Shaw Joins HBCUs from Around the Country
Shaw University administrators and staff attended the HBCUgrow 2017 Lead Conference at the Sheraton Hotel in downtown Raleigh. The conference drew dozens of attendees from historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) from all over the country.
HBCUgrow is an organization that helps historically black colleges and universities make the most of their brand, website, and marketing campaigns. The annual Lead conference provides opportunities for HBCU leaders to come together to learn from one another and discuss relevant issues.
This year’s conference included educational sessions on topics such as community college partnerships, enrollment, and marketing. The Presidential Panel included Shaw University interim president Dr. Paulette Dillard, Grambling State University president Rick Gallot, and Bennett College Trustee Andrea Harris. The panel addressed subjects such as challenges and opportunities HBCUs face in the current political and social environment.
During the panel, Dr. Dillard was asked about her role as interim president and providing leadership during a transitional period for the University. She stressed the efficacy of the Shaw’s five-year strategic plan and the continuity and stability it has provided.
“The University must function regardless of if you have a permanent or an interim president. It’s about the ability of an interim president to make decisions and move the university forward,” said Dillard. “I have been fortunate in that we are in the second year of a five year strategic plan. I have used that plan to stay on course and to make the university continue on our current trajectory. At any point when the Board of Trustees makes a decision about a permanent president, it will be just a matter of coming and taking over what we already have in place. Because our strategic plan is a functioning document, I have a pretty good roadmap of what the university needs to accomplish over the next three years. As long as I keep my eyes focused and my efforts on that, I think Shaw University is in a good place.”
Dillard also addressed many of the challenges, including the uncertain future of Title III funding, a crucial source of tuition dollars for students attending Shaw and other HBCUs. She said that while this is a challenge, she credited organizations like the United Negro College Fund and the Thurgood Marshall College Fund for stepping up. She also credited some political leaders for fighting for HBCUs.
“I don’t know what we would do in North Carolina without Representative Alma Adams. She has been a major advocate for North Carolina HBCUs and we are grateful to have her,” said Dillard of the Congresswoman who represents North Carolina’s 12th district.
Dillard said that while there are many challenges facing HBCUs, there are a lot of advantages universities like Shaw have over larger institutions, including the more personal touch that Shaw can give its students.
“When you come to Shaw you do have that traditional HBCU experience,” said Dillard. “We don’t have a lot of the fancy buildings, but what we do have is a legacy of caring for the individual student. The faculty student ratio is very low. We have the ability to walk across our campus and call our students by their first names and we also know your mother and your aunt and everybody else. We have that ability to provide that extra level of care that you can’t get at a larger institution. All of those things matter when it comes to the student of color, and so we continue to make students aware that we offer that ability to get to know you as individuals.”
The conference concluded with an award ceremony for the 2017 LEAD Awards. Shaw University took home the bronze medal in the Marketing category.
“This award is a testament to the hard work and creative spirit of the Shaw University staff,” said Dr. Dillard. “Their efforts to tell our story to the next generation of college students will increase our enrollment numbers and help secure the future of this great university.”