Efforts by some alumni are underway to broaden South Carolina State University's academics and programs of instruction to make it more attractive to student enrollment, and become more competitive at higher education. The university has a superb history in higher education as alumni and many may attest to. The decline of the university began after integration of schools in South Carolina, the disembodiment of its School of Law, School of Agriculture, and subsequent failed leadership.
Operating "paycheck-to-paycheck" as described by a trustee in a recent Times and Democrat news article sets dismal prospects for South Carolina State University's recruitment of students planning college study and sends an alarming message on the university's future. An aggressive funding plan in the new prospectus of the university's academic agenda will accommodate a visionary university that offers an education built around the industrial needs of students' interest and future career plans.
Setbacks at Historically Black Colleges and Universities in Maryland, e.g., limiting academic courses, are applicable to academic restriction at South Carolina State. Duplication of academic policies under South Carolina requirements is hindering some academic planning that enables enrollment. Litigants (Morgan State University, Bowie State University, Maryland Eastern Shore, et al) in the Maryland court case argued successfully that "duplication" caused harm in their schools' progress.
A plan was submitted to former S.C. State board chairman Charles Way and to current board Chairman Milton Irwin by alumni, and further offers of assistance on strategic planning are offered which include academic structuring, staffing, supplemental funding and public relations. We are proposing that the board consider:
• Creating a commission to set academics and leadership recommendations composed of top education and business professionals.
• Appointees to the commission would possess vast experience in higher education with backgrounds demonstrating understanding of the needs in today's technologies. Further, commission recommendations would include guidance commensurate with what may go into a strategic plan for South Carolina State University.
If this proposal gets favorable board consideration, recommendations on candidates will be submitted for review and advisability on the usefulness of a commission. Our interest in raising concerns about South Carolina State University's future and putting in place components to ensure that the university is bringing forth the talent and support in offering the best in training in its fields of study has been communicated with elected state officials.
The governor's office has been notified of these efforts on behalf of the university and the appeal to the governor on our concerns has been acknowledged.
Porter Bankhead of Washington, D.C., is a 1963 South Carolina State University alumnus.
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