Preparing future business leaders today – Business Education Roundtable – Panel Discussion
The deans of historically black business schools discuss the challenges facing their students and programs
FEW ROLES WILL BE AS CRITICAL AS WE move into the 21st century as preparing the next generation of students at the nation’s historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) for their place in business. From corporate boardrooms to entrepreneurial businesses, economic parity will continue to be the next civil rights agenda, as witnessed by recent corporate developments.
Until the ’60s, HBCUs were the principal architects and developers of black minds and talents, especially in business. The past 20 years or so have seen more African Americans moving into business, particularly in corporations, as the opportunity to attend predominantly white educational institutions opened up. Nevertheless, HBCUs have continued to be a gold mine for black entrepreneurial and executive leadership.
There are 114 HBCUs. Most offer business programs, and 66 award undergraduate degrees in the field. Eighteen offer master’s degrees in business, but none has a Ph.D. program yet. In November, BLACK ENTERPRISE gathered together 12 deans of business at leading HBCUs and invited them to participate in the first Business Education Roundtable at our New York office. The discussion focused on the role black B-schools must play in preparing African American students for the coming years in business, and the future of HBCU business school programs.
Roundtable participants were: Dr. Joseph L. Boyd, dean, Norfolk State University School of Business and Entrepreneurship; Dr. Quiester Craig, dean, North Carolina A&T State University School of Business and Economics; Dr. Edward L. Davis, interim dean, Clark Atlanta University School of Business; Dr. Glenda B. Glover, dean, Jackson State University School of Business; Dr. Barron H. Harvey, dean, Howard University School of Business; Dr. Millicent Lownes-Jackson, associate dean, Tennessee State University College of Business; Dr. George M. Neely, associate dean, Tuskegee University School of Business, Organization and Management; Dr. James Parham, dean, Hampton University School of Business; Dr. Lucy J. Reuben, dean, South Carolina State University School of Business; Dr. Willis B. Sheftall Jr., chairman, Department of Economics and Business Administration, Morehouse College School of Business; Dr. Priscilla Dean Slade, dean, Texas Southern University’s Jesse H. Jones School of Business; Dr. Otis A. Thomas, dean, Morgan State University’s Earl G. Graves School of Business and Management.
MR. EARL G. GRAVES: Welcome and thank you for participating in our first annual BLACK ENTERPRISE Business Education Roundtable. We are all too aware that the increasingly competitive environment in business and corporate America is forcing African Americans to make major adjustments in our educational and professional preparation. As a result, the infrastructure of our institutions of higher learning will be forced to make changes in order to survive and thrive. In light of these developments, what advantage do HBCU business schools offer African American students that business schools in traditionally white institutions do not?
DR. QUIESTER CRAIG: HBCUs have a long heritage of excellence. We believe that the ability to see others who look like ourselves doing things has tremendous impact on the young mind. Second, we create an awareness that success is possible. Awareness is key to aspirations, which drive enthusiasm. We believe that through an awareness of the successful leaders who have been spawned by HBCUs, aspiration is created. It creates the sense, `Not only do I want this, but I can do it.’
DR. PRISCILLA DEAN SLADE: There are primary differences between HBCUs and majority institutions. First, our environment gives students an opportunity to exercise their leadership skills. Often, it’s not a matter of racism but a matter of sheer numbers. You don’t often get minority students in leadership positions running college campuses. In the HBCU environment, you’ll find that students have the opportunity to build leadership skills, to practice what we teach them in the classroom.
Second, the environment allows them to focus on academics as opposed to other ancillary things, such as, `Does this teacher really want me in this room?’–when you should be thinking about what’s actually taking place in the classroom.
Third, our systems are designed to allow students to excel. Often in majority school environments you find curves. For example, at one university, a certain percentage of students were required to fail. They want to weed people out. Our basic philosophy is that we should do everything within our power to help our students succeed and excel. That’s how our system was built, and the foundation upon which we operate.
DR. GEORGE NEELY: I think, for the most part, we are all located in black communities. So, we have a real opportunity through community development corporations, through the businesses that exist right next to us, through the entrepreneurs and people who are there, to send our students out to do things that will improve the quality of life where we exist. That’s a unique laboratory opportunity you don’t get at a white school.
