Message from the president
It is important for institutions, even those like Johnson C. Smith University, which have been in existence for over 150 years, to reflect on their strengths and the opportunities available to them as they develop plans for the future. Sometimes those plans are the result of purely introspective examinations; sometimes those plans are the result of existential circumstances; and many times those plans are a combination of both.
When we began this strategic planning effort, the world was a different place than it has become upon the conclusion of our planning process. We have undertaken intensive introspective examinations of ourselves, while at the same time, making sure that we do not lose sight of the incredible opportunities that are available to institutions like Johnson C. Smith University because of the significant changes that have recently affected our region, the country and the world.
Johnson C. Smith University, located in Charlotte, North Carolina, as the city’s only Historically Black College and University (HBCU), is uniquely positioned to take advantage of its inherent strengths as well as the increased interest in supporting HBCUs nationally and regionally. This strategic planning effort has resulted in a blueprint that, if executed with fidelity, will produce results of student success that we expect to be considered “revolutionary” and will honor the most significant words of the University’s alma mater, “Hold high the Gold and Blue.” Hence, we have named this strategic plan: “The Gold(en) Blueprint: Constructing Revolutionary Change.”
Change is not always easy, but it is necessary if we are to evolve and compete in a rapidly changing higher education landscape. This plan, which will guide the work of every JCSU employee, provides a clear vision for the future of JCSU as a thriving institution that transforms the lives of our students, drives the growth and prosperity of the Historic West End, and contributes to Charlotte’s knowledgeable, highly-skilled and creative workforce.
I am proud of the work that has been done over the past year by our trustees, faculty, staff, students and community partners to develop this strategic plan. Even though most of our work was done virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the dedication of those who served on the committees charged with assessing every aspect of the University never wavered. The future of Johnson C. Smith University is bright. I am confident that The Gold(en) Blueprint will result in an institution that is not merely surviving, but is thriving by every measure of student success in the 21st Century!
Clarence D. Armbrister, J.D.