State of the University Address
President Sidney A. Ribeau, Ph.D.
Seeley Mudd Auditorium, College of Medicine
November 8, 2012
Greetings Dr. Walters and faculty colleagues
Thank you, once again, for hosting the State of the University Address. I am pleased to be here with our faculty, deans, associate deans, department chairs, and other academic program leaders; as well as our staff and members of our student body. I am joined this morning by members of the University Cabinet.
With the presidential election now behind us, I want to acknowledge the voter registration efforts undertaken by Howard students. The get-out-the-vote collaboration between the Howard University Student Association
|(HUSA), the College of Arts and Sciences, Rock the Vote, the NAACP, and other organizations was an excellent example of civic engagement and leadership as the nation prepared for one of the most important presidential elections in modern history. Our students are to be commended for their efforts.
It was only ten days ago when Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast and caused severe damage to communities in New York, New Jersey and beyond. We are fortunate that the University sustained no significant damage, although the Howard Plaza Towers experienced power fluctuations and some outages. Our facilities management continues to complete a full assessment of all campus buildings, and is working to complete repairs as soon as possible. I want to express appreciation to the Department of Public Safety for providing around-the-clock patrol and security services for the University during the storm and its aftermath, and for the Facilities Management staff for their efforts in monitoring and repairing damages as quickly as possible.
Although we were fortunate in the District of Columbia area, and at Howard, that the storm left us pretty much unscathed, nonetheless, our hearts and prayers go out to residents in the disaster areas as they begin the long, hard task for rebuilding their personal lives and their communities.
As I mentioned, I am joined this morning by members of my Cabinet and other University leaders. I’d like to share those leadership appointments since we last met at the State of the University address in April.
Appointment of Provost and Chief Academic Officer
In June, we completed our national search for Howard University’s Provost and Chief Academic Officer. I am pleased that Dr. Wayne A.I. Frederick accepted the Provost and CAO position. Dr. Frederick was formerly the Deputy Provost for Health Sciences and Director of the Howard University Cancer Center. He is a three time Howard alumnus (B.S. ’92, M.D. ’94, MBA ’11). Provost Frederick is an accomplished surgeon, teacher, researcher, and administrator, and we look forward to his leadership as we continue to make progress on our Academic Renewal Initiative and implement our strategic academic priorities and goals.
Appointment of Vice President and General Counsel
This summer, I also had the very good fortune of appointing a new General Counsel at Howard University. In July, we welcomed Kurt L. Schmoke, to the General Counsel’s Office; his new role in the University is Vice President and General Counsel. Counsel Schmoke was formerly the Dean of Howard University’s School of Law. He earned his undergraduate degree in history from Yale University, pursued graduate studies on a Rhodes Scholarship at Oxford University, and earned his Juris Doctor degree at Harvard Law School. We look forward to Mr. Schmoke’s leadership in this important administrative area.
Appointment of Chief Executive Officer of Howard University Hospital
I am pleased to announce that Herbert C. Buchanan, Jr. was named Chief Executive Officer of Howard University Hospital, effective October 1st. Prior to joining us at Howard University Hospital, Mr. Buchanan served as Chief Operating Officer at the University of Maryland Medical Center; and earlier served as Vice President of Operations at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago.
Appointment of Associate Vice President of Facilities
I would also like to take this opportunity to welcome our new Associate Vice President of Facilities, Real Estate, and University Architect, Mr. Alan Brangman, who was appointed in July of this year. Mr. Brangman brings to this position extensive experience in project planning, design, management and administration. He is working on the University Facilities Renewal initiative at Howard University.
Appointment of Interim Executive Director for the Office of University Communications
In July of this year, Dr. Kerry-Ann Hamilton assumed the Interim Executive Director for the Office of University Communications. Dr. Hamilton has previously served as director of strategic communications and marketing.
Appointment of Dean of the School of Pharmacy
I am also pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Anthony Wutoh as the new Dean of the School of Pharmacy at Howard. We welcome Dr. Wutoh to this new leadership position and look forward to working with him in the months and years ahead.
