth that manage to graduate from High School but have no funds are left on the street. The Black American students who are fortunate enough to get in to one of our HBCUs must be proactive and address the issues relating to the decline of the institution - be proactive in dealing with increasing enrollment of more 'Negro Black American' students - establish community outreach tutorial programs and help rural and inner city students raise their grades.

Monday, December 27th 2010 at 9:34PM
F. A. Young Esq.
I would like to address the author's original point which vests primary responsibility for articulating the institution's successes and challenges in the President. I agree. While each segment of an HBCU or any organization, for that fact, must speak to the various challenges the institution faces, it is the President who sets the tone of that conversation. The President has access to information few others have access to and has a organizational vantage point that allows him/her to 'see' the organization in a way few others do or can. Thus, it is only logical that the President accept primary responsibility for articulating the strategic direction of the institution and the challenges that serve to hinder it from reaching its goals. Others may and should participate in the process but if the organization is to speak with a single clear voice, the President should be the one to set the tone. If that is not the role of the President, what is?
Sunday, January 9th 2011 at 10:10PM
Rudolph Hickman
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