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The State of HBCUs: Clark Atlanta University

By Titus Falodun Staff Writer | 9/20/2013, 2:43 p.m.
Carlton E. Brown, Ph. D. enters his 5th year as Clark Atlanta University’s president. His address Tuesday, September 17 focused on the challenges ahead for the school. Photo by Curtis McDowell.

Last year Clark Atlanta lost 500 students in the enrollment process (August 2012), said Brown. That is a 1,000 percent spike from 2011’s loss of just 50.

What’s the reason for that?

“They need to rollback the credit criteria, because they’re not productive,” Brown said. “The political officials and institutions need to come together and find out what we need to do, which we did the year before.”

Clark Atlanta stood to lose 100 students in 2011, but by doing the calculations ahead of time (in conjunction with government officials) that number was cut in half. According to the university, its current student population of undergraduate and graduate students is 3,600. The endowment stands at $53.7 million.

The forecast financially may appear bleak and dire, but Clark Atlanta has and is taking a proactive approach, starting with its core, the students.

“It’s time to reboot the game,” Brown said. “So, we’re organizing a focus group that will be gathering information about the student experience and getting the students’ understanding of how things transpire and also what constitutes as improvements to the process.”

The focus group will be compromised of a mix of students: seniors that have been through the Clark Atlanta process more than once, first-time freshmen, as well as high and low-performing students from diverse economic backgrounds.

Along with this, Clark Atlanta University is working on providing more web-based learning, by mounting courses and programs online.

“While I believe in the use of technology, I will always assert over and over again the residential college, face-to-face contact, interpersonal relationships will remain the hallmark of quality higher education,” Brown added. “It’s how transformation takes place.”

Clark Atlanta University: www.cau.edu (Next week: Spelman College.)

Click the following for Spelman College and Morehouse College.