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JCSU in Perfect Position to Shine Bright, Says JCSU President Armbrister

President Armbrister gets plaque from Trustee Boyd

Charlotte, N.C./Aug. 10, 2022 – Johnson C. Smith University kicked off the start of the fall 2022 semester with an Opening School Conference featuring a speech from President Clarence D. Armbrister.

“In many respects, there are more existential challenges today than many of us have had to face in our lifetime,” said Armbrister to faculty and staff in Sarah Belk Grambell Auditorium Wednesday morning. “JCSU is still poised to fulfill its mission, even in the face of these existential challenges.”

The conference was the first one held in person for two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With vaccination rates on the rise and increased self-care and social distancing measures, faculty and staff were able to gather together to start the school year.

Armbrister and the executive cabinet spoke throughout the morning about how the University can best accomplish its mission and vision through the use of pillars and goals set forth in the Gold(en) Blueprint, JCSU’s five-year strategic plan. 

But first, the president had to cover a few of the challenges facing not just JCSU, but all colleges and universities in the country: enrollment, financial stability and an increase in operational costs.

Since 2010, enrollment at colleges and universities has been declining and COVID-19 made matters worse. The pandemic and declining enrollment numbers impact every college’s financial stability.

Rising prices across the country due to inflation have also increased operational costs, especially at historical campuses like JCSU, where continued maintenance is needed to keep facilities running smoothly.

After discussing the challenges ahead, Armbrister opened the floor to faculty and staff, asking them what their hopes are for JCSU in the coming years.

“I would like to see JCSU become a trending, next-level institution of higher learning,” said Kabreel McEachin-Hall, director of Career Pathways Academy. 

Armbrister shared that his ultimate goal is to make JCSU one of the country’s top 10 HBCUs. The goals laid out in the strategic plan could propel JCSU forward as a top HBCU.  

The goals include strengthening academic excellence, enhancing student success, expanding partnerships and community engagement, optimizing financial and operational performance and advancing talent. 

The executive cabinet shared the ways in which they will to work toward achieving their goals within their respective divisions. 

Other highlights from the conference included:

  • A moment of silence for faculty, staff, students, alumni, members of the Board of Trustees and community partners who have passed since Aug. 2021.
  • The introduction of more than 50 new or newly promoted faculty and staff members.
  • Highlighting transfer agreements with local community colleges and a memorandum of understanding with Howard University.
  • Looking back on some of the accomplishments of students, faculty, staff and the community, particularly the $80 million pledge from corporate and philanthropic partners to JCSU through the Mayor’s Racial Equity Initiative.

You can find more information on JCSU’s strategic plan on our website.

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