Dr. Berneece Herbert has been named the new chair for the Department of Urban and Regional Planning (DURP). Herbert is an experienced educator with more than 20 years of expertise in planning, academia, research, and outreach. Prior to her appointment at JSU, she worked as a faculty member in the Department of Community and Regional Planning at Alabama A&M University. During her 13-year tenure, she also spent three of those years as the department’s interim chair.
“Jackson State is the sister school to Alabama A&M in terms of programs, so I knew I had to pursue this position,” says Herbert. “While searching for a new opportunity, I always kept in mind that I wanted to continue working in the HBCU environment.”
As an urban planner, she focuses on socio-economic development, strategic planning and management, public-sector investment planning, and policy formulation. Herbert’s research areas are urban health indicators, sustainable economic development and social equity focusing on food access and security, poverty and hunger, Green House Gas (GHG) emissions, and public perception.
Speaking with passion and persuasion, Herbert says, “My professional goals are to increase funding, student enrollment, and retention. Specifically, my priorities include increasing enrollment by 20 percent for the next academic year and soliciting funding from corporations like Kellogg and United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).”
She also emphasized her student-focused approach explaining that, “Students are the reason why Jackson State exist.” She continued, “I know that students are the key to our future here. I have an open-door policy and I plan to pour knowledge into as many students as possible, because that’s what my mentor did for me. I feel like it is my duty to pay it forward to our students here at Jackson State.”
Herbert is enthusiastic about making Jackson State her new home and says she already feels like a part of the university family. “So far, I have had a really good experience with the people here. Everyone is so nice and have been really helpful with my new transition.”