DR. JAMES PARHAM: We put into our students the mind-set that they can and should be in charge. We want them to go out into the world and be leaders–and to major in accounting and finance and start businesses. You’re not going to get that same encouragement at the majority universities.
DR. OTIS THOMAS: There is one other issue historically black schools face. Many times the markers used for students entering into the universities and the caliber of students are based on some type of statistical measure, such as SAT scores. I think we have been able to dispel the myth that SAT scores are the primary ingredient in coming in. An atmosphere is created that says that we deeply believe that these students can succeed. That in itself is translated to the student. When students have the notion that you believe they can be successful, you bring out something that would not normally be brought out in a student.
BE: Specifically, what role must HBCU business schools play in educating and preparing the next generation of African American students about corporate and entrepreneurial leadership?
DR. CRAIG: HBCUs must be forward thinking, and revise their curriculum to understand that students learn differently and that there are different things that students should learn. Our faculty must develop cases, and African American leaders must be the source of developing cases through speakers, campus involvement, interaction and practice in the classroom. HBCUs must reach out, both in the curriculum and in other resources that are part of the business program.
DR. JOSEPH BOYD: Several years ago, we realized that the combination of downsizing, a glass ceiling and where we were in the urban community meant that just preparing students in a traditional way to take a position in a large corporation was not what we wanted to do. So, we changed our mission focus to quality education in business with an emphasis on entrepreneurship. What we tell every student is that you have several options. You can work for a large corporation but have an entrepreneurial spirit. Second, we tell them about going to graduate school. But third, we ask each of them to work on a business plan over a four-year period so it’s set in their minds that at a certain point in time, they should consider starting their own business. Ten years ago, the focus at all the schools was on training students to get a good education and get a job. That has changed, and our programs are going to have to change. We need to tell students that if you can start a basic business and operate that for 10 or 15 years, you’ll be in good shape economically.
DR. GLENDA B. GLOVER: Now students will have to be multiskilled and multidimensional. It’s more than just the Internet, multimedia and CD-ROM. These will become just the minimum requirements for success in business. They have to learn, and we have to teach them to think more strategically. Students now have to be cross-disciplinary trained. That’s going to be very important as they grow to think more strategically, more imaginatively and become knowledge-based workers. In fact, some companies are creating what’s called a CKO, chief knowledge officer, in addition to a CFO and a COO. Knowledge is becoming that much more important.
DR. EDWARD L. DAVIS: Let me highlight a problem that I see. Our students can’t read in Business Week about a black school in the top 25 business schools. We are viewed as second-class citizens, whether we want to admit it or not. We’re not in that top 25, and our students read it and they ask, Why not? When there were very few accredited black schools in the AACSB [American Assembly of Collegiate Schools of Business], everybody said that’s the benchmark. Now I hear my white counterparts saying, `That’s the minimum, that’s the floor.’ When we start to get in, they always make comments about how it’s not what it used to be. We might have to make a BLACK ENTERPRISE top 20 or something because our students are looking at those signals. They know they get a good education in our institutions, but they don’t see the outside world viewing us in the same light. We have to change that because our education is just as good.
DR. SLADE: We’ve got to educate corporate America as well because they believe that the better minority students go to majority institutions–and we only get what’s left. It’s their perception that if young black Americans can enter the University of Texas, Wharton or Harvard, then that is where they will go; they surely would not select Texas Southern or Howard. We’ve got to educate corporate America that if they want talented, quality minorities, they need to come where there is a variety–and not just go where you might find one or two. Why would you go looking for large numbers of minority students at majority institutions? Inform them that we have academically talented students who chose to go to minority institutions.
DR. BARRON HARVEY: We need to find some mechanism to challenge the elements that Business Week uses to arrive at their top 25. If you look at the attributes that are necessary for a quality educational institution, you’ll find that more than half of the things they’re using have gone awry. If you look in terms of value added, where your graduates are able to go and what you are able to do with the kind of students and achievers you have, I think we’ll find that we are in that top 25.