Selected Highlights of the Fall Semester
Every new academic year brings the opportunity for sharing the rich traditions of Howard University with new students and faculty. So much of what we do happens quickly and often goes unnoticed. It is important for us to take time to acknowledge the traditions and highlights that enrich our community. This has been a rich and productive fall semester; a few of the highlights are:
- We hosted the second annual AT&T Nations Football Classic and Presidential Symposium focusing on STEM education and the importance of the youth vote in the presidential election.
- At our Opening Convocation last month, our guest speaker was U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Ambassador Susan Rice who spoke on the importance of service and international affairs, both hallmarks of the Howard community.
- On October 15th, USAID Administrator, Dr. Rajiv Shah gave a special presentation in the School of Business, in recognition of Howard University’s partnership with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to build the next generation of international development professionals and global leaders.
- Last month, I joined Congressman Charles B. Rangel and Secretary of State Hilary Clinton to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Charles B. Rangel International Affairs Program at a State Department ceremony. This program was created in 2002 by Congressman Rangel and the Department of State, and the Ralph J. Bunche International Affairs Center of Howard University to diversify the nation’s Foreign Service and to give young people, especially minorities, exposure to careers of international service.
- Last week I had the opportunity to attend diversity in STEM fields Summit at the U.S. Department of Defense, where I served as the keynote speaker and highlighted Howard University’s leadership in graduating underrepresented students in STEM fields. This was an excellent opportunity to showcase Howard University’s programs of excellence and to engage in networking in order to increase opportunities for research funding for the University.
- We recently celebrated our annual Homecoming weekend, with our distinguished alumni and friends of the University. Many of you were able to participate in some of the Homecoming events. The theme of this year’s Homecoming was “Legendary: The Essence of Icons,” and a new event was featured this year, called “Dream Day,” where successful young celebrities, community leaders, entrepreneurs, and social activists gathered with our students to share the stories behind their success. Thank you to everyone who organized the event and to those who participated, making this year’s Homecoming event a major success.
- During the Homecoming weekend, we also held a Gala Benefit Concert to raise funds in support of the renewal of Founders Library and the Moorland-Spingarn Research Center. Three hundred people attended the Gala event, and over $292,000 in receipts and reservations was raised as part of a larger fundraising effort, which coincides with the 74th anniversary of Founders Library in 2013; and the Centennial Celebration of the Moorland-Spingarn Research Center in 2014.
This fundraising effort, referred to as the Founders Library and Moorland-Spingarn Research Center Renewal Initiative, will be launched in 2013 with the goal of raising $30 million over four years for physical improvements to coincide with the Centennial Celebration of Moorland-Spingarn and the 75th anniversary of Founders. Library priorities include:
- $15 million to rebuild and repurpose the physical plant
- $5 million for Moorland-Spingarn collections management
- $5 million to support research and teaching programs, and
- $5 million to establish the Moorland-Spingarn Research Center as a global center for African and African Diaspora Studies
- This semester we also held the inauguration of the newly established Ronald Walters Center and the appointment of Dr. Elsie Scott as the new Director. As part of the Academic Renewal Initiative, we established the Ronald W. Walters Center which will serve as an interdisciplinary focal point for public policy research, publication, and leadership development. Dr. Elsie Scott, former President and Chief Executive Officer of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation was appointed as the founding director of the Ronald Walters Center. Dr. Scott earned a bachelor’s degree from Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana; a master’s degree from the University of Iowa; and a Ph.D. from Atlanta University. We are fortunate to have Dr. Scott as the founding director of the Ronald Walters Center.
Selected Faculty Accomplishments
All of our faculty are immersed in the important work of teaching and learning. I had the pleasure of visiting eight classes this fall semester. These visits indeed were extraordinary. I watched the faculty engage our students. They challenged, enriched and encouraged our students. I know this type of experience is happening in classrooms across campus in all disciplines. Sometimes, the work that you do is recognized but mostly it goes unnoticed. However, the faculty keep doing the work to make a difference in the lives of our students. I applaud you. I’d like to share just a few of these faculty accomplishments.
