Phi Beta Cons

Howard Needs Strong Leadership to Face Challenges Ahead

September was a rough month for one of America’s premier historically black universities. Howard University saw itself fall 22 spots in the U.S. News & World Report college rankings and had its credit rating downgraded by Moody’s. As Daniel Burnett has pointed out in the Washington Post, Howard has also been plagued by skyrocketing tuition, declining enrollment and falling graduation rates.

So perhaps it is no surprise that Sidney Ribeau, the university’s president, announced this past Tuesday that he will be stepping down after five years at the helm of the school.

But challenges Howard faces surely aren’t unique. St. Mary’s College in Maryland and Loyola University in Louisiana have faced similar problems with their finances and enrollments.

As Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen argued in a letter to college and university trustees nationwide, the nature of higher education in America is changing, and traditional colleges and universities face new challenges that require innovative thinking and tough decision-making. Data show that Howard has a bloated administration, expensive capital projects and that it has for too long relied on an ever-shrinking federal appropriation – issues that have been raised by some trustees and faculty already.

The trustees at Howard, St. Mary’s, and many other schools need to be prepared to tackle these problems. These challenges are an opportunity to reform American higher education. We ought not miss it.

Most Popular

U.S.

The Lies We’re Told about the American Story

Editor’s Note: The following essay was adapted from remarks delivered to the annual dinner of the Lincoln Club of Orange County, in California, on October 4. Every American heart must break when lies are told to boys and girls, who then grow up to think the worst about their past: that the American ... Read More
U.S.

The Lies We’re Told about the American Story

Editor’s Note: The following essay was adapted from remarks delivered to the annual dinner of the Lincoln Club of Orange County, in California, on October 4. Every American heart must break when lies are told to boys and girls, who then grow up to think the worst about their past: that the American ... Read More

Election-Meddling Redux

It is not an attack on the American election. It is an influence operation aimed at the American media, using the $60 billion per annum American intelligence apparatus to pull it off. And it’s working. On Wednesday night, it was suddenly announced that U.S. security services would conduct a press ... Read More

Election-Meddling Redux

It is not an attack on the American election. It is an influence operation aimed at the American media, using the $60 billion per annum American intelligence apparatus to pull it off. And it’s working. On Wednesday night, it was suddenly announced that U.S. security services would conduct a press ... Read More
Culture

Equality and Envy

We are not the same. Neither men, nor women, nor races, nor ages, nor nationalities, nor in wealth, nor in training, nor in beauty. We are not equal in any way. And that is a reason to be proud and happy, because at the end of the day we are human and not the product of some factory. Let us once and for all ... Read More
Culture

Equality and Envy

We are not the same. Neither men, nor women, nor races, nor ages, nor nationalities, nor in wealth, nor in training, nor in beauty. We are not equal in any way. And that is a reason to be proud and happy, because at the end of the day we are human and not the product of some factory. Let us once and for all ... Read More

The Pollster Who Thinks Trump Is Ahead

The polling aggregator on the website RealClearPolitics shows the margin in polls led by Joe Biden in a blue font and the ones led by Donald Trump in red. For a while, the battleground states have tended to be uniformly blue, except for polls conducted by the Trafalgar Group. If you are a firm believer only in ... Read More

The Pollster Who Thinks Trump Is Ahead

The polling aggregator on the website RealClearPolitics shows the margin in polls led by Joe Biden in a blue font and the ones led by Donald Trump in red. For a while, the battleground states have tended to be uniformly blue, except for polls conducted by the Trafalgar Group. If you are a firm believer only in ... Read More