DR. PARHAM: One of the intangibles offered by a HBCU is the information that you get back from graduates. It’s family. When they are out in the workplace, they inform us of changes, of extra preparation that is needed because of how they are looked upon. The other day, a graduate now in corporate America called to ask advice. These students have no mentors and role models [in the corporations], and call back to talk to their professors. We get the residual benefit of what is needed to better prepare our students.
BE: In an article, the chairman of a department at Lemoine Owen College in Nashville said that HBCU business schools do not prepare African Americans for international business. Is this true?
DR. LUCY REUBEN: That’s not true today, and should be less true in the future. At South Carolina State University, we are reviewing our curriculum, and are looking at requiring a foreign language with placement for international internships. We have already started with a couple of our international internships; we had an internship in Indonesia last summer, and intend to expand that. We are now putting into place a system that will hopefully lead to mandatory internships, including international experiences. We are part of a consortium, and I know some others here are also part of a consortium based in the Dominican Republic and Jamaica. And we are looking at some [internships] in South Africa and Zimbabwe.
DR. WILLIS SHEFTALL: Whether they actually go abroad immediately after graduating from college is a secondary issue. For me, it’s being prepared for work in a global environment. At Morehouse, we have had a strong focus on this particular issue for years. Our students already do two years of a foreign language, and we strongly recommend those seriously interested in working abroad develop some fluency in a foreign language. For over 10 years, we have taken 20-25 students abroad each spring. That trip is financed completely by corporate support.
There is a difference between actual and perceived quality. What most of us have done is concentrate on developing actual quality in our programs, and we’ve done a good job there. Where we have not done a great job is in the perception of quality in our programs. That’s because we have not been aggressive enough in telling our own stories, in pointing to our successes. We are, in fact, in competition with other institutions for students.
BE: The younger group coming up, Generation X, is looking at entrepreneurship as a first option, as opposed to integrating themselves into big corporations. What are your schools doing to keep this process going forward?
DR. GLOVER: The first time I addressed the student body at Jackson State, I started by saying, `As your new dean, I do you a disservice by preparing you to get a job.’ Of course, one of my superiors said, `Have you completely flipped?’ We like to say that our approach is going to be entrepreneurship. We have developed a curriculum where a student can now major in entrepreneurship. It’s new and starts in the fall, and consists of 21 hours of entrepreneurship. They can either go into business when they finish or at whatever point they feel is appropriate.
Second, each HBCU probably has a small business development center that works on business plans. But that’s not enough; it only takes you halfway there. You’ve got to get a business financed. So, we’ve put together a minority capital fund, whereby we make nontraditional loans.
DR. NEELY: We are doing things with undergraduates that only happen with graduate students. We tell freshmen and sophomores that we have a loan fund through our micro units and your business plan might qualify. You’ll be set up with the loan, but are going to have to go through a certain amount of training before becoming eligible. At the end of a few months, we can see by the bottom line, whether or not the student has made a profit or is in the hole. We’ll see that kind of assignment in a freshman principal management class. We’ll say you have to come up with a product, a marketing plan and a profit-and-loss statement before you leave for Christmas vacation. I’ve had kids come back and say, ‘Hey, I got money to get home, get back and do a few other things because the people came to market. We sold the things–all in mass–to somebody.’ Where you’ll see another school take an M.B.A. student and put them in that situation, we’re taking freshmen and sophomores.
Also, we opened a sports and entertainment practice this year, and have students on one-year internships as associates with assistant athletic directors in the NCAA, and with other places such as Disney. We’re also thinking about hospitality. Meanwhile, we’re seeing students start payroll and benefit tracking systems for companies, and sell those practices to organizations that have decided they no longer want to do these functions.
DR. THOMAS: We’ve been able to set up a committee of faculty within the school, along with businesspeople in the community, to help some students incorporate their businesses. They set up a business plan and incorporate, and are able to get some funding. If the businesses are not too demanding on funds, we can actually finance and support some of those businesses that are set up. And we’ve had students with very successful ventures.
BE: What are your schools doing to meet the rapidly changing needs of business?