Scholarship and Service
- Associate Dean Lisa Crooms-Robinson, Associate Professor Aderson Francois and visiting Assistant Professor Ajmel Quershi and two third year Howard law students authored the Howard University School of Law Fisher v. Univ. of Texas Amicus Brief.
- The American Public Health Association (APHA) awarded Dr. Roberta Hollander, Interim Chair and Professor, Department of Health, Human Performance and Leisure Studies, its Judith R. Miller Award for outstanding service to the APHA.
- Professor Barbara Hines, School of Communications, was named the 2012 Outstanding Woman in Journalism and Mass Communication Education by the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC).
- Former President William Jefferson Clinton recognized Dr. Mary H. Hill, Professor and Interim Dean College of Nursing and Allied Health Sciences, for the Division of Nursing’s partnership with the Rwanda government assisting with the development of Rwanda’s nursing education infrastructure.
- Mr. Jonathan Owens, Assistant Professor, Department of Dental Hygiene is the 2012 recipient of the American Dental Education Association’s Olav Alvares Outstanding Article Award.
- Professor Andrew Gavil, School of Law, was appointed Director of the Office of Policy Planning at the United States Federal Trade Commission.
- With funding from the District of Columbia Office of Aging, Dr. Thomas O. Obisesan, College of Medicine, has opened the Hayes Ward-6 Senior Wellness Center.
Selected New Research Awards
- Dr. Sonja Smith, Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Dr. Cynthia Winston, Associate Professor of Psychology and Dr. Paula Whetsel Ribeau received a $3.4M NSF grant to develop an innovative and strategic model for institutional transformation focused on increasing the number of female faculty and academic leaders in the STEM disciplines.
- Dr. Thomas Mellman, College of Medicine, was awarded two new grants: “Sleep and Processing Traumatic Memory,” a National Institute of Mental Health $275,000 grant; and “Sleep Adaptations to Stress,” a National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities $275,000 grant.
- The College of Pharmacy’s Center of Excellence received a five-year continuation grant for over $3.4 million from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to increase diversity in pharmacy and other health fields, and to increase the number of pharmacists in under-represented areas. Congratulations to Dr. Wutoh, and faculty, staff and students in the College of Pharmacy for this award and the work you do in this area.
- This summer, Professor Pradeep Karla, in the College of Pharmacy, was awarded the prestigious New Investigator’s Award from the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP) to undertake research on drug treatment strategies for eye diseases. Congratulations to Dr. Karla, who joined the Howard University faculty in 2009.
Our deans have also been extremely busy providing leadership for our schools, colleges and doing the work that supports our faculty and students. We have some longstanding deans who continue to serve the University with distinction. We have also called some new deans to action while we search for decanal leadership. The dean searches are at different stages.
- School of Communications: Search ongoing. New dean will be appointed in Spring 2013.
- College of Arts and Sciences: Deans Search Advisory Committee will be appointed in November 2012; Search will be launched in January 2013.
- Nursing & Allied Health Sciences: Deans Search Advisory Committee will be appointed November 2012; Search will be launched in January, 2013.
- School of Law: Search process protocol being considered.
- Graduate School: Search process protocol being considered.
The deans who currently serving in interim capacities are:
- Dr. Segun Gbadegesin is serving as Interim Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. Since 2010, Dr. Gbadegesin has served as associate dean for the Division of Humanities.
- Okianer Christian Dark, J.D. (Juris Doctor) was appointed Interim Dean of the School of Law. Dean Dark previously served as the school’s associate dean for academic affairs.
- Dr. Chuka Onwumechili was appointed Interim Dean last spring semester for the School of Communications.
- Dr. Gary Harris was appointed just a few weeks ago to serve as Interim Dean of the Graduate School. Dr. Harris is a professor of electrical engineering and the director of the Howard Nano-scale Science and Engineering Facility.
