Understanding Preeminence 2020

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After reading the opinion editorial in the A&T Register, “Dissatisfaction with Preeminence 2020,” I thought it would be valuable to shed more light on A&T Preeminence 2020 (strategic plan) and its goals. As a student, I share similar concerns about the relevance of HBCUs and the rising costs of tuition. As a student leader, I have the opportunity to sit at the table, represent the student body and articulate these concerns. What I have learned is that the university’s strategic plan is a forward-thinking blueprint that was specifically designed to preserve and propel us into the future. Chancellor Harold L. Martin Sr. and his leadership team work on our behalf and Preeminence 2020 is a plan for our success and survival.

My first advice to all students is to read the strategic plan – cover-to-cover – today. I welcome the questions and concerns. The SGA board has facilitated several forums to discuss the plan. I invite you to attend the next forum.

A&T Preeminence 2020 is masterful plan. According to the vision statement, the university’s goal is to “be recognized as a preeminent land-grant university and the institution of choice for high-achieving students who are inspired by outstanding teaching and learning, civic engagement, transformative research, and creative scholarship to solve societal challenges.” We (students) are that vision. Our mission is to exemplify excellence in a comprehensive range of academic disciplines and recognizing our unique legacy and educational philosophy by providing students with a broad range of experiences that foster transformation and leadership for a dynamic and global society. We are the mission.

Goal 5 in the strategic plan is about fostering a more diverse and inclusive campus community. This goal is a reflection of the world we live in and it is how students today prefer to live. It promotes cultivating respect for diverse people and cultures and providing us with more study abroad experiences, international internships and developing curricula that increases our knowledge, while giving us tools that will make students more marketable.

Emmanuel Johnson, the university’s first student Fulbright Scholar, is currently studying abroad at the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom and is an example of Goal 5. Destenie Nock, a recipient of the George J. Mitchell Scholarship who will begin her master’s degree in Ireland this summer, is another example. Sitting in the classroom with diverse students is actually preparing us to be the global leaders that Chancellor Martin, our alumni and even our parents hope that we will become.

Shifting the African American population at N.C. A&T from 87 percent to 70 percent doesn’t translate into fewer African American students. A&T will always be classified as a Historically Black College and University (HBCU); however, it will bring additional opportunities for diverse students to enter our institution. This will foster an exchange of information and culture that will enrich our undergraduate experience so that we will be properly prepared to excel in the world. There will still be a plethora of scholarship opportunities for all of our students. Let’s turn our dissatisfaction into a better understanding of A&T Preeminence 2020 and what it has to offer.

  • CANISHA TURNER, Contributor