DR. DAVIS: The Educational Testing Service has pulled together a task force to develop an assessment instrument to say what management skills are needed to go into entrepreneurship or corporate America. They have a laundry list with about 30 things on it. As you read down the list, you see written and oral communication, presentation skills, conflict resolution, team meetings, managing stress and interpersonal skills. When students come to our institutions, they get those opportunities everyday in the classroom. We also take students out and show them what fork to pick up at a business meal, something they might not get at the big schools because it’s assumed they know that kind of thing. So the holistic approach to education is the added value that we provide at these schools, which is often not stated. All of us do good academics, but we add value to make sure students know what goes into business, and understand what owning and operating a business involves.
DR. HARVEY: I wrote a grant several years ago for a mayor corporation to put together a program for students who would not otherwise have an opportunity to attend Howard. We identified 13 students who were rejected but had attributes in terms of grade point average or other things they had done, and brought them onto the campus. We put them in teams, made them live together and assigned them an upperclass student mentor. Some four years later, these students graduated at a higher rate than our regular students. They also had a higher retention and grade point average. So we’ve implemented that whole process throughout the entire school.
DR. SHEFTALL: When we talk about entrepreneurship, we have to be careful not to look exclusively at students within the school of business. When I think about some of the outstanding entrepreneurs who’ve graduated from Morehouse, one of the names that pops up is Spike Lee. Now Spike was not a business major. Another example would be Herman Cain, a math major. They are both leading entrepreneurs in very different fields. Many entrepreneurs are not going to be business majors. You have to make sure to provide opportunities for those students who come from other majors to be exposed to entrepreneurship as an alternative. Somehow we must help them avoid those huge pitfalls that we prepare our business students to avoid.
DR. MILLICENT LOWNES-JACKSON: We’re very strong on entrepreneurship at TSU. In fact, we have a chair of excellence in entrepreneurship. We have an incubation center and 21 businesses in the center serving as a laboratory for our students. They actually go over there and work in the businesses. We have a small business development center and a women’s institute with successful entrepreneurs. We have small business classes, and have students out in the community, particularly the black business community, providing consulting. All of that is unique to what we can offer at a black school. We instill the whole concept of entrepreneurship and its importance to black economic development.
DR. PARHAM: One of the things we’re trying to do–and we’re talking in the future here–is to go to emerging market “countries of color” to teach them the entrepreneurial spirit that they have not had the opportunity to develop. Not only are we doing it internally in the local community by starting student-run businesses, we are now taking that same concept across the ocean and trying to do it in Mother Africa.
DR. REUBEN: We’re looking at leadership training not only in the entrepreneurial or corporate training we do, but in terms of training students to view opportunities in an ongoing way. We have got to teach leadership, break it down into its components and put it back together in a relevant and dynamic context. We are looking at professional development courses, taking those classes where we have a leadership perspective in line with our mission of leadership and service. Many of the significant institutions in the African American community are nonprofit ones, and many of our leaders are in the political arena. So we need leadership training and components of management for nonprofit institutions.
DR. THOMAS: We’re also engaged in executive training. We’ve had joint partnerships with the Wharton School, where we bring over groups of about 30 at a time in a three-week program, where students spend a week at Morgan and a week at Wharton. After the two-week training program, they spend their final week in local businesses for the practical experience.
We’re also engaged in training in the newly independent Eastern European countries of the former Soviet Union; they are particularly interested in moving from a nonmarket to a market economy. It also gives faculty the interaction of developing case material in a different arena-the international one. While it’s an opportunity to provide a service, it also gives us a chance to infuse the curriculum with materials that we probably would not be exposed to in another arena.
DR. HARVEY: One of the things we’re exploring at Howard is an executive M.B.A. program on two levels. I took a group of individuals to do an international executive program in partnership with an institution in Jamaica. We re also exploring an executive M.B.A. in conjunction with the medical and dental schools, because there’s real need among graduates who are coming back and demanding that they have more exposure to business–because they are “business-people,” yet are technically trained as physicians and dentists.
BE: What happens to your alumni when they go out to interview for a job, and here they’re sitting next to somebody with an M.B.A. from MIT? What is the feedback you’re getting as they go into corporate America or start their own businesses?
DR. GLOVER: Our students complain that the salaries are not the same. I found this particularly true at Jackson State, but I also found it true at Howard. The students say their salaries are lower than the salaries [of students from white schools], even though the schools are accredited.
