University Leaders Strengthen Institutional Capacity at UNCF Summit

University Leaders Strengthen Institutional Capacity at UNCF SummitCaption: Faculty, staff, and administrators from across campus gathered Feb. 8-9 as part of the UNCF Institute for Capacity Building. Pictured l to r: Dr. Deon Johnson Program Manager, Knowledge Management; Dr. Kristie Roberts- Lewis Senior Program Manager, Transformation Support; Mrs. Annalice Walker, Program Manager, Transformation Support; Dr. William Berry Acting President/Provost; Dr. Darryl Ann Lai Fang, Senior Director of Transformation Support; Dr. Karen Bearden, Executive Vice President/Chief Innovation Officer; Dr. Valora Richardson Director, Digital Solutions and Innovations; and Dr. Camaille Shepard, Executive Director for Strategic Initiatives and Title IX Compliance and UNCF Transformation Office Lead.

Bethune-Cookman University recently hosted the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) Institute for Capacity Building on campus as part of an ongoing effort to support strategic development for the university as we continue to define new standards for academic excellence and student success. 

The Institute for Capacity Building was held as part of B-CU’s participation in the HBCU Transformation Project, a first-of-its-kind collaboration between the United Negro College Fund, Thurgood Marshall College Fund, and the Partnership for Education Advancement designed to improve student enrollment, graduate success, and institutional effectiveness rates at Historically Black Colleges and Universities. The University's participation in the project, includes access to expertise, financial and technical resources to bolster the success of the institutions and the students they serve.

Numerous faculty, staff, and members of the administration, including Acting President and Provost Dr. William Berry and Executive Vice President Dr. Karen Bearden, participated during the Institute. The site visit was a key milestone for the partnership, which was established to help the institution develop transformation strategies that lead to institutional resiliency. B-CU has been a transformation partner since 2022, and our focus has been on financial sustainability, strategy development, and transformation support.  

Dr. Camaille Shepard, Executive Director of Strategic Initiatives and Title IX Compliance, leads the Transformation Office. 

"This initiative will provide the institution with an opportunity to address the challenges we face around enrollment, graduate success, and institutional effectiveness rates,” she said. “We are grateful to have the support of UNCF as we celebrate 120 years in existence and look toward the future." 

On the first day of the visit, faculty, staff, and administration had the opportunity to participate in what UNCF calls a 'Sense-Making Conversation. The conversation was a result of an Institutional Transformation Assessment, which allowed leaders at the institution to reflect on our work and how it can be improved to drive tremendous student success. 

The President's check-in meeting concluded the Institute visit with a rich conversation about next steps and initiatives of focus in the enrollment area. The university team identified a need to improve retention as a top priority and will also focus on enhancing the effectiveness and appeal of marketing materials, increasing technology platform engagement, and purchasing technology to decrease financial aid award packaging timeline. 

“B-CU will remain steadfast in our commitment to empowering students and reminding them they are at an institution ‘Where Nothing Is Impossible,’” said Dr. Shepard.

For more information on B-CU’s participation in the HBCU Transformation Project, please visit: