Allen looks back on time spent at WSSU

Allen looks back on time spent at WSSU
June 01
04:00 2017

In 2009, when Brenda Allen signed on to become the provost and assistant chancellor for academic affairs at Winston-Salem State University (WSSU), first year retention rates were down, four-year graduation rates were plummeting, and other student success indicators were declining, and Allen’s job was to turn that around.

That’s exactly what she did. 

“The chancellor [Donald Reaves] wanted me to come in and turn things around but the other thing he was concerned with was whether the education we were offering had kept pace with the demands of graduates of today,” Allen said. “In order to do that you have to look at everything. You have to look at what you’re offering, and how you’re offering it. What dollars are supporting that, and what support we have for our students outside of the classroom.”

During her tenure at WSSU, Allen led the way for a revised curriculum, established the university’s first doctoral programs, expanded undergraduate research funding, and helped raise more than $10 million for student support and scholarships. Others across the state and country have noticed the turnaround at WSSU as well.  In 2014, the North Carolina Department of Commerce named WSSU Number One in the UNC System for graduates receiving jobs in the state after graduation, and highest salary after receiving an undergraduate degree. In 2016, The Wall Street Journal ranked WSSU the best HBCU in North Carolina.

While the growth of WSSU over the past eight years is visible just by driving down Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, or looking at the statistics, Allen said WSSU had an even greater impact on her. Although she is scheduled to leave her post at WSSU to become president of Lincoln University in July, Allen said the lessons she learned and memories she shared with students, faculty and staff at WSSU will live with her forever.

“I know so much more now because of my time spent here at WSSU. I am looking to have even quicker success in my new position because of the things we’ve done here. These have been eight amazing years for me. I’ve grown so much as a professional but also as a person,” she continued. “You grow with success but you also grow with challenges, and steps along the way have prepared me for what I want to do next.”

During the commencement ceremony on Friday, May 19, Chancellor Elwood Robinson presented Allen with an honorary Ph.D. Before presenting her with the degree, Robinson thanked Allen for her hard work and dedication to ensure WSSU continues to provide a quality education for all its students. 

“A true champion of high quality, high impact, liberal education,” Robinson called Allen.

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Tevin Stinson

Tevin Stinson

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