The “New” Morris Brown College Story…Dedicated to Lifelong Learning and Educational Excellence
Morris Brown College has faced and endured difficult circumstances since the turn of the 21st century. Numerous financial and reputational issues – even the loss of accreditation – have added to the constant speculation about the school’s viability and ultimate demise. These challenges have been documented in numerous stories in the media and popular press. Our history, our brand, and our reputation have all been tarnished in the hearts and minds of many who may feel that our problems are beyond repair.
Yet, despite varied impressions about our struggles, Morris Brown College continues to weather these hard times and survive. Throughout this survival process, we have never wavered from our 1881 charter as an institution of higher learning, believing in the promise of our students and providing them a quality education. However, one key thing that we have learned is that the educational landscape has changed and requires new and reinvented academic enterprises. Morris Brown College is officially beginning to tell a “new story” about how we are reinventing ourselves to be a model of educational leadership, prepared to face the challenges of the decades ahead.
The “new” Morris Brown College will be armored to quickly and easily respond to and take advantage of economic cycles, demographic projections, job trends, and labor market shifts as we impact the future of higher education. We have deemed ourselves responsive to the following challenges:
- The need to educate both traditional and non-traditional students in fields that have high market value/demand and require flexible and timely educational attainment strategies;
- The imperative to develop new approaches for “academic innovation capacity” in the future;
- The requirement for new ways to source, recruit, and nurture the highest quality faculty, staff, and administrators using highly flexible models; and
- The need to balance, redevelop, and/or reconstruct curricula to teach and reinforce more than just “hard skills” but “soft skills” and entrepreneurial acumen.
These challenges are at the heart of our new story. We recognize that we will have to impress the best and brightest students in order to attract them, develop strong academic programs, manage the costs of getting a quality education, and offer competitive salaries/utilize effective recruitment strategies for faculty and staff, while building our financial stability and endowment.
In addition, the “new” Morris Brown will be based on five strategic themes to guide and dictate everything we do:
- Innovation – we will lead by introducing new ideas, solutions, and academic outcomes;
- Excellence – we will strive to be outstanding and set high expectations for our students and the college at large;
- Adaptability – we will be agile, flexible, and able to respond to trends and challenges;
- Integrity – we will uphold the highest standards, using strong principles and powerful values; and
- Pride – we will reinvent ourselves into an institution of higher learning that learns from its mistakes, leverages opportunities, and sets new standards.
By using these strategic themes, we are setting very high expectations for how we conduct our business and how we build capabilities in our students. Innovation and civic, social, and business entrepreneurship will be hallmarks of our institution. We will embrace a “lifelong learning” framework and offer flexible programs in blended formats – whether on-campus or on-line, day, weekend, or evening – ready and able to meet the demands of our students and the ever-changing marketplace. We are exploring majors and courses of study that provide us with unique programs to re-invigorate the college and better align to the local, national, and global business climates, all while working with a cross-section of generations (Baby Boomers and Generations X, Y, and Z). In addition to traditional formats, we will heavily embrace relevant computer configurations, mobile devices, social networks, and other technological advancements. We are very excited about the possibilities for innovation while focusing on flexible faculty models that leverage the best and brightest minds available.
Moreover, the “new” Morris Brown College will focus on the quality and structure of the secondary/high school educational system, namely, the preparedness of high school students for their chosen futures beyond the high school diploma. We are very excited about creating an “Opportunity Academy”/Charter School that will target high promise high school students and mirror the creative approaches to learning and education that we will offer in the college. We feel strongly that, in order to meet the challenges of educational reform and institutional reinvention, we must reach beyond just the traditional offerings and look at the expected outcomes from high school to become a better college. While we see this as a civic entrepreneurial endeavor (a great way to practice what we preach), we also feel strongly that many students, particularly in the state of Georgia, can benefit from an academy that stresses mastery of both soft and hard skills and entrepreneurship and that allows them to construct an education experience that prepares them for the future.
So as you can see, there is a new and rich story to be told, and we, working towards reinvention, will continue to share this story. We are very excited about our future and are grateful to everyone who has supported and been patient as we have worked through our challenges. We can now clearly see our future…and we welcome these challenges and the continued involvement of all of our publics, for these can only result in further enrichment for our students, alumni, faculty, staff, and administrators – and, ultimately, the local, national, and international communities we serve, for the “new” MBC is designed to both bolster the institution and be an integral part of American education reform.
Dr. Stanley J. Pritchett,Sr.
Morris Brown College