On February 8, 2006, after an exhaustive search, The Board of Trustees elected Dr. Jimmy R. Jenkins, Sr. to serve as the 12th president of Livingstone College. Dr. Jenkins had over 21 years of experience as a college president, with a demonstrated track record of successfully dealing with the challenges that plaque many of the institutions that have similar missions, and that serve a similar population. The Board of Trustees has charged Dr. Jenkins to immediately chart a strategic direction for the institution, and have empowered him “To Take Livingstone College To The Next Level.”
Research suggests that the distribution of talented and gifted students, as measured by Standardized Tests, which attend Historically Black Colleges, is determined by the overall and perceived affluence of both the institution and the parents. Therefore, a culture is established, where the best of those who are identified as less prepared, are enrolling in the institutions, which have come closer to the standards set by the majority institutions and have amassed more resources. Unfortunately, these institutions are limiting their opportunity by embracing a learning environment and curriculum that mimics the majority institutions – not taking into account the uniqueness of the population they serve. Therefore, when Historically Black Colleges are both unable and unwilling to create a learning environment with a curriculum designed to meet the needs of their student population, a number of challenges emerge. The challenges are responsible for high attrition rates, low graduation rates, and lack of demonstrated academic performance on National Standardized Tests. These challenges contribute to the stereotypical image that Historically Black Colleges and Universities are less demanding academically than their majority counterparts.
Livingstone College is launching a very unique initiative. The initiative is entitled “The Total Learning Environment.” “The Total Learning Environment” is a new holistic approach to academic preparation, whereby we will create a learning environment designed to change attitudes and modify student behavior. Students who matriculate on the campus of Livingstone College, in addition to their academic preparation, will participate in a number of activities and programs, designed to address the cultural scars of their past, enabling them to leave our institution with the academic preparation to compete in our global economy, and where they will have immediate positive impact on our society. Additionally, our students will be prepared to positively address the challenges, which plague the African-American community – particularly those challenges that exacerbate their dilemma. Over the next few months The College will be implementing a curriculum, which will seek to develop “The Center for Holistic Learning.” One of the first programs of its kind, “The Center for Holistic Learning” will promote both the awareness and mastery of the following modules/concepts:
Health, Wellness & Fitness
Emergency Response & First Aid
Political Action & Social Responsibility
Volunteerism, Public Service
Cultural and Social Awareness
Debt Management, Personal Responsibility, & Philanthropy
Individual & Organizational Leadership
Spanish as a 2nd Language
Technology & The 21St Century
Faith-Based Strategies for the Enhancement of the Quality of Life
The aforementioned modules will require an infrastructure, which seeks to enable Livingstone College to both strengthen and further advance its very important mission. For more than 127 years Livingstone College has been committed to providing educational opportunity to students and their families who are disproportionately at the bottom of the socio-economic ladder. However, this revolutionary program seeks to affirm our mission by concentrating our efforts on those students who are being left behind.
By embarking upon such an initiative, we will enable a population of students who under normal conditions would have had limited or no access to a college education, to not only obtain a college degree, but also be prepared and equipped to address some of the challenges which currently plague our society. Ultimately, the primary goal of “The Center for Holistic Learning” is to ensure that our graduates become change agents, addressing the issues and challenges that others are either unable, or unwilling to address, while commanding their rightful places in this global economy.