- Dr. Mary Hill is serving as Interim Dean of the College of Nursing and Allied Health Sciences and Chief Nursing Officer of HUH. We are grateful for her leadership while a national search is undertaken to appoint a permanent dean for the College and while we reconstitute a new search for the Chief Nursing Officer.
Other Search Underway – Faculty Ombudsperson Position
The search for the new Faculty Ombudsman will begin shortly. The Department of Equal Employment Opportunity/Diversity and Inclusion has met with the Faculty Senate and vetted the job description for the Ombudsperson position. The entire faculty has been surveyed and the selection committee is in the process of being appointed by the Office of Human Resources and the Faculty Senate. Pending confirmation of the selection committee, it is anticipated that the position will be filled by January 2013.
Academic Program Renewal Update
New Academic Programs
We continue to make progress in the area of Academic Program Renewal, and a list of accomplishments and works-in-progress is available on the University-Wide Renewal Initiative web-page. Updates of our Academic Program Renewal initiatives include the following new academic programs:
- BS in Elementary Education and Dual Master of Education in School Psychology and Community Counseling (School of Education)
The Board of Trustees approved a bachelor of science in elementary education and a joint education/psychology master’s degree. The development of these new degree programs follows recommendations to the Presidential Commission on Academic Renewal (PCAR). The development of a new Bachelor of Science degree in elementary education is based on the recommendation that the University create a new undergraduate teacher preparation program with a special focus on urban education.
- New Undergraduate, Doctoral Programs in the School of Communications
Last month, the Board of Trustees approved the establishment of two new undergraduate programs and a new doctoral program in the School of Communication as part of the University’s academic renewal initiative. The new undergraduate programs are: Bachelor of Arts in Strategic, Legal and Management Communications; and Bachelor of Arts in Media, Journalism and Film. The doctoral program is a Ph.D. in Communication, Culture and Media Studies.
- New On-line Academic Programs
New on-line academic programs include an on-line Executive MBA Program in the School of Business; and an on-line Paralegal Studies Program in the School of Law.
Undergraduate Curriculum Reform
The Academic Renewal Initiative also called for the reform of the University’s undergraduate curriculum, with the goal of updating the University’s general education requirements. A University-wide committee continues to work with the deans and curriculum committees of the undergraduate schools and colleges. The committee’s work is focused in the following areas:
- identify student learning outcomes,
- include all schools and colleges in the development and delivery of general education,
- streamline and simplify fulfillment of requirements within the new mandate of 120 hours required for graduation,
- improve the University’s 4-year graduation rate, and
- provide rigorous academic advisement and other support services for all students, along with support for students who need remediation
Working with the Provost, the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee will make recommendations by mid-November; and these recommendations will be vetted through the faculty in November and December, 2012. The Provost will consult with the deans and make recommendations to me in December 2012; my recommendations will be submitted to the Board of Trustees during the spring 2013 semester. Implementation of the new undergraduate curriculum will begin in the fall of 2013.
Faculty Renewal Update
Faculty Compensation Plan
A subcommittee of the Budget Advisory Committee (BAC) was established to develop recommendations for a Faculty Compensation Plan. The subcommittee identified a Middle States peer group for salary comparison purposes and proposed a five-year implementation schedule to adjust the salaries of Howard University faculty members to make them competitive with peer institutions.
The Provost initiated discussion with the Budget Advisory Committee this fall to refine the proposed compensation plan prior to submitting recommendations to me that is affordable and sustainable in order to secure Board of Trustee approval.
Faculty Phased Retirement Program (PRP)
At the beginning of the 2011-12 academic year, the University offered the Phased Retirement Program (PRP) to retirement-eligible tenured, Career Status, and Master Instructor faculty. The PRP is a one-time, entirely voluntary program. Faculty who elected to participate could fully retire on June 30, 2012, or could choose to progressively reduce their workloads over a period of up to five years, with the program individually tailored to a faculty member’s personal situation while considering the instructional and other needs of the faculty member’s department.