DR. REUBEN: I sit on a board at a school that’s regularly in the top ranking and we’ve analyzed this, too. Race may be an issue, but there are other issues that even those schools in the top 10 have to deal with. Part of it has to do with the section of the country; part of it is the area involved, that is, the more technical areas make more. If you don’t have a lot of people with engineering and technology backgrounds, you’re going to suffer. The other issue is how much and what type of work experience the student brings to the table.
DR. SLADE: Our M.B.A. program features night classes, and our students already have jobs. They come to us to become more upwardly mobile in the company they’re currently with. And typically when they apply for better positions in their companies, the fact that they got their degree from Texas Southern doesn’t seem to make a difference. What makes the difference is that they had the initiative to go back to school in addition to working from eight to five.
DR. HARVEY: At Howard, we have an awful lot of corporations and companies come in, but they basically look at the top 20% of our students. They all fight and juggle for them, and then they argue because they can’t get two or three when they get ready to leave.
The students give us feedback in terms of such issues as salary and challenges they face. What they are showing us, in some instances, is that they are not given the same opportunity initially to compete and to embrace new assignments. Therefore, they’re starting out of the gate a little late, and are slower getting onto that fast track toward the junior-executive level.
DR. GLOVER: That’s true. They’re in nonprofits, not the big firms where they can get the experience they need. You don’t get the same level of learning when you go to a nonprofit organization, like an American Cancer Society, that you would if you’re at a General Motors.
DR. PARHAM: Based on some initial information we’ve gotten, we hope to get in the competitive race with M.B.A.s. A few incidents have told us that there is a market, and our feedback from students confirms that. In the October issue of BLACK ENTERPRISE, which featured people on Wall Street, one of them noted their M.B.A. came from Hampton University. Many of you probably didn’t even know that Hampton had an M.B.A. program. I didn’t know it when I accepted the job here. That’s how little advertisement there is about the program. I was there about two weeks and late one evening in comes a faxed request from mainland China for information on my M.B.A. program–one that I didn’t even know existed! But then, everything else that has been said is true: black students coming from black colleges are behind the
DR. DAVIS: We have one of the oldest M.B.A. programs. We probably have about 2,500 black M.B.A.s out there across the country and internationally. We view our competition on the M.B.A. level as those 25 colleges that you find in Business Week. We have always prided ourselves on being the largest producer of black M.B.A.s. Then Michigan had more than we did one year-end; that’s a real threat to our market. Schools like Michigan with its big money, and the Whartons, Stanfords and Harvards, are going after the same students. The top 20% of our students can compete with everybody. It’s that bottom 80% that the corporations are not readily coming to grab up. They all want that 20%, so we have difficulty in making sure that at graduation we have 100% placement. Five or six years ago, we would have had a 100% placement rate at graduation, with six or nine job offers.
DR. LOWNES-JACKSON: I would like to add another dimension to this whole M.B.A. phenomenon. A key issue is that even though we are an HBCU, approximately only 20% of our M.B.A. students are black; 60% are white; and about 20% foreign. When you start talking about graduates of HBCUs, you think black, but it may not necessarily be a black person coming out of an HBCU. This might be a trend of the future.
DR. NEELY: We have decided that as soon as we are successful in our accreditation, we’re going to launch a master’s in economics program. We, like others, have partnerships in completing Ph.D.s at Michigan and Purdue. We also have been successful sending our students to University off Chicago, to Illinois and to Wharton for their M.B.A. programs, and they’ve fared well.
BE: Everyone has talked about whom they are working with, and where they are sending their students to graduate school. Why are you not using a Clark Atlanta or a Howard or Hampton as the feeder system to bring out new black M.B.A.s?
DR. DAVIS: Being that I have probably had the most national of the M.B.A. programs, quite frankly our undergraduate institutions do not send us their best students. The best students from those schools go to the big, white schools, and we sort of get the next group, the second 80%. Now, from the white schools, we get some of the better students, who have gone there and had bad experiences and want to come back home. So for our better students, our feeder schools are Florida, Purdue, Michigan, Ohio State-students who have gone there and had bad times.
