Why do some African-American students hold these negative views of HBCUs?
Perhaps, these negative views are due to a lack of marketing expertise, recruitment and an inability of HBCU leadership to aggressively pursue the very students they want to serve.
When I think of effective HBCU leadership, I think of Fredrick Humphries. Dr. Humphries was president at Florida A&M University when I attended from 1985 until 1989.
In his 16 years leading FAMU, Dr. Humphries recruited the best and brightest African-American students as if they were first-round NFL draft picks. Where is that vigor and pursuit of excellence?
Here is some advice to help HBCUs increase student enrollment:
1. Hire presidents who know how to fund-raise and are politically connected. To attract the best students, you must be able to compete. To compete with the Harvards of the world, you need money.
2. Hire the best grant writers in the business and go after private, state and federal funds to support and grow your academic programs. These people should have an office located next to the president’s office.
3. Hire the best marketing experts your budget will allow. Hire someone from a Fortune 500 company who knows how to market your university the way Apple markets its iPhone.
4. Hire expert recruiters. These recruiters should visit the largest urban high school campuses in the United States. They should attend K-12 education conferences and build relationships with superintendents and middle and high school principals who will serve as ambassadors.
5. Partner with multimillion-dollar athletes, entertainers, politicians, and business leaders and ask for their help.
HBCUs produce 16 percent of all bachelor’s degrees earned by African-Americans, 25 percent of all bachelor’s degrees in education earned by African-Americans and 22 percent of all bachelor’s degrees in STEM fields earned by African-American students.
Come on guys. Where is our pride? Oh, and one more thing, it doesn’t matter what color these individuals are who will help revive our once-great institutions.