The University offered a range of benefits to faculty who elected to enter the PRP, including a retirement incentive payment of up to a year’s salary for faculty with 26 or more years of credited Howard service.
- 447 faculty were eligible to apply to participate in the PRP.
- 212 faculty members submitted PRP applications y the November 30th, 2011 application deadline.
- 194 faculty members reached mutual understandings with their deans regarding their PRP arrangements by the February 29th deadline.
- 174 faculty members chose to enter the PRP.
- 35 faculty members retired on June 30th, 2012, as members of the PRP.
It should be noted that all schools and colleges are represented among the pool of PRP participants.
Faculty members who retired during the 2012 fiscal year were honored at a reception and public recognition ceremony held on September 6th in the Blackburn Center.* The combined career experience reflected more than 1,500 years of educational leadership and academic experience, with these senior faculty creating and developing academic programs to which they had devoted most of their professional careers. It was an honor to participate in the Faculty Retirees Recognition Ceremony earlier this semester, and celebrate the rich contributions these faculty members have made to Howard University. Their contributions to the Howard legacy will live on in the lives of generations of students and faculty to come.
Proposed Revisions to the Faculty Handbook
During the accreditation site visit by the Middle State Commission on Higher Education, the recommendation was made by the Commission that Howard University undertake revisions to the 1993 Faculty Handbook. Following consultations with the Faculty Senate, the Provost and the deans, a Faculty Handbook Revision Committee was appointed to develop proposed revisions to the Handbook. Following an extensive assessment and review process, the draft revised Faculty Handbook is now available online for review. The vetting process was initiated on November 5, 2012.
Following the review and comments period, the Faculty Handbook Revision Committee will meet to determine if changes to the draft Handbook are indicated, before submitting it to me for consideration.
Update on Students First Initiative
I created the Students First Initiative in the Fall of 2008 right after I arrived at Howard. The initiative was designed to enhance service to students and to enrich the University’s Student-Centered environment. Efforts have focused on service and student learning beyond the classroom. Specific initiatives that are underway are:
- Freshman Leadership Academy
The Freshman Leadership Academy was created to introduce first-year students to the responsibilities and challenges associated with local, national, and international leadership. This year, 53 students were selected to join the third Leadership Academy class.
- Students Speak Research Institute
The Students Speak Research Institute is a student-led research institute that seeks to bridge the gap between research and student advocacy. Students Speak is mentored by the Office of Institutional Assessment and Student Affairs. The Advisory Board includes faculty members and Student Affairs staff.
- Proposal for Minor or Certificate in Leadership
A proposal is under review for the development of a minor or certificate in Leadership for Howard University students, with a collaboration envisioned between Student Affairs and academic programs.
Learning Cohorts have been established as informal gatherings that provide opportunities for students, faculty, and staff to engage in dialogue on topics of common and timely interest.
The development of faculty ambassador programs is underway in selected residence halls to strengthen the bond between the world of the classroom and the world where students live.
The Center for Career, Education, Development and Research is developing partnerships with faculty and Career Services.
Bridging the Gap – Student Aid Campaign
Another very important initiative to support Howard students is the Bridging the Gap - Student Aid Campaign that was launched last March at Charter Day. The campaign is designed to provide need-based scholarships to Howard University students. The goal of the Bridging the Gap campaign is to establish a $25 million unrestricted and endowed scholarship fund. Retaining students and allowing them to thrive is at the core of what we do.
Due to the economic climate, nearly 90 percent of Howard students require some form of financial aid. Many of our most promising students are having their academic careers interrupted because they are unable to meet their financial obligations.
Last year, the Bridging the Gap - Student Aid Campaign provided nearly $400,000 in immediate aid to more than 200 students in need. Your contribution to the Campaign through the Howard Family Fund can make an immediate difference in the lives of our students. No contribution is too small. Gifts to the campaign are direct investments in Howard students. I urge you to answer the call.
