The Presidential Panel – a conference favorite – is back! Hear how Presidents are addressing challenges in the ever-changing HBCU higher-ed environment. Presidents and Chancellors, including Dr. Paulette Dillard (Interim President, Shaw University), Dr. Phyllis Dawkins (President, Bennett College), Dr. Elwood Robinson (Chancellor, Winston-Salem State University), and Richard J. Gallot, Jr., J.D. (President, Grambling State University), field questions on enrollment management and other topics of interest from the audience. Come prepared!

Meet the Panelists

Phyllis Worthy Dawkins, Ph.D., President, Bennett College

Bennett President Dr. Phyllis Worthy Dawkins

On July 5, 2017, Dr. Phyllis Worthy Dawkins was appointed by the Board of Trustees as the 18th President of Bennett College. Prior to her appointment, Dr. Dawkins served as Interim President for just under a year. She came to Bennett College in November 2015 as Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs.

Prior to her arrival at Bennett, Dr. Dawkins served as Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs at Cheyney University, where she also served as Acting President. Under her leadership, Cheyney’s academic policies and practices were revised, their Financial Aid and Admissions offices were overhauled and new/updated articulation agreements were signed with University of the Sciences of Philadelphia, LaSalle University and the Community College of Philadelphia. Dr. Dawkins also reinvigorated Cheyney’s International Program, established the Ad Hoc Advisory committees on Retention and Admission Criteria and promoted a culture of assessment, continuous improvement and data-based decision making.

Dr. Dawkins has been involved in strategic planning at the cabinet, collegiate and department levels for more than 26 years, with an emphasis on academic program improvement and development, instructional technology, faculty development, design and implementation of institutional and program assessment systems, policy revision and development, managing enrollment and improving retention and fiscal development through grant writing and oversight of grant management. She has proposed and received grants at JCSU, Dillard and Bennett from private and federal sources totaling more than 28 million dollars.

Dr. Dawkins received her Ph.D. from The Ohio State University, her Master of Arts from The University of Michigan and her Bachelor of Science from Johnson C. Smith University. She is married to Bobby G. Dawkins, Ph.D., who is a retired Senior Polymer and Fiber Associate in Research and Development from PBI Performance Products, Inc. They have two adult daughters: Malia Dawkins Jennings (Derek), M.A., who is an Actress, a Writer/Producer and an Account Manager for NCompass International, and Demi Dawkins, M.D., who is in a Neurosurgery Residency at the University of Wisconsin.

Paulette R. Dillard, Ph.D., Interim President, Shaw University

Shaw Interim President Dr. Paulette DillardPaulette Dillard is the interim president of Shaw University. Prior to her appointment in July 2017, she served as Shaw University’s Vice President of Academic Affairs in which she played an instrumental role in Shaw’s positioning as a resource to the City of Raleigh and its surrounding communities. During her tenure at Shaw University, Dr. Dillard has also served as Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, Chair of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, and as an associate professor of Biology.

Dr. Dillard began her career at International Clinical Laboratories in Nashville, Tennessee. She went on to hold senior leadership positions at SmithKline and Quest Diagnostics, where she managed operations and maintained an operating margin of 20 percent and achieved a 99 percent customer retention during the integration of the two companies. With that extensive experience in the health care industry and medical diagnostics, she worked as a researcher assisting with development and academic executive direction at Clark Atlanta University’s Center for Cancer Research and Therapeutic Development.

Dr. Dillard earned her Ph.D. in Biological Sciences from Clark Atlanta University in 2010. She holds a Master’s of Business Administration from Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee, a Master’s of Science in Biology from Tennessee State University, a Medical Technology degree from Self Memorial Hospital School of Medical Technology in Greenwood, South Carolina and a Bachelor’s in Biology from Barber-Scotia College in Concord, North Carolina.

Elwood L. Robinson, Ph. D., Chancellor, Winston-Salem State University

WSSU Chancellor Elwood RobinsonElwood L. Robinson was elected Chancellor of Winston-Salem State University in September of 2014 by the Board of Governors of the 17-campus University of North Carolina and assumed his duties on January 1, 2015.

Prior to election as Chancellor at WSSU, he had served as Provost and Vice-President of Cambridge College. Under his watch, the teacher education program has achieved national accreditation and the College has forged an innovative partnership with Granite State College in New Hampshire to offer online programs — the first private/state partnership of its kind in New England. In addition, the American Council on Education has awarded Cambridge a grant to establish an Innovation and Change Lab designed to increase the number of first-generation and nontraditional students earning college degrees.

A native of Ivanhoe, NC, Robinson graduated magna cum laude from North Carolina Central University in 1978 with a degree in psychology and then earned a master’s degree in the field from Fisk University in Tennessee (1980). After completing a pre-doctoral internship at Duke University Medical Center, performing rotations in neuropsychology, psychiatric inpatient and behavioral medicine and health psychology, he earned a doctorate in clinical psychology from Pennsylvania State University (1986). He later completed his clinical training as a research associate at Duke University Medical Center (1990-1993).

In 2006, Robinson was named founding Dean of the NCCU College of Behavioral and Social Sciences, where he oversaw nine departments, five centers and over 200 faculty and staff. Over the next six years, he generated over $15 million in federal grants and other external funding, achieved accreditation for 16 programs, established a Department of Social Work, secured funding for a $1-million endowed professorship, and developed a national partnership with the Institute for Homeland Security and the Rural Domestic Preparedness Consortium. He remained in the post until he left North Carolina for Cambridge College in 2012.

Robinson is married to Denise Robinson, a 1978 NCCU graduate and former elementary school teacher. Together, they have two children: Chanita Robinson Coulter, a graduate of North Carolina A&T State University and school teacher living in Charleston, SC; and Devin, a student at North Carolina A&T.

Richard J. Gallot, Jr., J.D., President, Grambling State University

Grambling President Rick Gallot

Richard J. Gallot, Jr. (Rick) was named the tenth President of Grambling State University (GSU) in 2016. Gallot is a former Louisiana state senator and state representative.

Gallot is a 1987 GSU graduate where he received a bachelor of arts in Arts & History. He earned his Juris Doctorate from Southern University in 1990.

From 2000 to 2012, Gallot held the District 11 seat in the Louisiana House of Representatives. He served three terms in the house before winning his first term in the senate in 2011. Gallot did not seek re-election in the October 24, 2015 election.

Gallot stated, “My lifelong roots in the Grambling community, combined with my record of serving this university and community as an attorney, City Councilman, State Representative, and State Senator provide the type of leadership needed at this critical time. I do believe the core and “brand” of GSU remain strong and with the right leadership, we can achieve the stability and growth that we all know is possible. Higher education in Louisiana faces challenges unlike any time in our past. The relationships I’ve built over the past 15 years with the Governor, legislature, congressional leaders and corporate sector will serve Grambling State University well. Furthermore, my service on the Board of Directors at CLECO has provided valuable training and experience in organizational governance.”

Gallot is married to the former Christy Cox, and is the father of four sons. He is the son of former Grambling mayor, Richard Gallot, Sr., and Dr. Mildred Gauthier Gallot, former head of GSU’s History Department.

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