Jackson State University’s College of Education and Human Development is among the top producers of African-American teachers in the country. As the college aspires to become one of the top five education programs in the nation, Dean Daniel Watkins has announced 10 new goals for the 2013-2014 academic year.
“Everything came about through the experienced professors providing input and the innovations and ideas of our new employees,” Watkins said. “We’ve looked at what’s happening in the community, around the state and nationally. We looked at data involving the performance of African-American students and decided to put together a wholistic plan to reach the community, to impact the students and the College of Education and stimulate all of our students intellectually.”
The following is the list of the college’s goals:
- 1. Increase enrollment, retention and graduation rates.
- 2. Increase the numbers of articles generated about the college, increase grant activity and presentations.
- Develop new programs, including a master’s in accelerated reading, an online higher education concentration at the specialist level and, possibly, an African American K-12 studies program.
- Make significant progress with the Blackburn Laboratory School. The college is providing resources and technology to the middle school to improve student performance.
- Enhance the Teacher Leadership Institute.
- Establish an Executive Ph.D. Summer Institute for Higher Education.
- Reorganize and implement a smooth transition of the Early Childhood Center, Kids Kollege/Freedom School, Lifelong Learning and Mississippi Learning Institute.
- Complete a College of Education book on “Dropout Prevention, an HBCU Perspective,” and challenge other departments to begin similar work.
- Increase fundraising efforts focusing on the H.P. Jacobs Fund, which supports the Call Me Mister Program, which recruits African-American males into the teaching profession; the Ernestine A. Calhoun Endowment established by the family of Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs Thomas C. Calhoun to support education majors from Copiah County, and an endowment recently established in honor of Sen. Alice V. Harden, which will be supported by the college’s faculty and staff.
- Telling the story of Jackson State University’s College of Education and Human Development through new releases, publications, presentations, community engagement and numerous other ways.
Watkins said the several committees have been formed as part of the effort to better publicize the college’s events. Those committees are teacher leadership, institutes, Blackburn Laboratory School, urban education conference center, awards, courtesy, Black History Month, community and public relations and website.
“We hope this can be replicated somewhere else. For example, our book on dropout prevention from a HBCU perspective; we know this is happening all over the country. I’ve read Harvard’s book on dropout prevention and it was enlightening, but it missed that HBCU perspective,” Watkins said.
Watkins noted that over 50 percent of African-American teachers come from HBCUs, and 50 percent of Jackson Public School teachers are from JSU.
“It behooves us to work extremely hard locally and at the same time keep the nation in mind,” Watkins said.