DR. HARVEY: Let me make a distinction about the 20% and the 80%. The difference between them is marginal. For example, there is the student with a grade point average of 3.7 and 3.8, and then you got the one at 3.5. They don’t want the 3.5. They want the 3.7s and up. Several years ago, I was asked to make a presentation to the Graduate Management Admissions Council. The idea was that my presentation was supposed to be about the role of the HBCUs in feeding our graduates to their quality M.B.A. programs. That was not the thing that I wanted to say. What I told them was that they needed to look at their institutions, at the undergraduate level, because their students were coming to us and we wanted to encourage that. I can tell you they just about had a fit when I told them that they are the feeder for Clark Atlanta and Howard. Their African American graduates come to us for graduate studies. In fact, we’re enjoying a degree of success with those students who have been frustrated and want to come home.
BE: What additional resources do HBCUs need to fulfill their individual missions? How is corporate America or small business working with you to achieve these gains?
DR. GLOVER: The role of the dean has changed in recent years because deans spend more time now being external deans–lobbying, fundraising, meeting with individuals. That used to be only the effort of the president, but now that has become departmentalized because of shrinking budgets.
We’re starting partnerships with corporations. We’re not asking them to just give money, but to be a partner with us. We would like them to take part in our mission development–mentoring, role modeling, speaking to the students, assisting us in development activities.
DR. THOMAS: The tuition increases are making Morgan competitive with the historically private schools. With the population we are dealing with, we must be more concerned about establishing the right partnerships. Fundraising has to be a major concern, so that we can deliver the same services at a cost that will not make it more difficult for our students to receive an education.
DR. DEAN SLADE: I would like to add that the resources that we need are the same resources that any institution needs–finances and time. We need funds that are dedicated to professorships and scholarships, or research and faculty residencies at corporations during the summer so they can get firsthand experience about what is going on in the corporate world and bring that information to bear in the classroom. But the availability of resources differ. I have been very candid with my board of advisors, which is made up of executives from some of the major corporations in the city, by telling them that we cannot expect to get from our alumni the kind of funds that the University of Texas gets from their alumni.
There is the glass ceiling that exists and it’s alive and functioning. If our arums are kept at a certain level then we can only expect them to give at a certain level. What we try to do is really create win-win situations with individuals in the corporate arena. We want people involved with Texas Southern who are genuinely interested in the livelihood and the upward mobility of African American students. We make them understand that it’s in their best interests to make sure that these students receive as high a quality of education as they possibly can. We have, therefore, a very good group of corporate people who have bought into our program.
DR. HARVEY: The real challenge is making our corporate partners truly partners. Those in a give-and-take relationship with us, who derive value from this association, should provide the same kind of support they give to other institutions with similar relationships–particularly in recruitment and the number of students they take. This is true for all white institutions in their dealing with HBCUs. That is a major challenge for deans: to continue to press that case to the Arthur Andersons, GMs and Fords that they are taking a lot more students out of our schools, yet we’re getting only 20% compared with what they give to majority institutions.
DR. SHEFTALL: The other place that we could do a lot more is making good use of our own graduates. In recent years, we have found that we have success in getting resources from corporations where our own graduates are placed fairly high. And they [these graduates] have been very helpful in getting corporate support to us. One of the things that I think we have to deal with now is that a lot of firms that gave money in the past still give money, but they are restricting it increasingly to student development and support. That’s fine for this year, but that doesn’t do enough for us in making sure that the delivery mechanism stays current over time. Our challenge is getting corporations to give us additional funding for programs that don’t yield them immediate benefits, such as scholarships.
The alumni issue has another dimension to it. We have to be careful not to get discouraged because we don’t get big dollar amounts from the alumni. I think we also have to concentrate on the power of our convincing other people, friends, corporations and foundations to give us money. It’s not simply showing the total dollar amount that we get from alumni, but the rate of participation. We have no excuse for not getting higher rates of participation, and have to be much more aggressive in getting our giving rate up.
