Cheyney University Blog

President's Blog - July 2013 - The Great Migration-- A Journey Only Half Completed

July 08, 2013

Recently I have been reading the Pulitzer Prize winning author, Isabel Wilkerson, in her book, The Warmth of Other Suns.  In this rich and beautifully written prose, Wilkerson artfully weaves numerous stories of persons of African descent who demonstrated significant acts of courage to escape plantations, overseers, Jim Crow Laws, and other indignities to move to the North for freedom, for opportunities to support their families, and for better futures for their children.   

Even though Wilkerson, a Howard University alumna, takes great pains to portray the lives of individuals from the thousands of persons she interviewed, she is really telling the story of The Great Migration of persons of African descent from the back-breaking and humiliating work of the fields to the work of the Northern factories, docks, railroads, and households.  These individuals and families fled the South for Northern and Western cities...for better lives and opportunities for their families...for freedom.
 
From 1915 to 1970, approximately six million people participated in an exodus that changed the face of America.  The Migration from South to North, as monumental as it was, is still incomplete in many American cities.  
 
Daily we are bombarded with data that confirms, without dispute, that the migration to freedom and equity is yet to be completed.  Indeed, families who moved to the North were only caught, again, in a cycle of poverty, high unemployment, poor educational opportunities, and diminished hopes and dreams.  The families who struggle to send their young men and women to Cheyney University––often for the first time in their families’ histories––are very much among those impacted by these inequities. 
 
Higher education––which can transform students by helping them to develop higher cognitive abilities, confidence, compassion, and exposure––is one of the portals to complete this Great Migration.  The Great Migration from South to North can be viewed symbolically as a move from captivity to enlightenment.  This enlightenment can also be viewed as spiritual, in part, and it should fortify us to go beyond the desire to acquire personal possessions. It should further awaken in us a moral certitude that it is imperative to pave a way for future Americans, so that they can experience, more fully, the multifaceted American dream. 
 
The Great Migration will be complete when it produces resilient, exposed, altruistic citizens who realize that education is a matter of national well-being and prosperity.  The Great Migration will be complete when we care more about other people's children than about acquiring bling and comfort.
 
We move into next year with plans to protect the core of the University and to retool our academic offerings to meet the workforce needs of the 21st century.  The cycle of continuous budget deficits and struggles at Cheyney University which span several decades is a story that itself deserves just and proper resolution.  Chairman of the Trustee Board Robert Bogle and Trustees have recommended that we cut more than $5 Million dollars from an already meager and depleted budget to achieve a balanced budget.  
 
Yet, even with these sacrifices, it is imperative for us to realize our purpose here is ultimately about our young people, our children, and our next generation of leaders who deserve the promise and realization of the Great Migration––equity, well-being, freedom, and a fair chance to pursue the American dream.
 
In his recent Op Ed in the New York Times, Charles Blow states "Our problems would be fixable if only we could agree that the protection and healthy development of this country’s children is not only a humanitarian and moral imperative, but also an economic and cultural one: today’s students are tomorrow’s workers."
 
Moreover, President Barak Obama has affirmed: "We have an obligation and a responsibility to be investing in our students and our schools.  We must make sure that people who have the grades, the desire and the will... but no money...can still get the best education possible." 
 
President Obama further states "In reaffirming the greatness of our nation we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned. Our journey has never been one of short-cuts or settling for less.  It has not been the path for the faint-hearted, for those that prefer leisure over work, or for those who seek only the pleasures of riches and fame.  Rather, it has been for the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things -- some celebrated, but more often men and women, obscure in their labor -- who have carried us up the long, rugged path towards prosperity and freedom."
 
Without a doubt some of these unsung and obscure heroes/heroines, are linked to the legacy of Cheyney University.  It is because of their vision, hard work, and belief in our young people that this University continues today.
 
Dear Friends, I ask you to join me, in yet another critical point in our 176th history, towards the path that will lead us to a successful Reaffirmation of Accreditation by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, a path that will lead us towards prosperity, enlightenment, and freedom–– the unfulfilled promise of the Great Migration! 
 
