Wilberforce University today revealed its two-fold leadership strategy following President Patricia Hardaway's retirement at the end of the year. A four-person transition team—comprised of members of the school's Board of Trustees—will handle the operations of the president's position. Team member Dr. Wilma Mishoe will serve as the day-to-day, onsite representative. Mishoe is formerly the Dean of the Office of Instruction at Delaware Technical Community College.
"Dr. Mishoe's experience as a higher education administrator has prepared her perfectly for this role," says Col. William Lee, Wilberforce University alumnus and Chairman of its Board of Trustees. "Her father was the president of what is now Delaware State University, and she intrinsically understands the needs and values of historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs)."
In addition to the transition team, an executive search committee, made up of members from the Board of Trustees, faculty, student body and alumni, continues the process of evaluating potential candidates for the position of president.
This leadership strategy was initiated when Hardaway announced her retirement in July. The university's Board of Trustees immediately appointed the team to support the president and create a seamless transition of all administrative duties. The board formed the diverse executive search committee soon thereafter.
"The two teams are leading the effort to hire a new university president who can shepherd in a fresh vision for the next generation of students, ideas and growth at Wilberforce," Lee continues. "Our school produces innovators and entrepreneurs, and we've set a high bar to ensure that mission continues."
A Continued Focus on Innovation
This transitional time at Wilberforce comes when many HBCUs across the country not only struggle to compete in recruiting battles for top-tier students but also face daunting financial hardships.
To counter this trend, Wilberforce continues to invest its educational resources in cultivating the next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs. That mission has been realized and further endorsed in its trustees board selection process, adding new members that bring a wide range of professional experience and talent.
"Now more than ever, we value the work at Wilberforce as relevant and vital to the culture and communities in our country," says Bishop McKinley Young, presiding bishop of the Third Episcopal District of the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church. Wilberforce University is affiliated with the church. "With this strategy, the university takes seriously its mission to drive diversified education, business, entrepreneurship and innovation across the nation. I eagerly anticipate Wilberforce's next steps and am confident that it will thrive."