September 19, 2008
Getting to Know Dr. Kofi Lomotey
By Nealy, Michelle J
While Dr. Kofi Lomotey has held appointments at predominately White institutions, he understands the critically important roles that historically Black colleges and universities play in educating Black students. "HBCUs provide a nurturing, parenting role that few if any other institutions provide. Our institutions, in many ways, provide a think tank or resource of information on the history and culture of our people," Lomotey says. "More important... is the education roles that these institutions play. On our campuses, faculty take the position that if students cannot learn in the way that I teach them, I'm going to teach in the way that they learn."
Lomotey's admiration for the philosophy of historically and predominately Black institutions is evident by his curriculum vitae. He has held appointments at Fort Valley State University, Medgar Evers College and most recently at Fisk University as executive vice president and provost. Most notable is his help in stabilizing Fisk which until June of this year was in danger of losing its accreditation. Fortunately, with generous donations from alumni and corporate and foundation sponsors, the Nashville HBCU raised more than $4 million in funds to shore up its finances. Lomotey had "mixed emotions" about leaving.
"I am not running way from Fisk University, an institution with a tremendous reputation, history and tradition," says Lomotey, "I think we were making an impact in stabilizing the university, but I had an interest in leading an institution again."
And lead he plans to do. As the new chancellor of Southern A&M University at Baton Rouge in Louisiana, Lomotey plans to usher in a new era of excellence at the historic institution, which in the long term includes reversing declining enrollment, boosting retention and graduation rates and improving the university's customer service. In the short term, Lomotey aims to establish a leadership team focused on building strong academic programs and cultivating students. In addition, Lomotey says, "You will also see a closer relationship between Southern University and the community that surrounds it."
Lomotey succeeds Dr. Edward Jackson, who recently retired from Southern after a 10-year presidential tenure.
It was the look in the eyes of the students that attracted Lomotey to Southern. "I believe great potential exists here; some realized and some unrealized. There are challenges, yet there are tremendous opportunities," he says.
Lomotey holds a doctorate in educational administration and policy analysis, curriculum and instruction from Stanford University, a master's of education in curriculum and instruction UOm Cleveland State University and a bachelor's in economics and Black studies from Oberlin College.
- By Michelk J. Nealy
Copyright Cox, Matthews & Associates, Inc. Sep 4, 2008
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