Michelle Howard-Vital, Ph.D.
President

 

  

Tags: Cheyney University , Dr. Hazel Spears , integration , Lindback Foundation , Michelle Howard-Vital , Middle States Commission on Higher Education , president , teacher certification , The Great Migration , Title III

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It's my first visit of this site. I found very helpful posts here.
Reza 3:16PM 08/30/13

President's Blog - June 2013 - The Value of Cheyney University is Affirmed for Us

June 11, 2013

CU Collegiate 100 Members attend an International Conference in New Orleans

CU Collegiate 100 Members attend an International Conference in New Orleans

Each time we spend several intensive days with students, the value of Cheyney University is reaffirmed for us. Recently members of the Collegiate 100 Black Men Chapter demonstrated what they valued about Cheyney University.  These talented, bright, well-mannered, and appealing students conversed with us about their classes, their relationships with specific professors and staff, and they told us their personal triumphs and how Cheyney University is helping them to pursue their American dreams. Moreover, I observed with some amusement how pleased these students were to travel with my husband, to participate in an International Conference hosted and flawlessly executed by members of the 100 Black Men, Inc.  For the CU students, this conference offered many opportunities to network, to become exposed to many other successful African Americans, and to reassess personal goals and strategies. There were approximately 1,000 adults, Collegiate members, and younger students in attendance.

As we continue our plans to adjust the University’s organizational structure, it is essential that we realize that students come to Cheyney University for specific reasons—to acquire academic knowledge in specific areas and to learn from us as role models, guides, mentors, and citizens how to become confident, resilient, and contributing global citizens.  My observations also suggest that many Cheyney University students choose Cheyney University because they want the small, quality learning environment that we offer with intensive faculty/staff interactions. 
 
As we prepare for the April 2014 Middle States reaffirmation of accreditation visit in April 2014, it is important to remember that the Middle States Association on Higher Education will be reviewing our self-study in which we:
1. Affirm our mission and measurable goals
2. Establish through a strategic plan the conditions (resources, staffing, and organizational structure)  in which our mission and goals will be realized
3. Assess the institution’s effectiveness in meeting our mission and measurable goals, and
4. Demonstrate that we are engaging in continuous improvement to continue to accomplish our mission and goals.
 
Although it is often not as obvious, it is also important to communicate clearly and convincingly, the value that Cheyney University has been furnishing to thousands of families in the Commonwealth.   
 
This is ultimately our Raison D’Etre.  
 
Michelle Howard-Vital, Ph.D.
President

Tags: 100 Black Men , 100 Black Men Conference , blog , Cheyney University , Michelle R. Howard-Vital , president

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President's Blog - April 2013 - CU Transforming to Produce A Quality Education for the 21st Century

May 03, 2013

CU Transforming to Produce A Quality Education for the 21st Century

CU Transforming to Produce A Quality Education for the 21st Century

In the last few years, funding has receded rather drastically at both the federal and state levels for public higher education.  While these reductions in funding are disturbing, they foretell transformations and opportunities that are evolving in higher education for the foreseeable future.  Like many other industries, higher education must transition towards meeting the unprecedented 21st century workforce and lifestyle needs of a broader spectrum of Americans.

Without a doubt, Cheyney University must continue to produce responsible and contributing citizens who add to the intellectual capital of the Commonwealth and nation by pursuing graduate school, adding to the diversity in the law and other professions, demonstrating creativity in entrepreneurial ventures, pursuing public service agendas, furnishing quality business services, and adding to intellectual capital in ways not yet imagined.  
 
Unfortunately, some of our talented  students have been forced to drop out to earn a living to support themselves and their families.  Our families are still struggling through one of the deepest recessions in our nation—sometimes compared to the Great Depression of the 1930s.  At Cheyney University, we are affected adversely by the financial stresses of our families through reduction in enrollments and students dropping out to help their families earn a living.  
 
Without a doubt, alumni have been extraordinarily supportive in raising scholarship funds for students.  Faculty members have also aggressively sought grants to support the teaching and learning environments.  However, even with this support and the growing support of private donors, enrollment trends have not corresponded with increasing expenditures.  In fact, enrollment trends in Pennsylvania for high school graduates further predict reductions in college enrollments.
 
Thus, in order to strengthen Cheyney University for its future, the University is reviewing carefully many of its processes and services including enrollment management, financial aid, and other student services—looking for ways to interact more strategically with potential students.   We are also reviewing our academic programs and customer service to students, so that we will improve our competitive place in the Commonwealth and national marketplace. 
 
Furthermore, in order to bring our revenue in line with our expenditures, we will be seeking recommendations on cost-savings from all areas of the University community and engage in our annual budget hearings. 
 
In April 2014, Cheyney University undergoes its ten-year reaffirmation of accreditation by Middle States Association to ensure that the University is capable of carrying out its mission and that it is responding appropriately to an agenda of continuous improvement.
 
It is essential to note that the path forward must embrace the aforementioned realities of the higher education community in the Commonwealth, region, and nation.  
 
Please feel free to provide comments or recommendations for cost savings or innovations to Chief of Staff Sheilah Vance (svance@cheyney.edu) or me (mvital@cheyney.edu).
 