Facilities Renewal Update
Over the past two years, we implemented a campus-wide Facilities Renewal Initiative and invested $28 million in major renovation projects to support our academic programs and administrative services. Renovations on eight buildings are now complete, including Numa Adams, Cramton Auditorium, Lock and Frazier Halls, and the Service Center. Burr Gymnasium and Downing Hall will also undergo major renovations that are designed to foster an enhanced environment for study and research.
The University has also invested nearly $4 million in renovation and building upgrades for each of its thirteen residence halls. The updates included new furniture, painting upgrades, and a significant upgrade of lounge area furnishings in most of the halls. Approximately 75 percent of the furniture was installed in early August, with the remainder to be installed in December of this year.
This academic year, the University’s historic Founders Undergraduate Library is undergoing major renovations to significantly enhance the facility. The renovations are designed to foster a more conducive environment for study and research. When the library re-opens in the fall of 2013, it will boast a number of upgrades, including a café, state-of-the-art technology and research services, redesigned study and collaboration spaces, and increased accessibility to book collections and resources on- and off-campus.
During the renovations, Founders will continue to provide library services for all students.
In addition to renovations and upgrades, several new construction projects are underway at Howard. This spring, we will break ground on two new residence halls that are designed to serve as state-of-the-art living and learning communities for more than 1,300 students. We will also begin construction on the University’s new Interdisciplinary STEM Research Building this spring semester. The construction of a $5 million state-of-the-art “surgical simulation center” in the College of Medicine has also begun and will be completed in January of 2013.
Fiscal Stability and Stewardship at Howard
I am pleased to report that we successfully closed the 2012 fiscal year on budget with a positive balance. This was the third successive year that Howard operated in the black, following a two year operating loss prior to my arrival of $85 million for the 2008 and 2009 fiscal years.
As you are aware, when the first half of the 2012 fiscal year financial reports indicated that we were at risk for ending Fiscal Year 2012 with a negative operating budget, it was necessary that we take immediate action to implement a number of difficult cost reduction measures and implement additional financial controls to ensure that all departments and units operated within their allocated budgets. These efforts were successful, and during the second half of the 2012 fiscal year, the entire campus community was engaged in eliminating longstanding patterns of expenditures and demonstrating its commitment to fiscal accountability.
I want to express my appreciation to all members of the University community for your cooperation in helping to meet our budget requirements for the 2012 fiscal year. As a result of the efforts of the entire campus community, we were able to close out our last fiscal year on budget.
I know you are aware that these are fiscally challenging times for higher education throughout our nation. It is critical that we continue to exercise strong fiscal discipline as we move through the 2012-2013 academic year, while focusing and directing our resources toward the continued implementation of the strategic goals and priorities of our University-wide renewal initiatives.
The lower-than-anticipated fall enrollment numbers and consequent loss of revenue will add significant stress to the University’s 2013 fiscal year operating budget. Responsible stewardship of limited financial resources will continue to be an imperative for all members of the Howard University community.
Over the last four years, we have worked together to develop and implement a number of strategic initiatives that lay the foundation for University-wide renewal, as we build upon Howard’s rich legacy of excellence in teaching, research and service. Our institutional renewal initiatives in the five areas of Academic Renewal, Faculty Renewal, Administrative and Staff Renewal, Facilities Renewal, and our Students First Initiative are critical to the future well-being of Howard University and the students and communities we serve.
The goals we set are ambitious, but through the hard work, dedication and sacrifices of many members of the Howard University community, we have accomplished much over the last four years - and we continue to move forward in the new academic year with new vitality and momentum.
I look forward to taking your questions, and working with you throughout the fall and spring semesters, as together we move Howard University to new levels of innovation and academic excellence.
* Note: Number of PRP faculty fully retiring on June 30th of each year from 2012 to 2017:
35 in 2012; 22 in 2013; 25 in 2014; 27 in 2015; 10 in 2016; and 54 in 2017 (for a total of 173).