By Beverly Richards
Special to the AFRO
Dr. Anthony L. Jenkins, Coppin’s eighth president, is relying on the ability of faculty, staff and community partners to help advance the university’s vision and mission. Experiential learning for students, opportunities to showcase faculty expertise, and seeing Coppin get its just due are crucial to him. “Part of my aspiration is for Coppin State University to be seen, valued and recognized as a leading urban institution in higher education. The work that has been done, even before I arrived, has allowed us to be at a certain level. Now it’s time to build off the great work the faculty and staff have been doing and look for opportunities to put us in conversations and spaces Coppin has never been in before.” His mantra is “Experience the transformation.”
Coppin has been a part of Baltimore City’s landscape since 1900 and hails itself as having “a unique vision of primarily focusing on the problems, needs and aspirations of the residents of Baltimore City and the greater metropolitan area.”
We take students where they are, and we move them to where they need to be. “That’s one of our strengths. Our greatest asset is our students, their determination, desire and will to not be counted amongst the broken ones,” Dr. Jenkins said proudly.
He is dedicated to building partnerships, bringing individuals to the campus, and creating internships and career pathways. “Writing a check to Coppin is good. Giving students internships is great. But we need meaningful partnerships, not a one and done. I need you to be invested in this institution. It’s not good enough just to come here and pick the crops. I need to help cultivate the field,” he continued.
The new president’s vision also includes moving Coppin further into online academic offerings for four-year degree programs, where individuals can earn degrees without stepping foot on campus. “I don’t know why folks would not want to visit our beautiful campus, but we also have to make sure we can make our education not only affordable, but accessible when it’s most convenient for those individuals.”
President Jenkins came to Coppin with plans to infuse new energy and innovation in the university’s well-established programs and strategies. But because of the pandemic he has yet to experience the full Eagle Nation spirit. Despite the pandemic, Dr. Jenkins has been on campus every day. “The first few months I would walk around campus and see tumbleweed blowing,” he chuckled. The students have not been on campus, only a small cadre of some of student athletes. Most of the faculty have been working from a remote location, as have the staff. Meanwhile, Dr. Jenkins has been encountering employees and community via Zoom calls. “I’ve been meeting so many faculty students, staff members, alumni and elected officials through Zoom. I’ve had the opportunity to meet them virtually, but I have yet to meet everyone. So, I’m still excited and looking forward to that.”
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