LITTLE ROCK, AR – The University of Pennsylvania recently concluded its 2018 Class of Aspiring Leaders. Among them was Arkansas Baptist College Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs, Dr. Sherylnn Hall. The Minority Serving Institutions’ (MSI) Aspiring Leaders program engages mid-career aspiring leaders from the education, non-profit, and business sectors in an effort to prepare the next generation of MSI presidents.
Supported by $745,000 in grants from ECMC Foundation and The Kresge Foundation, MSI Aspiring Leaders includes both a leadership forum and mentorship program and has been designed to help promote diversity among higher education leadership, where nearly 60% of sitting university presidents are over the age of 60 and where many see a lack of opportunity for women and people of color. By providing professional development workshops focused on 21st-century skills as well as two years of post-forum mentorship, MSI Aspiring Leaders hopes to cultivate future MSI presidents by strengthening pathways to leadership and building connections between peers with similar aspirations and abilities.

Hall participated in the MSI Aspiring Leaders forum on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, PA from Friday, November 17, 2017 to Sunday, November 19, 2017. The forum included discussions and workshops on topics such as the presidential nomination process, managing relationships with faculty, using data to make decisions, fiscal management, strategic fundraising, assessing student learning, and navigating the media. After the forum, mentors and their mentees committed to a one-on-one mentoring relationship through in-person meetings, conference calls, and email over the next two years. The overall objective of this program is for participants to complete benchmarks at various points throughout the two years of the program, with the hope that these relationships may be part of a future longitudinal study to measure the influence of such mentorship on mentees’ career trajectories.

Arkansas Baptist College is an urban Historically Black College located in the historic Little Rock Central High District. It also neighbors the Wright Avenue District and the famous Paul Lawrence Dunbar Junior High School. The College is the only Baptist affiliated Historically Black College west of the Mississippi and has student population from across the United States. Founded in 1884 as the Minister Institute, the Consolidated Missionary Baptist Church the College is steadfast in its support of the College. The mission of the College is to “prepare students for a life of service grounded in academic scholarship, the liberal arts tradition, social responsibility, Christian development and preparation for employment in a global community.”

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