• MLI Protégés Visit Morgan State University to Learn from President David Wilson

    On Sept. 25, two protégés from AASCU's Millennium Leadership Initiative (MLI) professional development program visited Morgan State University (Md.) to receive lessons learned and career advice from President David Wilson and other MLI members in Wilson’s administration.

    MLI protégés Rondall Allen, dean and professor at the School of Pharmacy and Health Professions at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, and Rafik Mohamed, dean of the College of Social & Behavioral Sciences at California State University, San Bernardino, met with President Wilson and his staff, including Chief of Staff Don-Terry Veal (MLI Class 2019), Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Lesia Crumpton-Young (MLI Class of 2017), and Vice President for Enrollment Management and Student Success Kara Miles Turner (MLI Class of 2010).

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    Wilson shared how the college presidency has changed over the years and is more scrutinized than ever before. A president is not simply a scholar, but rather must have the skills of a mayor to problem solve on an hourly basis, have the right temperament, be innovative, and drive change and transformation in higher education, he said. This is why Wilson states being a college president is one of the toughest jobs in America. He encouraged the MLI protégés to find a presidential position that is meaningful and purposeful and to always be authentic and true to who they are—just as he deliberately chose to serve at an HBCU and has “fallen in love” with Morgan State.

    The MLI proteges provided testimonials for how the visit benefited them:

    Rondall Allen (MLI Class of 2019), Dean and Professor, School of Pharmacy and Health Professions, University of Maryland Eastern Shore: 
    I really enjoyed my day trip to visit President David Wilson at Morgan State University (MSU). The visit was well organized, which included a tour of the campus and a lunch meeting with President Wilson and members of his cabinet. Dr. Wilson provided a lot of insight on things we should consider before accepting a presidency and key decisions we should make early in our career to ensure our success. I was also impressed with Dr. Wilson's transparency and the willingness of his cabinet to share their experiences at MSU. I am grateful that MLI coordinated this experience and would strongly encourage others to participate if there is an opportunity in the future.

    Rafik Mohamed (MLI Class of 2018), Dean, College of Social & Behavioral Sciences, California State University, San Bernardino:
    Consistent with other MLI opportunities, we were provided direct access to an established and proven campus leader. I have found each of these occasions to be incredible resources for me as I continue to consider how I would like for my career to evolve. But the visit to Morgan State was particularly impactful for several reasons.

    The small group setting and conversational tone were ideal. I was honored that President Wilson spent as much time with us as he did and was grateful for his sincerity and candor. He didn’t only share his successes as an academic leader; he also reflected upon his missteps and provided us with detailed accounts of the steps he took and what he learned in both cases. Further, the fact that he had his entire cabinet join us for a significant part of the conversation demonstrated his commitment to ensuring that any questions we had were answered completely, his commitment to collaborative leadership, as well as his dedication to MLI and helping shape the next generation of academic leaders.

    President Wilson’s discussions about partnering with his board, working with state officials, and his views on the future of the presidency were also invaluable and provided me with a deeper understanding of the president’s responsibilities and challenges at a public urban university. Finally, I truly appreciated the opportunity to tour the campus with a student (who was not hand-picked by the president’s office, I might add), hearing his perspectives on what Morgan State has done for him and how his education there has prepared him for the future, and otherwise gaining a sense of the campus culture.