May 2, 2007

Robert M. Franklin at Morehouse

Robert M. Franklin is the new president for Morehouse College, something that is of more importance to people than one might think for the presidency of a private liberal-arts college.  Morehouse is an all-male college that is one of the elite historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs). Franklin's view of the presidency as a moral leader is a provocative argument, less for its substance (his idea of holding monthly chapel discussions fits with his theology background) than for the time management involved. Most private-college presidents spend the bulk of their time fundraising, especially so with HBCUs.

Complicating the picture is the fact that two of the nation's HBCUs (Dillard University and Florida A&M) are facing severe funding problems, Dillard because of Katrina and Florida A&M because of a problem with internal fiscal controls that appears to keep rolling along. Dillard needs the federal government to step in and fill the gap, especially with repairing student dormitories. I hope Florida A&M's fortunes will turn around with the coming of its new president, who had to deal with fiscal problems at North Carolina Central University. But apart from existing funding networks with loyalties to specific institutions, any leader of the other HBCUs (Morehouse, Spelman, Fisk, Bethune-Cookman, etc.) will be competing with the obvious issues at Dillard and Florida A&M.

So here is my best wishes to Franklin and Morehouse: may there be enough time for those monthly discussions! s

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Posted in Higher education on May 2, 2007 7:22 AM |