B-CU students join Chrite in visioning workshop series


Stakeholders come together for strategic planning discussions

By Ashlyn Denson

VOICE Editor

Students interviewed say they are encouraged by the strategic discussions carried out recently by the new administration to get a firm hand on the university's mission.

Faculty, staff and students spent part of August and most of September taking part in a series of discussions convened by the new administration to find out "Are we [still] who we say we are?"

But while students were among the last to answer the call for the President's Mission Gathering and Strategic Visioning series, those that did gave it a thumbs up.

During each session, students, faculty and staff voiced their thoughts on the old mission statement, which reads. In addition, they provided input for the prospective new mission statement.

Blake Minter, Miss B-CU (2019-2020)
Blake Minter, Miss B-CU (2019-2020)

Blake Minter, 21, a senior from Toledo, Ohio and the current Miss Bethune-Cookman University, was among those that set in on the discussions. "I think the series was very informative and inclusive," said Minter, who is an accounting major. It was a mandatory requirement for the university's Royal Court to attend one of the sessions.

"In a mission statement, many institutions just write what sounds good," Minter said. "I think it's nice [that] President Chrite really wants to cultivate a culture and have a mission statement at highlights the university's true characteristics," she said.

Navy Smith, 18, also sat in on one of the sessions. A native of Memphis, Tennessee, she majors in Health and Exercise Science. Smith recently earned the title of Miss. Freshman in earlier this semester. "I was actually very curious about what President Chrite had in store for the university's future," Smith said on attending the workshop sessions.

Smith said she wanted to learn more about the future of B-CU regarding the financial crisis the university is currently in.

"Dr. Chrite has a clear and intelligent plan for B-CU," Smith said. "I believe that everything it entails is possible once everyone knows the plan," she said.

Both students said they received notifications about the workshop sessions via their student emails. Minter said she wanted to be present at the event to contribute to the discussion. "The student experience is the most important experience, therefore, their opinion on the mission statement should be communicated to upper administration, the decision makers," she said.

Meanwhile, while President E. LaBrent Chrite kicked off the program, it was up to other upper level administrators to carry out the discussions, which also focused on elements of the Vision Document presented in the state of the university address during the faculty and staff institute.

In his absence last week, Chrite sent the university's provost and executive vice president, Dr. Helena Mariella Walrond. Joining Walrond for the discussion was Karen Bearden, the university's chief of development and vice president.

The purpose of these sessions, held at the B.J. Moore Center for Faculty Innovation on Lincoln Street, was to evaluate the university's current mission statement. The mission statement was last revised in 2013 under the leadership of former B-CU president, Dr. Edison O. Jackson.

Smith said she is hopeful for the improvement of the university. She said she can see the university elevating from its current "crisis" state.

"I see B-CU moving from crisis to rebuilding, or in the clear," Smith said, "I see B-CU becoming better than it has ever been."

Minter had another take on B-CU's plan to rebuild the university's mission and purpose. "Quite frankly, I do not see much of a change in B-CU's future from just this series," Minter said. She said she believes the change will come eventually with inclusiveness, transparency and hard work from the new leadership. 

Ashlyn Denson is a senior mass communications major, with an emphasis in digital production.