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Our Statement of Vision

by Ronald Carter

September 7,2008

There is no doubt in my mind that Johnson C. Smith University is poised to become Charlotte’s very own nationally recognized premier independent urban university. Our 142-year history says so. Johnson C. Smith University’s narrative of achievements is a compelling story of students and teachers mobilizing intellectual capital for work and investments in productive enterprises throughout the Queen City of the South and beyond her borders.


As the 13th president of Johnson C. Smith University, I am committed to developing this rich legacy. We will be recognized for a superb faculty, top-quality and highly motivated national and international students, outstanding teaching and learning, an excellent applied research focus, and a comprehensive, cohesive curriculum at both undergraduate and graduate levels. Our core institutional beliefs will pivot toward a comprehensive, value-based quality liberal education; career preparation; service orientation to the communities surrounding the University; and alliances with Charlotte’s communities, professional organizations, businesses and corporations.

Specifically, this means that our university will become a leader in helping Charlotte leaders shape a concept to transform the city into a metropolitan urban center. When you visit a city that is an urban center, you expect to feel diversity at its best. We, at Johnson C. Smith University, will become a responsible partner with the Charlotte leaders to make this happen.

During my inaugural year, six priorities are in the forefront of my thinking about the way forward:

• Quality – Shift the weight between quantity and quality in the University’s policies and procedures that currently lean toward quantity, which in effect has led to inconsistent levels of Smith’s programs, faculty and students;

• Institutional Focus – Develop a focused University strategy that is based on a comprehensive management information system and measureable outcomes;

• Faculty – Attract, hire, and maintain a differential faculty of teacher-advisers, teacher-scholars, and applied researchers;

• Student Body – Attract a critical mass of highly motivated, high achieving students across racial, ethnic, and national boundaries;

• Scheduled Maintenance – Accelerate the University’s scheduled maintenance plan, especially in the classrooms and dormitories;

• Urban District – Lead sustained and actionable conversations with the City and coalitions of developers concerning revitalization of the Urban District that is Johnson C. Smith’s front door.

My hope is that the community will join forces with us so that JCSU will be a shining example of a stellar institution. I am at my best when I am wrestling with complex issues related to teaching, research, evaluation, assessment and service. I enjoy building coalitions and partnerships to leverage the social capital that is inherent in communities.

Servant leadership, enterprise, quality, innovation, and caring are the five core values that guide my vision of Johnson C. Smith University. I call upon all of you in our community, including faculty, students, staff, alumni, trustees and friends – to join me in the venture of moving our historic institution from good to great on the higher educational landscape

In the days to come, I look forward to discussing these six priorities with you. Together we will experience an active and collaborative engagement for the good of JCSU’s gold and blue, and the greater Charlotte region. Come join me in a great trek toward Johnson C. Smith’s growing edge and her vision of excellence!

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