GREENSBORO, N.C. — Leaders at Bennett College are focusing on the future. Their independent re-engineering committee met for the first time Thursday morning to talk about needed changes within the school. Members of this committee hope coming up with a new plan will keep the college out of future financial trouble.
“We promise the community that we will not get in that condition again,” said Senator Gladys Robinson, of the board of trustees.
Bennett College officials believe this new committee is the answer.
“It’s very diverse in terms of their backgrounds and experiences,” said Thomas Ross, the co-chair of the committee. “We have people from the business community. People that are alums of Bennett College that understand the institution. People from the private sector, higher education and the nonprofit sector, from a variety of different roles.”
He says he plans to use his own extensive background with the UNC system to help find solutions.
“It’s getting a baseline for where Bennett is today and learning as much as we can so that it gives us a common set of where things are,” Ross said.
He said that their team of 19 will break down into smaller groups, “To attack different aspects of what we need to know or learn and think about ideas in different areas of the college such as the finance area, the student services area or academic area.”
Robinson said increasing enrollment is the first goal. The school currently sits at 437 students and they need 600 to stabilize.
“Colleges across the country, if you look at the data, had a downturn, especially smaller colleges, HBCUs, because a lot of our students come from low income homes,” she said.
Robinson said the national attention through their campaign has already given them a head start on achieving that.
“I know there were 5,000 applicants coming into the college,” she said.
The committee wants to have their new plan and academic programs in place for those students returning in the fall.