Dr. Thierno Thiam, the Duke Endowed Professor of Political Science at Johnson C. Smith University, has big plans for his new role as dean of the College of Liberal Arts. He wants to double the number of students majoring in the liberal arts, launch at least one graduate program and create a pre-law program.
Dr. Alphonso Ogbuehi
Dean, College of Business and Professional Studies and Professor of Marketing
Dr. Angela White
Dean, University College and Student Success
Dr. Patrick Martin
Dean, College of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) and Professor of Biology
Dr. Thierno Thiam
Dean, College of Liberal Arts and Duke Endowed Professor of Political Science
“We are at a true inflection point, where the timing is ripe to turn this place into a destination for all young people who are seeking to become leaders,” said Thiam. “If ever there was a time to be hopeful about this place, this is the time.”
Change is in the air at the West Charlotte campus. In January 2023, President Clarence D. Armbrister announced plans to retire; Dr. Valerie Kinloch, named in June as his successor, will bring new leadership. Supporting her and the chief academic officer will be Dr. Thiam and three other deans appointed in January:
Dr. Patrick Martin, dean of the College of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. His leadership vision: Focusing on student and faculty success, creating a center of excellence driven by research into health inequities and disparities in STEM fields.
Dr. Alphonso Ogbuehi, dean of the College of Business and Professional Studies. His leadership vision: Delivering a superior undergraduate business education experience at a world-class business school.
Dr. Angela White, dean of University College and Student Success. Her leadership vision: Implementing a comprehensive success model that increases retention and graduation rates while meeting the diverse needs of all students, especially first-generation scholars.
The new deans have arrived on a campus working hard to become one of the nation’s preeminent Historically Black Colleges and Universities. That effort is powered by a successful $80 million fundraising campaign tied to the Mayor’s Racial Equity Initiative spearheaded by Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles. The Endowment supported the effort with a $40 million commitment to Johnson C. Smith, one of four schools named as beneficiaries in James B. Duke’s philanthropic trust. An overall strategic plan called The Gold(en) Blueprint steers the campus-wide transformation.
It’s an exciting time at JCSU, said Dr. Karen D. Morgan, senior vice president of academic affairs and chief academic officer.
“We are preserving our history, prioritizing our present and preparing for our future,” she said, noting the ambitious plans of Dr. Thiam and the other new deans. “When you bring us all together, we become a high-performing team that is passionate and compassionate and forward-thinking in our leadership as we continue to transform the institution.”
The possibilities of that transformation excite leaders at the Endowment. “At Johnson C. Smith and the other three schools named in our founding document, our focus is on understanding and supporting select institutional priorities with a long-term goal of helping them provide a high-value education for their students,” said Charlie Lucas, chair of the Endowment’s Board of Trustees. “We look forward to playing our small part in this promising new chapter in the Johnson C. Smith story.”
We are at a true inflection point, where the timing is ripe to turn this place into a destination for all young people who are seeking to become leaders.DR. THIERNO THIAM