DR. DEAN SLADE: When I started soliciting funding for scholarships, it was for individual scholarships for students coming in that year. It didn’t take me long to realize that it’s a very tedious process. If you get a company to commit to a four-year scholarship, you don’t go back to that company until after that four-year commitment is over. You essentially have to build new relationships every year. In order to not run into that kind of thing, we began to solicit funding for endowed scholarships. I decided on the dollar amount of endowments that we needed to sustain a level of incoming academically talented minority youth. That’s the amount that I’m building to make sure that–forever and a day, and regardless of who’s in the dean’s slot–we’ll always have scholarship funding for academically talented youth.
DR. DAVIS: There are three areas that we face all the time and that we find very difficult to keep up with. We can’t afford to fund the technology advances out of what we take in, so we need to develop some way to get that technology money. Faculty development money is always very difficult to get. And then, scholarships. But we need scholarship endowments. When you read about other schools that have $40, $50, $60 and $70 million dollar endorsements, and we’re scraping to get $10,000 and $15,00–it’s apples and oranges. We have to change that, and alumni have to help. They can help build the endowment by slow, methodical giving.
DR. LOWNES-JACKSON: We’ve only been in the fundraising business for the last two years. We have built a wall of excellence on the downtown campus, and have these big bricks or plates representing the different corporations that have given scholarships to our students. We’ve found that folks need to see their name in lights. They need to feel that they are building something. Then, of course, there’s a massive fundraising campaign for our Chair of Excellence in Banking and Financial Services. Fundraising is a science in itself and it’s a full-time job. A lot of deans of colleges of business are not equipped to really deal with fundraising.
BE: How do we increase the number of Ph.D. and, ultimately, graduate students?
DR. PARHAM: There were three of us at Pitt with Ph.D.s in business. When I got to Hampton, there were two African Americans on the faculty with Ph.D.s in business, and I was one of them. Right then and there, it sent a real chill through me that we need to do something. We have 85% Ph.D.s, but they are not African Americans. Therefore, we are tailoring our M.B.A. program to recruit people with one of our niches to send out Ph.D.s by making it a research-oriented M.B.A. so they can go into the industry or back to graduate school.
DR. GLOVER We should encourage our students to choose education as a career. One, we have a duty to learn, and have a duty to impart that knowledge to somebody else–hopefully, other African Americans. We can look over our students with the skills and ability and target them for teaching. There’s nothing wrong with teaching, taking a low-paying job, if the rewards are worth it.
Second, we need to grow our own Ph.D.s. Obviously, it wasn’t our idea at Jackson State. But the state of Mississippi has mandated that Jackson State get a doctorate program in business. It has to start somewhere. That Jackson State, which just recently became mainstream [made its curriculum and admission standards comparable to other Mississippi colleges], could get the response that we got–it was announced in October and we have had 77 requests about this doctorate in business and most are not from Mississippi–was surprising to us. We’ve also got to figure out how to make a doctorate in business just as attractive as an M.B.A., and see that it makes the same money that it does in other schools. It doesn’t lose money on every campus. I have talked to other schools in our neck of the woods and they’re not losing the money we thought they were.
DR. HARVEY: I’m not sure that we are opening up all the kinds of things that they [students] might be able to achieve with a doctorate. We all know that you can, as a full-time faculty member, be entrepreneurial and have a high degree of autonomy to allow you a lot more flexibility than you would have in any other position.
DR. NEELY: I think there are some folks who were at mid-career who have significant experience, and we’re going to get those folks in doctoral programs. We’re also going to keep young people through the McNair program, identifying the bright students who can publish at the graduate level and telling them there is a discipline and that it leads to a career. We’re going to push from both ends.
DR. SHEFTALL: One other quick avenue would be students who might be leaning toward careers in education already, but not necessarily in the disciplines that they are currently in. Case in point would be mathematics. We have a number of students who are math majors at the undergraduate level, but don’t want to do it all the way through a doctoral program. They’re looking for something that has a quantitative orientation, but with more concrete applications. Business is a natural flow. Psychology students can use that background on a graduate level, and go into a doctoral program, particularly in management.
DR. BOYD: I think that there are a lot of things that we could do by working together. We should have more black role models around campuses. We can work on a lot of things, but as African Americans we have to learn to work together. If we go as a group in strength, we can do great things.
COPYRIGHT 1997 Earl G. Graves Publishing Co., Inc.
COPYRIGHT 2004 Gale Group