Presidential Initiatives

Presidential Commission on Academic Renewal (PCAR)

The University’s academic renewal process is built around a presidentially appointed Commission on Academic Renewal, which is composed predominantly of faculty, but has representation from every University stakeholder group. The PCAR membership also includes nationally recognized external academic leaders and other experts.

The Commission will review each of the University’s academic programs, using an evaluation framework, and submit a report to the President. The program review process will be open and transparent and the Commission will draw on the collective wisdom of the campus community through active, ongoing communication and substantive engagement before making final recommendations to the President. The engagement of faculty, students, staff, alumni and other supporters of the University with the academic renewal process will be facilitated through an interactive web-site, periodic reports, meetings with academic departments and schools and colleges, and town hall meetings.

Watch PCAR's YouTube Video and Podcasts that Discuss the Academic Renewal Process.

Read more on the Presidential Commission on Academic Renewal.

Budget Advisory Committee

The Budget Advisory Committee (BAC) was established in the spring of 2009 to promote enhanced transparency and broader participation by all segments of the University in the budget development and review process. The BAC representative membership includes faculty, students and staff appointed by the President.

In addition to its budget review and development functions, the BAC is charged with sharing information with the University community about the University's budget and related accountability measures. The BAC is currently chaired by Dr. Alvin Thornton, Interim Provost and Chief Academic Officer, and functions with assistance from the Chief Financial Officer and the Office of Financial Analysis and Budget.

Tuition and Rates Advisory Committee

The Tuition and Rates Advisory Committee (TRAC) was established to ensure that the views of a cross section of the University community on tuition and other rates charged to Howard students are considered and presented. The TRAC is composed of deans, students and enrollment management leaders who are convened annually to examine the relevant rates and charges and to offer advice.

Recommendations on housing and meal plan rates are developed by Student Affairs and Auxiliary Services and reviewed by the TRAC, so that the impact of all proposed rate changes on the total cost of attendance can be considered. The TRAC makes its recommendations to the Chief Financial Officer and the President. The President presents formal recommendations on tuition, housing and meal plan rates to the Board of Trustees, who has the final authority for setting these rates. The President approves other fees.

Students First Campaign

The Students First Campaign (SFC) is a multiphase presidential initiative launched in January 2009, to improve the overall experience at Howard and to fully integrate students in the operation of the University. Phase I of the initiative involved an assessment of immediate and long-term organizational changes needed to enhance the student experience. Faculty from various schools and colleges, along with researchers from the Office of Institutional Assessment and Evaluation and facilitators from the Office of Professional Development and Leadership Academy, collected data from students and other University stakeholders. The information gathered formed the basis for recommendations about ways to streamline and improve institutional processes.

In the Spring of 2010, SFC entered Phase II with several key appointments in the area of student affairs. Barbara Griffin, Ph.D., was named Vice President for Student Affairs and Valarie Turner, Ph.D., Special Assistant to the President, was reassigned to the Blackburn Center, where she will serve as an advocate for students, respond to concerns and evaluate student-related administrative policies and procedures. These appointments are part of a broad initiative to create a student affairs organization that listens to students and works together to achieve the University’s objectives. Students’ participation in other major initiatives such as the Presidential Commission on Academic Renewal (PCAR), The Tuition and Rates Advisory Committee (TRAC) and the Budget Advisory Committee (BAC) also form part of this broad effort.

Currently, Students First is focusing its attention on Enrollment Management including the areas of admissions, financial aid and records. Further, the President will visit schools and colleges to assess the status of recommendations made under Phase I of the Campaign.