We are proud to welcome students back to campus and are well into rounding out the second year of Howard Forward, the University’s five-year strategic plan. While we all are responsible for managing the impacts of COVID-19 and continuing to adjust to the new normal, the University community has not slowed its progress. Despite a global pandemic, we have collectively scored significant wins on our 2024 goals.
This semester, we welcomed the largest class in University history, with 12,049 total students, including 2,920 first-time-in-college students. This accomplishment has set a University record! Howard surpassed its 2024 goal to enroll 10,000 students four years ahead of schedule, when in Fall 2020 our enrollment reached 10,859 students. Our new goal is to enroll 12,500 students by 2024, and we are already on our way to achieving it.
Enhance Academic Excellence
The transition to online learning during the pandemic provided the opportunity for us to accelerate the academic renewal phase of our Campus Master Plan. Our teams used this time to begin necessary repairs and renovations across campus while the footprint was minimal and there would be limited disruptions to the University community. As we continue to “enhance academic excellence,” we are proud of our integration of distance learning options. Last year, we quickly pivoted to offering all courses remotely and surpassing our distance learning goal of 20 percent while embracing hybrid options this semester.
We are actively engaged across campus to ensure state-of-the-art facilities to support the highest learning and working outcomes for our faculty, staff and students. These efforts include the nearly completed renovations of Frederick Douglass Memorial Hall, the Undergraduate Library and the Armour J. Blackburn University Center. Our teams are also working diligently to create a look book that will provide a more extensive overview of every major investment we made in infrastructure on the University’s campus. For a status list of our ongoing facility renovations, visit realestate.howard.edu.
We are in the pre-development phase of our new Academic Health Sciences complex, which includes a new hospital and education facilities for our health science disciplines. Howard trains more than half the Black doctors, pharmacists and dentists in the country. Without Howard, the robust pipeline of diverse health care professionals serving in historically underserved communities would fail and growing health care disparities would widen. The COVID-19 pandemic and response reemphasize the critical and positive impact of Howard in our communities as we’ve performed over 55,000 COVID-19 tests and administered over 40,000 COVID-19 vaccinations as of June 2021. In fact, the mortality among patients who were ventilated from COVID-19 at Howard University was under 20 percent, much lower than the rest of the nation. The cost of a new 225-bed hospital is $600 million, and the total project is expected to take three years. To learn more and to lend your support for the Academic Health Sciences complex, visit howard.edu/support-HUH.
Inspire New Knowledge
The second pillar of our strategic plan, “inspire new knowledge,” seeks to increase the amount of grant-funded research awarded to the University. We are well on our way to surpassing the $100 million mark in sponsored and awarded research, a key objective of our plan. The Office of Research with support from the Office of the Chief Strategy Officer (OCSO) is implementing a pilot initiative that will improve the number of submitted proposals and increase the number and dollar amount of research revenue. This supports our efforts to obtain an R1 designation, constituting “very high research activity,” as identified by the Carnegie Classification. When achieved, we will once again be the top Historically Black College and University (HBCU) in research as Howard was the only HBCU to have previously attained this classification.
Improve Efficiency and Effectiveness
Our fourth strategic pillar, “improve efficiency and effectiveness,” has been focused on deploying a new enterprise resource planning system. We are proud to have launched Workday as the official HR and finance system of record. Our teams have accomplished a Herculean effort, and they are working to prepare for the additional project streams associated with the full Workday transition. This initiative improves Howard’s operational excellence and compliance delivery, and we will soon begin planning for the student-focused interfaces that include records, advising and core enrollment functions.
Moving forward, the OCSO will be launching a five-part training series that gives insight into strategic planning and supports professional development for faculty and staff. Participants will learn essential principles around strategic planning, developing key performance indicators to measure the efficiency of their programs, and address organizational culture and change management. The Howard Forward Initiatives and Operations Working Group (HFIOWG) has also worked to create a rubric to evaluate existing college- and school-level strategic plans for their alignment with Howard Forward.
The Howard Forward Data and Technology Working Group (HFDTWG) has created a data dashboard, comprised of infographics that support each Howard Forward pillar, to increase transparency and convey our progress against Howard Forward. This dashboard will be updated periodically.
While you have some free time, browse the improved strategic plan website for more information about our implementation of Howard Forward. As we continue to score major wins, we want to collectively celebrate our success. Our success is seen through the collective Bison pride of our students, faculty and alumni who continue to positively change and impact the world. Our continued work and focus will lay the foundation for our continued progress.
Happy Fall semester, and we look forward to updating you all in the Spring on our progress to move Howard ahead.
Record-breaking class size
2,920 first-time in-college students