Sincerely,
 
Michelle Howard-Vital, Ph.D.
President
Cheyney University of Pennsylvania
 

Tags: 21st century , blog , cost of higher education , President , President Michelle R. Howard-Vital , Vital

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President's Blog - February 2013 - Helping Others Reach Their Potential

January 25, 2013

Most of us have visited a pre-school or kindergarten and noticed how much fun the children are having playing,  moving around,  laughing, and learning.  Their enthusiasm seems contagious, and some may even marvel at the teacher's ability to direct the students' energy and movement towards the learning and development activities.  But many of us also notice that when we visit students in the sixth or eighth grades, something has changed.  The students seem to have become more sluggish, and there is less laughter and enthusiasm.  These differences seem to become more pronounced as students enter high school.  The noticeable transitions from excited interest toward apathy probably are related, in some part, to hormones and adolescent development, but does it have to be so?  Some of the transitions in students' outward attitude towards school, learning activities, and the acquiring of cognitive skills brings back memories of Jonathan Kozol's observations of his teaching experience that he discussed in "Death at an Early Age."

 
So the question becomes, even as students begin a college education, how do we rekindle that "joy of learning" and guide students towards a life that will have to include continuous learning along with professional, and emotional growth?  Yes, we know this is not easy, unless you get to know the students. At Cheyney University, we work to help students rediscover their natural curiosity towards learning and their confidence.  Small classes, caring faculty, and University College are just some of the strategies we use to help students explore, develop personally, and find their potential contributions to society.
 
The thousands of Cheyney graduates who tell us how we helped them find their way to complete graduate programs and reach fulfilling careers are the evidence that inspire us to continue pressing forward in this mission of restoring that youthful love of learning. 
 
Michelle Howard-Vital, Ph.D.
President
Cheyney University of Pennsylvania 
 

Tags: education , Michelle R. Howard-Vital , president , youth

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If students really understood the impact they can have in this world and just the potential of their human bodies, they would strive as hard as they could to be the best they can be. Life's amazing when you really educate yourself!
Karen Falgore 10:23AM 03/25/13
I think this is a great idea because of opportunities, which events like this are giving. Good job!
Caroline 5:05AM 03/15/13

Welcome Back, Students...

August 23, 2011

Dear Students,

Welcome back to Cheyney University. It is my hope that you will have a very good year and move closer towards your personal and professional goals. You will note that the new 400 bed residence hall is progressing well. Many students before you worked to make this residence hall possible, so I know that you will respect their efforts by treating this new residence life community as a special home. Remember, this is our house, and we want to show our pride by keeping it beautiful and clean. We are also renovating Browne Hall and Humphrey's Hall, on the Quad, to include residence suites. A new science building is scheduled for construction later this year. It will be a state-of-the art facility for our faculty and students.

Dr. Robin Williams and Ms. Tammy Hilliard-Thompson are developing a learning community’s model for students in the University College model and the University community as a whole. It is our hope that the learning communities will be cohorts of students who will study together, take some classes together, and help each other through graduation. They welcome your ideas and assistance in developing more learning communities. Learning communities can be developed around themes such as science and math or around other interests such as photography, journalism, entrepreneurism, etc.

This should be a good year for us at Cheyney University. On October 13, 2011, we will have a special Ed Bradley lecture by Mr. Byron Pitts of 60 Minutes. I hope you plan to attend this lecture. It is free to all students, and I think you will appreciate Mr. Pitts' story. We also have an eclectic mix of talent for the Art and Lecture Series to help introduce you to the art and music of other cultures. I also hope you plan to attend these activities.

As you probably have noticed, there is a new outdoor basketball court, and we are preparing for the September 3rd Battle of the Firsts. We hope you will come out and cheer our CU football team to victory over the Lincoln University team.

Students, it is very important that you make the most of your time at Cheyney University. You are here to learn, develop your personal brand, and to prepare yourself for the very competitive workforce. Ms. Ruth Brice is the director of the Career Center (CCPD). She is there to help you develop the soft skills that are necessary for you to gain profitable employment. Additionally, Rev. Morris is also here to help you secure an internship by your junior year.

It is our hope that every student will participate in at least one internship before graduation. Our students have participated in internships with Disney, Vanguard, Walmart, and a host of other companies. We are constantly developing more internship sites, so please take advantage of this opportunity.

Well students, I hope to meet each of you personally this year. I expect for you to act as the intelligent and responsible young adults you are, and I expect you to dedicate yourself to excellence. You should leave Cheyney University with specialized information you can use to help you reach your dreams!

Sincerely,

Michelle Howard-Vital, Ph.D.

President, Cheyney University of Pennsylvania

 

Tags: president , welcome

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