JCSU makes strategic hire to lead its transformation efforts

In its quest to become one of the nation’s top HBCUs, Johnson C. Smith University on Monday announced the hiring of a faculty veteran from the University of Houston to lead its transformation efforts.

Nicole McDonald, who holds a doctorate degree from Vanderbilt University, joined JCSU in the newly created position of senior vice president for transformation initiatives. She will lead the development and execution of JCSU’s multi-year plan to improve its academic standing with a focus on economic mobility, an initiative known as the Gold(en) Blueprint.

At the University of Houston, McDonald served as assistant vice provost for student success strategies.

In a statement Monday, JCSU described McDonald as “a strategic, visionary leader with 20 years of experience supporting student success in higher education.” As a Ph.D candidate at Vanderbilt, she studied philosophy with a focus on leadership and policy.

McDonald co-authored a book, first published in 2016, titled “Becoming a Student Ready College: A New Culture of Leadership for Student Success. The book is now in its second edition.

In a statement Monday, JCSU President Clarence Armbrister described McDonald as “an accomplished leader in higher education” who has a passion for ensuring that all students succeed.

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